There has been a church on or near the site of St Peters for hundreds of years, West Molesey being mentioned in the Domesday Book. It replaced a much earlier building and there are many memorials and other artefacts which are older than the building.

The parish church of St Peter (formerly St Margaret) was probably originally built in the late twelfth century, probably as a watchtower, and is said to be the oldest building in Molesey. It was extended in the early fifteenth century, around 1440; and subsequently it was substantially rebuilt in the early nineteenth, around 1820.

Essentially only the fifteenth-century tower survives of the external structure of the Medieval church. In the interior, the font is Medieval, fifteenth-century, and the pulpit post-Medieval, early seventeenth (Jacobean). There are also some surviving post-Medieval memorials, including one to Thomas Brende (d. 1598), his two wives and eighteen children, and one to Thomas Thorowgood (d. 1634).

Behind the church is a large cemetery. This site was chosen when the graveyards of the Parish Church became full and could hold no more bodies. The present church was completed in 1820, replacing a previous building, one of a series on the site.

As the oldest building in Molesey, being in place during the Wars of the Roses. Henry VIII would have known it well, as it stood in the middle of his deer park to Hampton Court Palace. As a church, the Parish is thought to have originally been part of the foundation of St Peter’s Priory in Chertsey, and later became a Chapel of Ease to the Parish of Walton. It is thought to have been originally dedicated to St Margaret, but this seems to have lapsed by the 20th century, the present dedication to St Peter dating to the time of Revd. A. Sydenham (1927-1942).

The west window appears to be a slightly later, post-Medieval, insertion, bearing at its apex the sculpted pelican badge of Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester and founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, who was Lord of the Manor here in the early sixteenth century, around 1511.

Among the memorials is one for Admiral Sir George Cranfield Berkeley, a member of the Berkeley family who, along with the Hotham family, were one-time Lords of the Manors of Molesey, and another for the Right Honourable John Wilson Croker who was a Member of Parliament for 25 years and chiefly responsible for the re-building of the church in 1843.

www.stpeterswestmolesey.co.uk