Another hidden gem in the Surrey Hills AONB is the old Saxon Church on the Albury Estate. Whilst the estate is private, there is public access to the church.
The original village of Albury, in Albury Park where the ‘old Saxon church’ is located, is well-known amongst Surrey settlements for being displaced by the local lord of the manor in the 18th and 19th century and reallocated a kilometre away, to the present day village. The church and mill are listed in Domesday where the village is listed at Eldeberie. The parish church of St Peter and St Paul was a central focus for the community at the time and its construction dates back to Saxon times with amendments to the fabric over the years with a Norman influence to the design.
In the late 18th century, c. 1784/5, Captain William Clement Finch, then owner of Albury Park, obtained a magistrates order to close the road that ran eastwards to Shere from the original Albury village, past the manor house, as well as divert the road that ran northwards past the Little George Inn (now Grange Cottage) and Cookes Place to join the Dorking/Guildford road (now the A25). Captain Finch also enclosed the village green and annexed the north-east corner of the churchyard to extend his grounds, with harassment of the villagers continuing under the later owner Charles Wall (1811-1819), who demolished cottages and moved their occupants to new cottages at Weston Street (the settlement which would become the present day Albury) and a new church was constructed.
The graveyard is left to grow wild in the summer months and is home to various animals and interests as well as providing a colourful display. The church is maintained well with regular fresh flowers provided by the Friends of Albury Old Saxon Church.
Gemini Images have provided a virtual tour for the church at no cost to them which can be seen at www.gemini-images.co.uk/360/alburychurch until it is uploaded to their own website.