The foundation stone for the tower was laid on 29 May 1873 by Dr Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Winchester. Less than two months later he was killed by a fall from his horse and the tower and spire, which form a splendid landmark, were built as the ‘Wilberforce Memorial’.
The top stone of the spire was put in place on 25 April 1877. The height to the top of the weather vane (a Dorking cockerel) is 210 feet. The spire is a significant landmark in Dorking and can bee seen for many miles around.
The wooden screen under the tower arch was given in 1886 in memory of J G Stilwell.
The bells, acquired over the years since 1626, were re-hung in 1877 when the spire was completed. Records show that there were structural concerns about the bells from the 1950’s and surveys in the early 1990’s suggested that the bells had really been too big for the tower, which accounted for the difficulty in ringing them. With the deterioration of the wooden frame, the prospect that the bells would become unringable in the future was becoming a reality.
Thanks to the 50% funding from the Millennium Commission Fund for restoring bells in preparation for ringing in the New Millennium, it was possible to replace the bell frame and a newly cast Taylors Ten with a Tenor weighing 18 cwt, largely using the metal from the original bells. With support from the Guildford Diocesan Guild and the Surrey Association, together with numerous local organisations and individuals, this was achieved and the new bells dedicated on 31st May 1998. The Tenor is dedicated to A. Patrick Cannon (1914 - 1982), a noted Dorking ringer known as ‘The Tenor King’, with the original bell cast in 1626 by John Wilner being retained as ‘The Vicars Bell’.
More details of the bells can be found here.