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The Collegiate Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (pictured right) is one of the most rewarding parish churches in Surrey. Most of the churches in Wealden Surrey are modest in scale but Lingfield is grand and stately. Not only is it impressive as a building but also it contains some of the finest brasses and monuments in southern England.

The earliest church built on the site was in the late Saxon period and there are indications of its existence in the lower part of the west wall. No major changes were made until the Cobhams arrived in the early to mid fourteenth century. It was then that the tower and spire were built. The Cobhams were responsible for many of the improvements and the building as we see it today.
Since the Reformation the interior has been subject to constant rearrangement as styles of worship changed. There were also various improvements to the fabric of the church and for the comfort of the worshippers during the 19th and 20th centuries.

An excellent book was published by the church in 2001 updating all previous issues and is well worth reading. The Society has copies at 3.50 each plus p&p.


Lying in the extreme south eastern corner of Surrey the ancient parish of Lingfield known to be in existence at the time of the Domesday book, but for some reason not mentioned in it. A will made around 960 during the reign of King Edgar refers to certain lands in Lingfield and the advowson (patronage) of the church as part of a gift to the Abbey of Hyde, near Winchester.

It is from the 14th and 15th centuries that more detailed records of the parish really appeared as the great Wealden forest was being developed for agriculture and the iron industry, the latter just over the border in Sussex.

In the early 15th century Reginald de Cobham founded the college for secular chaplains and rebuilt the church that is much as we see it today. The church of St. Peter and St. Paul is an impressive building known as the 'Westminster Abbey' of the south east. Its collection of brasses and monuments are amongst the finest in England.

There is evidence of the prosperity of the parish at that time in the number of fine wealden houses that are still here in the 21st century. Though somewhat disguised they have retained many of their original features.

The village originated from two small settlements. The first was around the church and known as Old Town. It is a collection of dwellings from circa 1500 to 1800 some of which formed the first shopping centre. There are some fine examples of medieval houses and 18th century buildings including the original 'Star' public house.

The second was the area of Playstowe which was first mentioned in 1332 as the home of William ate Playstowe. It was a scattered area of fairly prosperous farms also from the 15th and 16th centuries and is thought to have been the place for play and sport. The area has been infilled over the centuries but is remembered by part of the main road leading into the village from the west - Plaistow Street.

Playstowe also boasts St. Peter's Cross which has been around for 500 years. The 'Cage', or lock up, was added in 1773 as a temporary gaol for minor felons and was last used in 1882. Both are dominated by an enormous oak tree also around 300 years old without its heartwood but still very healthy

The village pond, which is adjacent to the oak tree and the lock up, is thought to have been created when sandstone was extracted for road material. Animals from the local farms were watered there into the 20th century.

Although there were additional dwellings throughout the centuries it was the building development that followed the arrival of the railways and the racecourse in the 1880's that linked these two areas and created the village we see today.

Lingfield is now a very large village with a busy high street and all essential local amenities. It has a thriving community spirit in its social and sporting activities.

Local industry includes agriculture and light engineering, and the racecourse.


Lingfield church
St Peter and St Paul


The Guest House late 15thC, part of Lingfiel College. After being an alehouse it was extensively restored in 1896
The Guest House, late 15thC.
Restored 1896

Another view of the Guest House
The Guest house, 2nd view

Stone obelisk known as St Peters Cross, built c. 1437 as a boundary marker. In 1773 the Parish cage was added, as a temporary gaol for minor felons.
St Peters Cross & Cage

Local websites

St Peter and St Paul
Lingfield parish council
Lovely Lingfield
RH7 Group (covers the postal district)
Lingfield Wildlife Area
Map of the area

ESFHS Resources
1891 census was available on fiche but now out of stock, can be viewed at our research centre or the local history centre (see below).

Research Items :-
1) Subscribers for Prosecution of Felons 1743,1755,1774
2) Militia Fund Subscribers 1779-1782
3) Index 1851 census - workhouse
4) Index 1861 census

Local Resources

The Local History Centre
holds fiche and film of all census returns and parish records to 1920, plus manuscript transcripts of parish records from 1500's to 1890's.


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© 2013 East Surrey Family History Society.
Registered Charity No. 286659.
Updated 23/5/13