The nave and aisles were rebuilt between 1872 and 1874 by the architect Henry Woodyer in the grand and spacious 14th century Decorated style of the earlier chancel which was also built by Woodyer in 1868.
Below are some of the features you can find in the South Aisle.
This monument was erected in 1909 and made in opus sectile by Powell. It is dedicated to a much loved parishioner who lived at Deepdene House, then the great house of Dorking. Lily, Duchess of Marlborough moved to Dorking in 1894 with her third husband, Lord William Beresford and made it her home until her death in 1909. The Duchess was very generous to St Martin’s Church, helping renovate the interior and install electric lighting as well as improving the organ and supporting the choir.
Vaughan Williams grew up in his grandmother’s house, Leith Hill Place where he was encouraged in his early compositions by his aunt, Sophy Wedgwood. After some time in London, the composer returned to the area in 1928. From 1933 to 1953 he lived at the White Gates just off the Westcott Road. He played a large part in the life of the town and was instrumental in setting up the Leith Hill Musical Competitions, fostering musical participation of the highest quality for the whole community, rich and poor.
Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of this country’s best loved composers. His ‘Lark Ascending’ (1920), suggested by a poem by George Meredith of nearby Box Hill, is frequently voted Britain’s favourite piece of classical music.
The subjects shown in the south aisle windows are all taken from the the New Testament and are the work of James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, whose senior partner, Arthur Powell, lived in Dorking from 1858 until his death in 1894, and was responsible for much of the decoration of the rebuilt church. The windows date from between 1875 and 1888 and consist of three lights and a tracery. The windows listed below are numbered from the east end (starting from nearest the Lady Chapel):
Window 1: The subjects shown in this window are from Christ’s Passion, the Ecce Homo (Pilate presenting Jesus to the crowd), the Betrayal by Judas and the Agony in the Garden. Above and below the scenes are lovely rectangles of foliage and there are angels and stars in the tracery. The artist for this window was Harry Burrow (1846-1882) and it was made in 1875 and cost £90.00. According to the brass plate under the window it was placed by his parishioners and friends in memory of William Henry Joyce, Vicar of St Martin’s from 1850 to 1870, and son of James Joyce, who was Vicar of St Martin’s from 1837-1850.
Window 2: The subjects shown in this window are Christ’s teaching by miracles, showing Christ stilling the Tempest, the Raising of Lazarus and Christ healing the Blind. Again there are lovely fruit and foliage patterns above and below the scenes and angels and patterns in the tracery. Again the artist was Harry Burrow and it was made in 1883 and cost £90.00. It was given by Walter Saubergue, who had an ironmonger’s store in the High Street, in memory of Peter Lewis Saubergue.
Window 3: The subject shown in this window is The Sermon on the Mount; Christ is in the centre with groups of men, women and children to either side and a beautiful landscape background. Below there are panels naming virtues and in the tracery there are angels with scrolls. It was made from new designs by J. W. Brown (1842-1928) in 1888 and cost £100.00. It was commissioned by the Vicar, Canon Chichester in memory of James Wayland Joyce (1812-1887) who was the elder brother of William Henry Joyce.
Window 4: The subjects shown in this window are from the Parables, with angels in the background and in the tracery. This window was placed in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee; there is the monogram VRI, a crown and the dates 1837 and 1887 in the design. The designs for this window were all new; the Good Shepherd and the Sower were designed by J. W. Brown and the Angel Reaper by Frank Mann. It cost £90.00 and was made in 1888.
Window 5: The subject shown in this window are is Christ blessing the children with many figures in a landscape. In the tracery are ‘smiling cherubs’ made up of the faces of children, clearly taken from photographs of actual children. It was made from new designs by J. W. Brown in 1889 and was a memorial to the late Vicar, Archdeacon Atkinson and cost £120.00. The window was commissioned by W. J. Down of Oakridge on Tower Hill, a solicitor of the firm which now bears his name.
Window 6: The subjects shown in this window are Christ amongst the Doctors and the Flight into Egypt with ornamental panels below. The designs are taken from those made by Henry Holiday (1839-1927) for the church of St Peter in Albany, New York state in 1885. It cost £60.00 and was commissioned in 1885 by the Venerable Archdeacon Peter R. Atkinson.