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St Nicholas

St. Nicholas is Suttons ancient parish church and must be one of the two churches in Sutton recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086.

Chertsey Abbey probably acquired Sutton in the first half of the 8th century so they must have founded the St Nicholas church. The second Domesday Church was probably at Horley in Surrey, near Gatwick airport, where there was an outlying estate which was administered as part of the manor of Sutton.

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The mediaeval church shown in the above mid-19th century photograph was quite small with a nave, chancel and an interesting looking timber framed belfry at the west end. The belfry was replaced by a brick tower around 1800. The population of Sutton grew considerably in the 19th century. In the 1820s a new wooden gallery was erected in the old building to increase the seating capacity. By 1860 it was obvious that the old church was not large enough. It was demolished and replaced by a new church which was consecrated in February 1864. It cost £7,200 and was designed by Edwin Nash, an architect involved in church restoration, whose son lived in Sutton Common Road.

The vestry on the north side of the chancel was added in the late 19th century.

The fine stained glass is all Victorian. The windows on the north side were destroyed by bomb blast in the Second World War.

The organ was constructed by Norman and Beard of Norwich in 1899.

The Reredos behind the alter dates from the 19th century and is taken from the vision of the Apocalypse. It is made of white and yellow alabaster and other stone.

The light iron screen between the choir and chancel was erected in memory of William and Mary-Anne Imray in the 1880s.

The Lady Chapel on the south side of the chancel replaced a little used area of seating in 1925. The piscina (to the right of the altar) dates from the 13th century. It was found in the churchyard in the 1920s and must have been part of the mediaeval St. Nicholas.

The gold-lettered dark boards at the west end of the church record various gifts to the parish for the support of the poor and other purposes.

The pyramidal-topped building in the churchyard is the tomb of James Gibson and his family. He was at different times a sailor, a distiller, a wine merchant, a miller, and Master of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, one of the Twelve Great City Livery Companies. The tomb was erected under the will of his daughter Mary Gibson and is dated 1777. The church still inspects it on 12th August each year in accordance with Marys will. The tomb is something of a mystery as there is no other known connection between Sutton and the Gibsons.