Tuesday 31 January 2023

What's There Then?

Perhaps like me you see the names of places on the road signs time after time as you pass by and wonder what's there, but never stop. The small village of Mickleham in Surrey is one of those places. It's set back from the dual carriageway upon which the traffic rushes past from Dorking up towards Leatherhead and sits at the bottom of Box Hill which is always busy with people coming out of London, cyclists and a meeting place for bikers. Somehow it gets missed out and so it remains surprisingly quiet for this part of the world. One Thursday afternoon a couple of weeks ago we decided to remedy this situation and finally find out for ourselves what was there. 

St Michael and All Angels is yet another Norman church which the Victorians set about restoring in 1840. The result is a hotch-potch of styles, but a great deal better than some of the hatchet jobs I've seen. I mustn't be too sniffy though, because had there not been this 19th zeal for "improvement" many churches would simply not have survived such was their dire state of disrepair. The funny little conical tower added in this phase of its life is very charming.

In 1314 the nearby manor of North Bury was owned by William Hussey. He had this Norbury chapel added on to the outside of the church in 1326 and although we might now be very familiar with this chequerboard flint patterning it was new and the latest must-have at the time of its building.

Even the normally plain lychgate has received a bit of a decorative flourish with its carved wooden heads.

So when you've reached the end of a major project like this and are left staring at a pile of leftover building materials what are you going to do with it all eh? Simples shove it all into a wall round the churchyard and use it to great effect.

If graves are your thing there all sorts on offer from two ancient ones with Lombardic inscriptions in the porch from the 13th century, our friend Peter Delahay's the yeoman of the confectionary office to Charles II [see earlier post], one for Richard Bedford Bennett who was the Canadian PM in 1930 and these strange board ones the like of which I've never encountered on my travels before.

Inside the church there are many more delights, but I will restrict myself to sharing just the one which is refreshingly different from the more normal run of the mill stained glass windows.


Mickleham might be tiny, but it has many things to please the small scale explorer. You might well wonder why I would give this place a second glance, but then a closer look at the way the tiles have been added on will explain why. Maybe it serves no purpose, but it's that which elevates it and adds the interest.

Gates seemed to be the theme of the day. This one and possibly my top gate of all time the Burmester gate which was built in 1840 to look like a folly. Thankfully for us it received a complete restoration in 2010.

To finish off my ramblings about my ramble sorry [not sorry in the slightest] a close up of the mad letterbox I stumbled across before we headed to the pub for a well earned coffee. We were there a scant hour, but it was enough to give us the work break we both needed.

January has worked well for me with a series of these small trips to local places thrown in at regular intervals. It's a coping strategy I put in place a couple of years ago and it keeps me topped up until the Spring returns. Similar shenanigans are being planned for February too.



  1. Can you imagine if you and I ever went for a walk together, we'd get nowhere, constantly stopping to take photos of quirky little details! xxx

    1. We'd have to make a weekend of it! I'd not have it any other way though! Arilx

  2. Know what? I am not sorry either.

    1. Thank you Debby. Glad you enjoyed this latest little pootle about. Arilx

  3. I loved all the things you saw! I really like 'different' stained glass and that 'shove it all in' wall is brilliant!


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