This is a circa 14th-century church on a site that’s seen Christian worship for at least 800 years, and where it was once rural, these days it’s on a main road to Gatwick Airport.

The church of St Bartholomew’s Horley is known to have existed from around 1150, although it had a different name then. The earliest known rector for the church was “Walter” who joined the church in 1218 – 806 years ago. The church was renamed after St Bartholomew for some reason, in 1565.

The church’s original aisle was said to have been created by the local Salaman family in around 1315 as their burial place, and at the east end of the aisle is a life-size effigy of one of Sir Roger Salaman. The effigy is notable though as it comes from a time when knightly armour was transitioning from mail to plates, and the effigy shows that in progress.

The church was restored in 1891 by A.W. Blomfield, and a south aisle was added in 1901, which was funded by, amongst other things, a fete that featured “entertainment of performing doves”.

The dove induced funding aside, it’s still pretty much a roughly 700-year old building. The notable feature from the outside though is its narrow wood-shingled bell turret and spire.

The church has eight bells, but for most of its life had six bells. The addition of two more in 1970 must have seriously irked the landlord of the local pub, the Ye Olde Six Bells.

The Bart’s organ was built by Bishop and Son of London sometime in the late 1800s. Originally a single keyboard instrument, it was located in a gallery at the back of the North Aisle. When the South Aisle was built in 1900, it was enlarged and now it has two keyboards.

The timbers holding up the roof are thought to be from the 15th century.

A notable person associated with the church is the former churchwarden, Henry Webber, who at aged 67 is thought to have been the oldest person to die during the battle of The Somme in WWI. He joined the army to serve with his sons, despite his age, but died in conflict.

Although the church is next to Gatwick Airport, it’s part of the Diocese of Southwark.

A charity founded in 1628 to support poor residents of the parish from the will of Henry Smith is still functioning today, handing out £18,000 to local people in 2021. It’ll mark its 400th anniversary in a few years time.

You might have guessed from the photos of the outside, that my visit was last summer – when I was visiting the Gatwick Aviation Museum and the murals inside St Nicholas Church, Charlwood.


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