Stoke d'Abernon

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Stoke d'Abernon
Chasemore Farm and the M25 - - 69028.jpg
Chasemore Farm near Stoke D'Abernon
Grid reference: TQ127589
Location: 51°19’8"N, 0°23’2"W
Post town: Cobham
Postcode: KT11
Dialling code: 01932
Local Government
Council: Elmbridge
Esher and Walton

Stoke d'Abernon is a small village in Surrey, found between Cobham and Leatherhead, where the North Downs rise from the valley of the River Mole.

The village has one local pub-restaurant: The Old Plough. It also has its own railway station, named Cobham & Stoke d'Abernon because Cobham was located too far north for the line to be effectively routed to it when laid down at the end of the 19th century.

Stoke d'Abernon is also home to the training ground of Premier League football club Chelsea FC.

The village has an active residents' association with a network of road representatives but unlike other Residents’ Associations in other villages in the area, it does not contest elections.

Stoke d'Abernon is within the Elmbridge Hundred.


Stoke d'Abernon appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Stoche. It was held by Richard Fitz Gilbert. Its Domesday assets were: 2 hides; 2 virgates 5 acres; 1 church, 2 mills worth 13s, 4 ploughs, 6 oxen, 4 acres of meadow, woodland worth 40 hogs. It rendered £5.[1]

The suffix d'Abernon comes from a family who came over at the time of the Norman conquest in 1066; Sir Roger D’Aubernoun was rewarded with land in Surrey for his services to William the Conqueror and his family were lords of the manor in the ensuing centuries.

Before the d'Abernons came, the church stood: St Mary's, is Anglo-Saxon with Norman and Victorian additions, and is famous for its monumental brasses; reputedly some of the oldest in the country.

Parish Church

St Mary's Church, Stoke d'Abernon

The parish church is St Mary’s, which contains remarkable survivals from earlier ages and is a jewel of a church for worshipers and for antiquarians.

The original church was built in the late 7th or early 8th century and substantial portions of its fabric survive on the south side of the church today. A feudal church, it is the earliest English example of a church which had a thegn’s gallery or Lord’s seat entered by way of the high-level doorway still visible in the south wall, and which was probably in use until the 13th century, when a private chapel for the lord of the manor was built behind the community table.

Distinctive Romans brickwork is found in the Anglo-Saxon parts of the church, reused from some abandoned Roman building which must a have stood hereabouts, now lost. A drawing of 1828 by Twopenny shows the original Saxon chancel arch, which itself apparently reused Roman stonework. The ancient Saxon chancel arch was town out in a merciless Victorian restoration in 1854 and 1866.

At the front of the nave are three splendid items of church furniture. The pulpit is heptagonal, reckoned among the finest 17th century pulpits in the country. Sir Francis Vincent added his arms and family motto to the tester after he became a baronet in 1620. On one of the panels in raised gilt letters is the text FIDES EX AUDITU (“Faith comes from what is heard”, from Romans 10:17), but to be seen by the vicar and not the congregation. A 17th century wrought-iron hourglass stand fastened to the wall close to the pulpit is a silent witness to the lengthy sermons of the puritan period. The 17th century also left a fine gilded eagle lecturn.

The church chest below the pulpit dates from the late 12th or early 13th century, with a slot in the lid for offerings. It may be one of the chests which were ordered to be made and placed in all churches in 1199.

Monumental brasses

In front of the communion table are the famous brasses of the two Sires John D’Abernon, the elder and the younger. It is commonly told that the brass of Sir John the Elder is the oldest in England, but it is not; the brasses actually date from about 1325 and 1350 respectively and the land has some older than these. The great brass of Sir John the Elder is unique in showing a knight holding a lance as well as a sword and very rare indeed in possessing original enamel in the shield. It might not be the oldest brass in Britain, but it can rightly claim to be the finest military brass in existence.

The Norbury Chapel

The Norbury Chapel was built during the reign of Henry VII by Sir John Norbury, possibly in thanksgiving for the part which he played at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The arms of the Lords of the Manor, from the D’Abernons to the Vincents, are glazed into the north and east windows; a long collection illustrating that in 500 years the inheritance passed through seven surnames, always by the female line. The tomb of Sir John Norbury himself, who died in 1521, once stood under the archway forming the eastern bay of the chapel but he is now commemorated in the south-eastern corner of the chapel by the delightful little kneeling figure of a knight in armour of the time of Charles I.

The chapel also contains, a stone Roman cinerary coffret from the 2nd century AD, within which are the ashes of Sir Edgar Vincent, Viscount D’Abernon, Ambassador to Germany 1920-26, whose death in 1941 brought the tenure of the D’Abernons at Stoke D’Abernon to a close after nearly 750 years.


The Yehudi Menuhin School

Stoke d'Abernon has two independent schools:

  • Parkside Preparatory School, a prep school housed in the Grade II listed]] manor house by the church, founded in 1879
  • The Yehudi Menuhin School, a music school to the south of the village.

Yehudi Menuhin, famed as a violinist, lived in the village and became Baron Menuhin of Stoke d'Abernon in the County of Surrey.

Outside links