St Nicolas Church, Great Bookham
Our Church in the Community
Sound of the bells
Page Updated 5 Feb 2005
Statement of Significance
Church in its environment
Where is the church situated
St Nicolas Church is located
at the centre of Great Bookham, at
the bottom of the High Street, where Lower Road and Church Road
Its impact on the community and Its importance to the community
The church, dating back to
Saxon times, is surrounded by a two acre church yard in the
centre of the village. It is a centre of worship, a location
for festivals and a landmark which is loved by both those who worship
there and those who know it as the centre of the village.
The eleventh century Nave
occupies the probable area of the original Saxon church. The
Normans extended the Nave to the south around 1140 and north
around 1180 when the stonework of the Tower was built. The Chancel
was built in 1341 and an area adjacent to the porch around 1380.
The South Aisle and Slyfield (Lady) Chapel were built around 1440,
when the stone Tower was buttressed and the timber Tower and Spire
were built. The Tower door and north facing window
in the Nave were created in the seventeenth century.
The North Aisle, Sacristy (Vestry) and Sexton's Shed were built
in the nineteenth century, the Choir Vestry in the twentieth century
and the Church Room was added in 1979. A Pastoral Centre was added
at the north west corner of the church yard in 1996.
Details of the community that the church serves
The village, whose population
is about 11,000 or 4620 households
(census 2001), has some light industry, small offices and several
dozen shops. Many residents commute to
London or work within about a thirty mile radius of the village.
The use of the church by the congregation and the wider community
The church is used for regular
worship on Sundays at: 8.00 a.m. holy communion; 10.00 a.m.
Parish communion, but on first Sunday of the month Family Service
and 11.15 a.m. Holy Communion; and 6.30 p.m. evensong every Sunday.
On Wednesdays there is a Pram Service at 2.00 p.m. and Said Holy Communion
on Thursdays at 10.00 a.m.. The church has an active Sunday school.
The church electoral role is 292 (in April 2004). About 250 people
worship each week of whom around 160 take communion.
The church is also used for
baptisms, weddings, funerals, memorial services, flower and
music festivals, a pageant and other celebrations. The local choral society regularly gives concerts and
many other local organisations such as schools, scout troops and
the British Legion hold services in church.
The church itself
A general description
St Nicolas is a grade one
listed building set in a two acre church yard with a Lychgate.
The stone church has a wooden tower and spire. The roof of the south aisle
is Horsham stone tiles and the rest of the roofs are tiled. The framework
supporting the bells and shingle-covered spire are massive oak timbers.
Details of stained glass, font, pulpit pews etc.
There are two small windows
above the arches of the north arcade in the Nave which are
possibly part of the original Saxon church. The Howard window,
in the south wall of the Nave, was added in 1676 whilst the north
facing window was added early in the nineteenth century. The east
window in the Chancel contains six panels of fifteenth century glass.
It was purchased in 1954 to replace a window damaged in the Second
World War. The window in the north end of the South Aisle is Norman
but the glass was dedicated in 1875. The east window of the Slyfield
Chapel is the work of O'Conner, completed in 1859.
The Norman font (c. 1140)
was moved to its current position when the pulpit, choir stalls
and pews were added during the restoration carried out in 1885.
Details of bells, clock, organ etc. (incl. age, make and any changes)
There are two bells; one
bears the inscription 'William Eldridge made mee 1575'. Two other bells,
which were cracked, were sold in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The organ, built by Bishop and Son, of London, was rededicated at Bookham
Details of any items of special interest (e.g. hatchments, historic documents)
There is an early fifteenth century rood-screen
at the entrance to the Slyfield chapel and a parclose screen (c 1500) separating
the chapel from the choir. There are two piscinas in the Chancel and Slyfield
Chapel and five brasses, the earliest is dated 1443. There are also a number
of memorials, including a tree and dedication stone. There is a brief guide and plan of the church on this website.
A more detailed description of the church and its history is given in "St
Nicolas Church, Great Bookham - Illustrated Guide" available in church or
from the Parish Office.
There is a memorial by the
Lychgate celebrating those who fell in the First and Second
World Wars. Several Howards, including the first two Earls of
Effingham, lie in the Howard Vault, to the south of the Tower.
Any elements which are
individually listed, e.g. churchyard walls, lychgates
and Any significant archaeology - None
The general condition of the fabric
The quinquennial inspection
report was issued in January 2003. All of the actions requiring
attention immediately or within twelve months have been completed. Furthermore
the maintenance items and additional recommendations are in hand. A leak
has been detected in the Chancel roof which is receiving attention..
Any problems of access
Level access is available into the church and church rooms. However there is a step up from the Nave, North and South Aisle level into the Chancel, Slyfield Chapel or Vestry. An inspection of the Church, Church Room and Pastoral Centre, made by the Fire Service in June 2003, highlighted no fire hazards requiring special measures and found the access and egress satisfactory. There are accessible WCs in the Church Room and Pastoral Centre.