St Luke’s Church

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

Prior to 1859, there was no church at all in Burpham, which was part of the Parish of Worplesdon, so residents had to travel to St Mary’s to attend services. The people of Burpham decided that they needed a church and burying place of their own.

Lord Onslow donated the site and funds were raised, headed by patrons in Worplesdon and the Provost and Fellows of Eton College. The architect was Mr Woodyer of Graffham and the builder was Mr William Swayne of Stoke Road. Work began in August 1858 and the whole church was built for less than £1,000. On 24th May 1859 the Lord Bishop of Winchester came for the consecration of St Luke’s as a Chapel of Ease to St Mary’s Worplesdon. At last farm workers and their families could attend their own local church.

It is a small church, with a vestry on the north side. The walls are of Bargate stone and the window and door facings made from Bath stone. The oak pulpit was purchased from a parish in Bristol for £10 in 1958, replacing the original chalk stone pulpit. There used to be a pipe organ, but this has since been replaced with an electronic one. The porch was added in 1961, given by Mr & Mrs Howard. Electricity was installed in the 1930s and some renovations were done before the centenary in 1959.

The first child to be baptised at St Luke’s was Lucy Chapman, in July 1859, and the first burial was a two-year old child, Edward James Alexander, in June 1859. In 1920 Burpham broke away from Worplesdon, joining instead with St Peter’s Old Woking. St Luke’s became a parish church in its own right in 1954 and in 1921 the church was licensed for the solemnization of marriages.

The War Memorial is just inside the main gate to the church, commemorating those in the community who lost their lives in both World Wars – 18 in the first and 11 in the second.

In 1857 a conveyance between the Duke of Sutherland and the Church Commissioners set out arrangements for a new vicarage on Burpham Lane, opposite the Primary School, now the home of a nursery school. Since then the vicarage has moved to Orchard Road and is currently on London Road. In 1959 the community celebrated the centenary of the church, with a range of events held that summer and autumn.

The Burpham Tapestry, created as part of the Millennium celebrations, is displayed on a wall in the church. For many years the children of Burpham Primary School held their Christmas Carol Service in St Luke’s, where the acoustics are excellent, until space ran out and they had to move to a bigger venue. The church is one of the oldest buildings in Burpham.

If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail ( or by phone or text (07963 756543). My two books (‘The History of Burpham Primary School’ and ‘Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford’) are still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon.