Emmanuel Church (URC) Normandy

Welcomes you!

Church History

Emmanuel Church - Glaziers Lane, Normandy

Churches and Chapels

When James Horne first came to Normandy in about 1819 there was no official place of worship in what was then a small hamlet. On Sundays, churchgoers were obliged to journey to their church, chapel or meeting house in Ash, Pirbright, Wanborough or Worplesdon Parish. However, James's presence in Normandy and his religious fervour during that century had not only a profound influence on the people of this area but also on the building of church and chapels.

By the end of that century there were four formal places of worship established for the people of Normandy. They were, the Congregational Chapel at Willey Green built in 1825, a small chapel in Glaziers Lane built in 1850, St. Mark's Church Wyke consecrated in 1847 and the Methodist Wesleyan Chapel built at Normandy crossroads in 1886, replacing the small chapel. Following the consecration of St. Mark's Church, its churchyard became the final resting-place of most parishioners for all denominations until crematorium were opened to the public. The burial record for James Horne leads one to believe that his grave, now unmarked, is in the corner of the churchyard looking towards School Lane.

 Congregational Chapel at Willey Green


                 Normandy Congregational Chapel at Willey Green c 1940 

When resident in Normandy James Horne joined with others of his faith in services, which then were held in private homes and sought ways to further establish Methodism in what to him seemed "a God forsaken part of the country". His enthusiasm and religious belief was the inspiration to set up the first official place of worship in Normandy, the Congregational Chapel, Willey Green.

Thus in 1825 the small chapel, later and affectionately referred to as The Normandy Chapel, was built by enthusiastic followers with their own hands on land which had been given to them.

To quote from The Fellowship of Churches by Joyce Reason, "they were faithful Christians in Normandy, poor in world's goods but not in spirit". For a considerable time they had no full time Minister but were served by either Lay Supplies or by a resident Minister from Guildford.

Daniel Deedman was Superintendent of the chapel followed later by Edwin Cranstone, both of whom had helped to establish services and encourage local families to give their support both financially and spiritually. It was a very happy and industrious congregation with a thriving Sunday school for the children of the village.

Those children who regularly attended the Sunday school were encouraged by the Women's Fellowship, who met weekly in the chapel, to channel their energy into collecting farthings for the Barnardo homes and institutions, founded in 1867 by Dr. Thomas John Barnardo. When Edwin Cranstone was Superintendent, his daughter Grace kept a record in a cash-book of the collections taken at each service and the custodian of the chapel records holds this cash-book.

Edwin Cranstone

    Edwin Cranstone

(Chapel Superintendent)

He is outside the house and shop he built in 1903, Park View Cottages, Willey Green.

This photo was taken about 1908

Hymns were sung to the accompaniment of the American Foot Pedal Organ often played from about 1919 by William Fooks when aged only nine. He more or less continued to play the organ until 1940 when he joined the Royal Army Service Corps, seeing out World War II in India until demobilization in 1945 by which time he had obtained the rank of Warrant Officer. During the war years Dorothy Applebee took over the playing of the organ, relinquishing her duties to him on his return from the army. He provided organ music for services until his death in 1974 when once again Dorothy took over the duty for the congregation.

Dorothy was often to be seen riding her bicycle around Normandy and through her work at the Post Office in Glaziers Lane acquired, over a lifetime of service there, a wonderful knowledge of most people and house names in the village.

Tea party at Chapel

A tea party at the Chapel in 1953, Dorothy Applebee is second from the left,
the gentleman sitting to her left is Mr William (Bill) Fooks


Harvest Festival 1951 Harvest Festival

Harvest festival was a great time in the chapel and was always packed and hymns were belted out like "Come ye thankful people, come" and many others.

Ernie Coleman, who also played the flute at services, succeeded Edwin Cranstone as superintendent and in 1951 orchestrated the refurbishment of the chapel in arranging for electricity to be installed and the provision of a new vestry, kitchen and toilets. In 1975, when the congregation celebrated the 150th anniversary of its foundation the Moderator, the presiding minister, presented Gladys Marshall with a framed certificate in recognition of 50 years membership of the chapel. She and her sister Elsie were the staunchest of supporters of the chapel. This big event in the history of the chapel was the catalyst for the Officers to consider a larger chapel, for it was obvious that the seating capacity for 60 was inadequate to accommodate those wishing to attend the normal Sunday Service. Since the site was much too small for further development they set about looking for new premises.


 Sunday School

Sunday School

Congregational Chapel at Willey Green, Sunday School, 1952

1. Mr Fooks, 3. Bernard Crooke, 5. Mr Coleman, 6. Joyce Hutchins, 8. Yvonne "Nonny" Woolgar 12. Pauline Crooke, 15. Betty Kemp, 16. Valerie Gravestock, 18. Derek George Crooke, 19. Jaqualine Crooke, 20. Brenda White, 21. Barrie White, 22. Keith Cottrell, 24. Ian Kemp, 26. Peter Cottrell, 27. Christine Cottrell, 28. Christine Fooks, 30. Marion Crooke, 31. Pamela Gravestock

If you know any of the others in this photo please let us know

Attendance StampAttendance Stamp 

Each Sunday that the pupils attended Sunday school they were given a stamp of a picture and text from the bible. These were stuck in an attendance book, which was divided into squares representing each Sunday in the Year. At the end of the year the pupils handed in their attendance books and if they had the necessary minimum number of stamps they were awarded a book.

Mr Coleman and the boys of the Sunday School

Sunday School Boys

Taken at Normandy Congregational Sunday School 1950

Back Row L to R: David Francis, unknown, Bernard Crooke, Mr Coleman, Derek George Crooke, unknown, Derek Francis.
Front Row L to R: unknown, unknown, Barry White (wearing cap), Ian Kemp.


The chapel at Willey Green was not registered for marriages until 1964 and the building was too small in any case to hold anything but a very modest wedding function. Chapel worshippers were invited, therefore, to have their wedding and reception in the larger Methodist Wesleyan Chapel at the crossroads. Rosie Coleman, the daughter of Ernie Coleman, the Superintendent of the Congregational Chapel married Eric Privitt in this chapel in October 1935 as did their very good friends William and Catherine Fooks in July 1938 but on that occasion their own Congregational Minister, the Reverend Davis, performed the service. Cyril and Doris Prangnell, although married in 1940 at St. Mark's Church, also held their wedding reception in this chapel.


Emmanuel Free Church, Glaziers Lane (the Old Telephone Exchange)

Emmanuel Church Glaziers Lane

The Minister, the Reverend Derek Wensley of the Congregational Chapel at Willey Green was the co-ordinator for fund raising but since so many local people donated money and ran numerous fund raising events, including a cake stall each Saturday in the village hall, the task was made comparatively easy for him. At this time the Telephone Exchange, Glaziers Lane was redundant and came on to the market for disposal. By an enormous effort on the part of members it was purchased in 1985 and converted into a modern chapel more suited to their needs. Since the Congregationalists had amalgamated with the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church the chapel took on the title of the United Reformed Church Normandy.

Ministers across the years:

1921 - 1924
1924 - 1927
1929 - 1936
1937 - 1938
1939 - 1946
1946 - 1949
1951 - 1960
1960 - 1967
1967 - 1987
1989 – 1995           
1997 - 2006           2008 - present

Reverend F Hosier
Reverend AW Austin
Reverend Arthur Lewis
Reverend A Hitchcock
Pastor GW Simmons
Reverend Arthur Bowen
Reverend DS Bell
Reverend Alan Cassingham
Reverend Derek Wensley
Reverend Ray Whittle     
Reverend David Bedford  Reverend Graham Hoslett


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