Church History

Brief History of Outwood Church

In the middle of the 1800s Alfred and Mary Lloyd were the owners of the Harewoods Estate, an extensive farm and forest area south of Lower Nutfield.

They set about the process of creating a parish and providing a parish church – in the main for their employees. The church building was constructed in a plain 'lancet' style to a design by the celebrated architect, William Burges, who designed Cardiff Castle. In 1869 the church building was completed and dedicated with the creation of the parish of St John the Baptist, Outwood.

The church comprises a nave of five bays and a chancel with a broad, square tower at the west end. This 'saddle-back' tower was added to the church in 1874 by W. P. Manning and contains, unusually, 4 bells. These, full circle, bells are rung regularly by a dedicated group who are always ready to welcome both experienced and untrained applicants to their group.

Access to the belfry is via an octagonal turret built into the south east corner of the tower; it does not extend beyond this level. There is a combined clergy and choir vestry adjacent to the north side of the chancel with a catslide roof over. There is an open porch on the south side of the nave.

The exterior of the church is in local Reigate stone and the interior is brick with timbered beams and an acorn shaped strip wood ceiling. The interior brick finish is quite unique and its pointing is an example of Victorian workmanship at its very best.

Apart from the addition of the tower in 1874 the church is unaltered since 1869.

When the Lloyd family died the estate was willed to the National Trust. The church, which is located on the North side of Brickfield Road, a mile or so from the centre of the village, now stands in the middle of National Trust farm, common and woodland.

Trevor Kemp