Church of St. Paul, Woldingham
The first mention of a church in Woldingham was in 1270, that being ‘Chapel at Woldingham’ now St Agatha’s, about half a mile south of The Green. With the growth of the village population a new, larger wooden church, with a dedication to St. Paul was built in 1905 on what is now the Village Hall car park. This was demolished in 1969.
Woldingham continued to grow in the 1920’s and 1930’s and the Hon. Alexander Shaw, later Lord Craigmyle decided to donate a new St Paul’s to the village, in memory of his father in law, the Earl of Inchcape.
The new St. Paul’s on an important site at the entrance to the heart of the village, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and was consecrated in 1934. It is of flint with stone, in an East Anglian medieval style. Alexander Shaw paid for the fabric, the parishioners donated the internal fittings and members of the Craigmyle and Inchcape families gifted the remarkable stained glass by Douglas Strachan and Herbert Hendrie. This is a complete and rare memorial church, all of a piece, by a distinguished architect, of the very highest quality and workmanship. In 2007 a Church Room in the style of the existing building was added.
Church of St. Agatha, Woldingham
In 1270 a will mentioned the chapel at Woldingham. Built of flint and brick, away from the heart of the village, it sits in its churchyard and is used to this day for regular services and burials. At the Reformation many of the church goods were taken and by 1677 John Evelyn wrote in his diary that the chapel was in disrepair. In 1809 it was described as standing in a wood, distant from any house and consisting of one room 10 yards long by 7yards wide, roughly the dimensions today. It was restored in 1832 by the owner of Upper Court but by 1889 umbrellas had to be used during services. Walpole Greenwell paid for its rebuilding and it was used by the village and the Marden Park servants for worship and burial. It was at this date that it seems to have become dedicated to St. Agatha. It is one of the smallest and highest churches in Surrey, some 790ft/240metres above sea level.
For nearly a thousand years we know there has been continuous worship in Woldingham in different sites and buildings and this continues.