In medieval times the scattered homes and farmsteads of the district were in the parish of Dorking. The area was as “in bosco de la Homwode juxta Dorkyng” and was the Home Wood of the manor of Dorking as opposed to the High Wood associated with the big forest of the Weald.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, squatters inhabited the Common, building small cottages and enclosing small plots of land. They lived by cultivating patches of poor soil, making brooms, sheep stealing and smuggling. Prohibitive tariffs in the 18th and early 19th centuries made lawful commerce between England and France unprofitable. Numerous bands of smugglers met the demands of London for French wines, silks, satin and brandy. Many passed over Holmwood Common and found supporters among the rural folk to whom smuggling was not a serious crime.
It was not until the Victorian era, when increasing population and the building of countless villas, led to the sub-division of Dorking parish into Holmwood (1838), Westcott (1852), St. Paul Dorking (1857) and North Holmwood (1874).
The church was designed by Major Rohde Hawkins of Redlands, South Holmwood. The land had been given by Henry, 15th Duke of Norfolk whose family held Holmwood Common from 1652 until 1956. Principal benefactors were two sisters, Mary and Anne Legge who lived at Holmwood Lodge – now St. Johns estate.
More information about the church itself can be found HERE.