Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

N1700 19/11/2018 level 2

St Mary the Virgin Church

This history is divided into sections which can be accessed by clicking on the links below. It starts with the early church in the Thames Valley and provides some background to the church in mediaeval times. The main history begins in the 13th century and progresses chronologically until about 2000.  The chronological history is then followed by several sections dealing with various aspects of the church and church life and a series of lists of office holders.

Most of the text has been published in a free-standing book by John Chapman which can be obtained from the church or Project Purley.

The sections are as follows:-  



Summary History Revd Harold Hawkins short history written 1962

Chronological History

Early Days

Birinus and the West Saxons
The Saxon background

The pre-Reformation Church (to 1538)

Tithes and Revenues
William St Barbe obtains the Advowson of Purley
Who'd have a Concubine?

Reformation to Restoration (1538 to 1661)

The Settlement of Religion (1661 to 1719)

Absentee Rectors (1719 to 1800)

Benjamin Skinner's income

The nineteenth century (1800-1874)

Religious Census of 1851
The rebuilding in 1870
The restoration in 1870 (Jean Debney)
The Parish Bier

Into the 20th Century (1875 to 1931)

Mid 20th Century (1931 to 1975)

Derek Taylor's plan for the 5 years from 1970

Change and Challenge (1975 to 1990)

Digging in the Past (the 1981/82 excavation)

The extension of 1983 (progress reports)

Into the Third Millennium

Aspects of the Church

Church Exchanges Recording when rectors exchanged livings rather than just moving on
The work of the church
Church lands and property
The Memorials
Fittings and Furnishings
The Bells
The church plate
Architecture and features

Office Holders

Rectors and incumbents


Graves and Memorials
Church Briefs
A tour of the church
Visitation questionnaire 1783

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