Holmbury St Mary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Holmbury St. Mary
Holmbury St Mary.jpg
The village green, central houses and low escarpment backdrop
St Mary the Virgin, Holmbury St Mary.jpg
St. Mary's Church
Holmbury St. Mary is located in Surrey
Holmbury St. Mary
Holmbury St. Mary
Location within Surrey
Area2 km2 (0.77 sq mi)
Population572 (2011 Census)[1][2]
• Density286/km2 (740/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ112441
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townDORKING
Postcode districtRH5
Dialling code01306
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°11′10″N 0°24′36″W / 51.1862°N 0.4101°W / 51.1862; -0.4101Coordinates: 51°11′10″N 0°24′36″W / 51.1862°N 0.4101°W / 51.1862; -0.4101

Holmbury St. Mary is a village in Surrey, England centred on shallow upper slopes of the Greensand Ridge. Its developed area is clustered 4.5 miles (7 km) southwest of Dorking and 8 miles (13 km) southeast of Guildford. Most of the village is in the borough of Guildford, within Shere civil parish. Much of the east side of the village street is in the district of Mole Valley, within Abinger civil parish.

It contains the home which formerly doubled as a major meeting venue of Beatrice Webb, a Fabian social reformer who co-founded the London School of Economics. The Mullard Space Science Laboratory is normally considered within its boundaries.


Physical attributes[edit]

Holmbury St. Mary is in the Hurtwood, the largest area of common land in Surrey; it takes up part of the Greensand Ridge which in turn contributes to the Surrey Hills AONB.[3] Nearby to the south is Holmbury Hill, which at 857 feet (261 m) is the fourth highest point in Surrey. Its area including intervening parts of the Holmwood is about 2 km², an approximation as boundaries are informal.


Its history makes the village an oddity as a portion of and by law Council Tax payers pay an additional sum - a Precept - to one of two civil parishes in England. The clustered semi-urban village is split in secular terms. It united by its built-up clustering as opposed to its buffer zones and united by the confines of its church parish,[4] the area presents data protection difficulty which impedes precise statistics. The UK Government has produced maps to show the developed parts of two of 2011 Census Output Areas approximate to the relevant area, E00155533 and E00155534.[1]

Respectively these have the following attributes:

Western Output Area

There were 343 usual residents as at Census day 2011. Of these, 98.3% lived in households and 1.7% lived in communal establishments. The average (mean) age of residents was 44.5 years.[1]

Eastern Output Area

There were 229 usual residents as at Census day 2011. Of these, 100% lived in households and 0% lived in communal establishments. The average (mean) age of residents was 43.1 years.[2]


The village is named after the hill and the large late 19th century church at its heart which has been little altered. St. Mary's Church, which overlooks the village green, was initiated and paid for in 1879 by George Edmund Street,[5][6] who had built himself a large house in the village between 1873 and 1876, 'Holmdale.[7] Holmdale later became home to Thomas Sivewright Catto, the Governor of the Bank of England from 1944 to 1949. The Church of St Mary the Virgin has a triptych behind the altar that is attributed to Spinello Aretino and in the North Chapel a painting attributed to Jacopo da Sellaio.[8] The surgeon, histologist and anatomist, Sir William Bowman, 1st Baronet, is buried in the village churchyard.


Beatrice Webb House and Trust[edit]

From 1947 to 1986, a large building hosted the Webb Memorial Trust, a tribute to Beatrice Webb.[9] Beatrice Webb House with earlier major built elements was opened by Clement Attlee and served as an important education and discussion facility for the Fabian Society, British Labour Party and trade unions. The Fabian Window, designed by George Bernard Shaw (who co-founded the London School of Economics (LSE) with Sidney and Beatrice Webb) hung in the house until it was stolen in 1978. The window was recovered and is on long-term loan to the LSE.[10] The house is now a boarding house for Hurtwood House School.

Mullard Space Science Laboratory[edit]

Holmbury St. Mary is home to the UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics Mullard Space Science Laboratory (run by University College London) which is the country's largest purely University-led space science research group.[11]



The village has three schools: Belmont Preparatory School,[12] and Hurtwood House,[13] catering for ages 2 to 13 and 16 to 18 respectively. Moon Hall School[14] provides special education to children with dyslexia.


Holmbury St. Mary has two football teams, both of which compete in the Guildford and Woking Alliance. The 1st XI are in the Premier Division and the newly formed 2nd XI are in the 3rd Division.

Holmbury also has two cricket teams. The first XI plays in Division Two of the Surrey Downs League and the second XI plays in the Second Division of the Village Cricket League. The Village Club, The Hollybush Tavern, also has its own cricket side which plays friendly matches.

Annual events[edit]

Holmbury St. Mary has an annual bonfire and fireworks night in the Glade, organised and funded by a group known as The Bonfire Boys who gather wood from the Hurtwood and put on a fireworks show on the weekend following Halloween. Thousands attend and all profits are donated to charities.

In film, fiction and other popular culture[edit]

Holmbury St. Mary is believed to be the basis for the fictional village of Summer Street in A Room With A View. Its author, E.M. Forster, was a long-standing resident in Abinger Hammer in the deep valley below to the north.[15]


  1. ^ a b c http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/localarea?compare=1254248281
  2. ^ a b http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/localarea?compare=1254248280
  3. ^ Hurtwood Control
  4. ^ https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/8263/ St Mary's Church, Holmbury St Mary, (an Ecclesiastical Parish), the Church of England.
  5. ^ Folkes, J. Homery The Victorian Architect and George Edmund Street Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society. Third Series Vol 4 1974 p9
  6. ^ St Mary, the Virgin, Holmbury from A Church Near You
  7. ^ "George Edmund Street (1824-1881)". Victorianweb.org. 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  8. ^ "CHURCH OF ST MARY". Historic England.
  9. ^ [1] Archived August 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "News - News - News and media - Home". .lse.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  11. ^ "UCL Department of Space & Climate Physics - Mullard Space Science Laboratory". Mssl.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  12. ^ "Home". Belmont-school.org. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  13. ^ "Hurtwood House, one of the best Public Schools in the country". Hurtwood-house.co.uk. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  14. ^ "Moon Hall School". Moon Hall School. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  15. ^ Keith Parkins. "Surrey Writers". Heureka.clara.net. Retrieved 2014-05-28.

External links[edit]