Welcome to All Saints Church, Witley

All Saints Church, Witley, Surrey

November: a time for quiet reflection

I recently took a moment to count the number of men's names on our war memorial in church. The parish lost 44 soldiers and sailors in 1914 - 1918 alone. It is staggering to think of the scale of this loss, particularly from what was then a small rural parish. Reading Stephen Mills fascinating book, 'The Men of Witley who died in the Great War', brings these men to life and makes clear what a terrible cloud hung over our community as each tragic loss was absorbed. Having commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of 'the war to end all wars' in 2018, we shall be focusing on the fallen from both world wars and all other conflicts again at our annual Remembrance Day service this year, which starts at 10.15am on Sunday 10th November. I warmly encourage you to join us as we remember and give thanks.

It was national poetry day recently and its theme in 2019 was 'Truth'. Leaving aside my slight cynicism around the ever-growing list of subjects we have national days for, my visit to the war memorial has pointed me in the direction of the renowned WWI poet, Wilfred Owen. Did you know he lived for a time in Dunsden Oxfordshire, at the then vicarage, working with the vicar as his lay assistant? The church there is also called All Saints. Owen certainly faced the truth and wrote hauntingly of the horrors of the trenches and his descriptions were often at odds with the official reports. He was killed in action on 4 November 1918, and his mother was only informed on the actual Armistice Day as church bells rang out in celebration of the ending of world war. What a cruel and bitter blow that must have been. In appreciation of the enormity of loss, bloodshed, bereavement and destruction that afflicted so many millions of souls during those four terrible years a century ago, I shall draw my letter to a close with some poignant lines from Owen's poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth':

What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

James McKeran

Here at All Saints Witley, we take the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. We have adopted the national Church of England's robust procedures and guidelines. Details about the national polices and procedures can be found HERE.
If you have any concerns at all, contact either our Safeguarding Officer (new appointment pending) or our Vicar, Rev. James McKeran on 01428 681867. If you have reason to think that a child or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, you should contact the police straight away.

Please click HERE to read the Parish Profile for All Saints Church, Witley.

Please click HERE to view our DATA PRIVACY NOTICE.


All Saints Church has a huge wooden door, which, while being very old and attractive in its own way can be a physical barrier to those who have never entered All Saints before - don't let it be like that. Turn the handle, push the door and come in, all are welcome. Inside you will find a building that is filled with the prayers of 1000 years, a wall painting that is 900 years old, a 700-year-old Lady Chapel with medieval stained glass, signs of the conflict in the 16th and 17th century with an unfinished memorial tablet in the sanctuary and several other family memorials. The 18th century put in a gallery which was removed by the Victorians who added so much more, including a whole aisle on the North Side. The Victorians with three generations of Chandler Vicars built the organ, the bell tower and the vestry. They refurbished the chancel ceiling, floor and altar and put up memorials to the eminent people of the day as they passed on. The beginning of the 20th century completed the collection of stained glass windows and introduced the pews we have now, instead of the previous box pews. All Saints is full of history reflecting the needs of the generations who have worshipped here before us. There have been many changes in the past few years which help us now to use the church on a daily basis for many different groups. There is a children's trail available with many interesting things to find out and see.

Please do come inside and explore and have time for yourself, the church is open in daylight hours. Or come and meet with others to worship or chat everyone is welcome.

If anyone would like to speak to James or Ann, please ring or email and we will endeavour to meet you as soon as we can.

The All Saints Parish Office, is in the grounds of Witley Infant School, opposite the Church.

Wishing you every blessing

James McKeran         Ann Fraser
                       James McKeran                                     Ann Fraser

The parish of Witley is made up of the villages of Witley, Brook, Wormley and Sandhills. The Parish Church of All Saints dates from about 1040 and is situated just off the main Petworth Road (A283) in Church Lane, opposite the White Hart public house. Witley CofE Infant School is opposite the church and has close links with it.

Apart from a regular pattern of worship on Sundays and Holy Days, the church serves the whole parish and after recent refurbishment is available every day for a variety of uses. The door is open in daylight hours for anyone who may wish to spend a quiet few moments or longer in the peace and quiet of this ancient building.

The mission of the church in Witley is to bring the love of God to all who live and work there. The church is open to all people, and here to serve the entire parish. Everyone is welcome at all services and other events and anyone is welcome to use the space in church for their own charitable or social events where appropriate. Click here for more information on using the church for your event.

If you are new to the area you are very welcome! There are a wide range of activities going on around the church that may interest you.

A team of Pastoral Assistants visit the housebound, take Communion to those who can't get to church for whatever reason, and generally help the clergy keep an eye on pastoral needs.

James or Ann would be pleased to talk with and welcome you. Enjoy the web-site!

Please feel free to click on the links above or on the right to find out more about us.

Be sure to visit our Parish News section which is updated weekly.

Our site offers documents in Adobe Acrobat format. If necessary, please click here to download the latest version.