Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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St Mary's Church, 268m east of Ladywell Convent

A Scheduled Monument in Godalming, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.172 / 51°10'19"N

Longitude: -0.6141 / 0°36'50"W

OS Eastings: 496980.980163

OS Northings: 142334.557815

OS Grid: SU969423

Mapcode National: GBR FD8.FJT

Mapcode Global: VHFVT.9SPW

Entry Name: St Mary's Church, 268m east of Ladywell Convent

Scheduled Date: 13 April 1949

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005943

English Heritage Legacy ID: SU 109

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Godalming

Built-Up Area: Godalming

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Busbridge

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument includes the site of St Mary's Church, a Saxon church, later chapel and contemporary graves surviving as buried archaeological remains. It is situated on a gentle south-west facing slope in a field north of Busbridge Lower Lake. Orientated east to west, the foundations of the church measure approximately 12.6m by 6.4m. Four concrete boundary posts with dry-stone wall between, now denote the outer corners of the foundations. The church, dates to the Saxon period and is recorded in the Salisbury Register of St Osmund in 1220 as a chapel, still standing but in a ruinous state. It was known as old Minster in the 16th century. There is also a burial ground on the site. Partial excavation in 1866 identified the foundations of the church.
The monument excludes the statue of the Virgin Mary, the four boundary posts, dry-stone wall, the modern fence and fence posts but the ground beneath these features is included.

Sources: Surrey HER 1811. NMR SU94SE15. PastScape 250625. VCH Surrey 1911, Volume 3, pp41.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries.
St Mary's Church, though no longer visible above ground, has been shown by excavation to retain archaeological evidence relating to its history and original use, and will retain environmental evidence relating to the church and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument is recorded in documentary sources, which contribute to our understanding of the history of the site. Evidently, the building was in use as chapel in 1220. A medieval chapel was a building of similar form and function to a parish church, although it did not have a permanent recumbent (i.e. a Vicar or similar). Many medieval chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment. Burials on these sites provide archaeological information on population, social structure and disease in the medieval period. The survival of Saxon church remains is rare, and the later use of St Mary's as a chapel provides important additional evidence for the continuity of religious practice on the site.

Source: Historic England

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