Old Albury Church in Surrey

This is a post that I had wanted to do earlier, but never found time for, so I’m catching up before the year end

Not far from where we live, in Surrey, flows the Tillingbourne river which is idyllic now, but in the 18th century was an industrial river, punctuated with mills producing everything from flour to gunpowder

One of the many villages along its length is Albury, and we went one day in late summer, with a friend who was staying with us to look at Albury Old Church. This is one of those mentioned by Simon Jenkins in his wonderful reference book “England’s 1000 best churches”

It is one of those places that has an interesting story. The church stands next to the old manor house, and until 1782 acted as the parish church for the village. The new incumbent of Albury House, one Captain William Finch RN decided to enclose the village green, annexe a large section of the churchyard, and then set about harassing the villagers, until they moved about a mile to the west. Where they settled became the village of Albury today.

In 1839 the then owner of Albury House,  Henry Drummond, the banker, built a new parish church for the villagers and Albury Old Church was closed . Today it is maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust, and is a redundant church

Before I talk about the church, let us have a look at an image, which is my painting done shortly after our visit.

Old Albury Church

The nave is Saxon and the tower is Norman. The dome was a later addition from the c18

A lot of interesting things associated with this church! One rector of Albury, William Oughtred, was also a famous mathematician. He invented the slide rule in 1622 and is also credited with the introduction of the x symbol in multiplication. He was also the tutor to the young Christopher Wren, who was later a mathematician and astronomer before becoming known as an architect.

Henry Drummond engaged Augustus Pugin in the 1840’s to build his mortuary chapel within the 13 th century walls of the existing transept. This is regarded as a remarkable example of the work of Pugin, perhaps better known for his collaboration with Sir Charles Barry on the then new Houses of Parliament.

The entrance is on the north side which is unusual. On the south wall interior is an amazingly well-preserved Medieval wall painting showing St.Christopher. It was customary during the Middle Ages for people to look in the main door at the saint, who was believed to give them good luck on their journey.

I took a picture of the wall painting, which I will show.St Christopher Wall Painting at Albury

Most of these paintings were washed over in the Reformation, but this one survived somehow

As regards the little painting I showed earlier, there is not too much to say about it. I would just mention, as you can probably see, that I have used brown for the shadows. This is my “hot-weather shadow” reflecting the temperature of the day. I quite like doing a painting as a reminder of a day’s excursion as sometimes it captures the mood better than a photograph. That doesn’t stop me sending it to exhibition and selling it if someone wants it, though

To anyone reading this post, thank you, and have a very good Christmas and a lucky new year

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