Wanborough Church

 

Site Plan Wanborough Church

Plan of Wanborough Church

: This is one of the smallest churches in Surrey. Internally it is only some 43′ 7″ by 18′ 3″ (13.3m x 5.6m).  It is believed that it is built on the site of a timber Saxon church circa 1060, and the church was noted in the Domesday survey of 1083 as Wenberge, possibly meaning bump-barrow, maybe a reference to the nearby Wen Barrow, now not even visible as a crop-mark.

The church became disused for some two centuries but was restored in 1861. The church has two doors; the priest’s door in the north wall of the church towards the eastern end, and on the south wall and towards the western end is the public entrance. The priest’s door is now the entrance to the vestry built as an extension in 1928.

The Crooksbury alignment passes through the church towards the western end. It is worth noting that the alignment of the two doors diagonally across the church follows the Crooksbury line as though it could be originally intended to facilitate a processional way.

In October 2014 I made a long-awaited repeat visit to Wanborough Church to look at the recumbent stone and to take some photographs.  This stone is 1.8 metres long by 0.6 metres wide.  It is placed flush with the ground. The depth of the stone cannot be recorded without disturbance to consecrated ground.  It is set at right angles to the west wall of the church and is exactly in the centre of this wall almost touching it as can be seen in this photograph.

Wanborough recumbent stone

Wanborough recumbent stone

Wanborough recumbent stone viewed from north

Wanborough recumbent stone from the north

Wanborough recumbent stone viewed from west

Wanborough recumbent stone showing location to the end of the church

Wanborough Church from south west

Wanborough Church from the south-west

(Trivia: The large manor house in the background was a top-secret SOE centre in World War 2 training agents to be dropped into France to assist the resistance).

The stone has the appearance of great antiquity, being rough-hewn but fashioned to a rectangle.  It appears to be a hard sandstone and has a pecked line across the centre; there is no sign that this is an eroded crack.  The initial examination of the surface does not reveal any other pecked patterns or marks.  Using a survey nail as a probe it seems that the stone does not continue west under the grass.

An extensive search on the internet was fruitless.  No mention of this stone is recorded to my knowledge.  The recumbent stone, now buried, on the edge of the landfill site at Albury is larger if my memory is correct but this is also, I believe, unrecorded.

There is only one recorded standing stone in Surrey.  This is at the entrance to a large house ‘Pyrford Court’ on the junction of the road to West Byfleet in Pyrford. It is small and insignificant and has been moved at some time to widen the road.

On my last visit to Wanborough Church, I noticed these strange carvings in the stonework of the north-west corner.  The recumbent stone can be seen on the ground beyond.  They did not look modern and closer examination reveals other straight scratch marks to the left of the holes.  Maybe of no significance but intriguing – I could not find any other marks elsewhere.

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Wanborough hit the headlines in the 1980s with the discovery of a Romano-Celtic temple built over the site of an iron age temple.  It is estimated that metal detectorists plundered up to 20,000 coins from the site and it was this crisis which instigated the changes in the law of Treasure Trove.   The location of this site at E492013 N149598 is just on the south edge of a trackway called Green Lane and is some 120 metres from the eight Druid Mile point on bearing 242 degrees.  Further research needed.

 

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