There has been a church in Farnborough for many centuries. It is believed that one has stood on the high piece of land to the south of the village for about 1500 years. The view from this point takes in the farm land and natural woodland right down the valley and to the top of the next hill.  

However Farnborough only became a full parish in 1876, with George William Hingston as its first Rector. Before that Farnborough was part of the larger and more populous parish of Chelsfield, sometimes having its own Rector. but more usually a Curate. 

For full details see Chelsfield with Farnborough

This explains why the church at Farnborough is comparatively small, even though the population of Farnborough has grown significantly since the second world war.  Today the Farnborough and Chelsfield wards both have populations of around 14,500 (2011 census)

This is an early Ordnance Survey map dated to 1880.  It shows many changes from a modern map.  The church is there of course, but the main churchyard is not, as the land it now occupies  was purchased from the Lubbock family at around the time the map would have been surveyed.

    Village map 1880, showing original National School (copyright, Ordnance Survey)

Within the village the National School is shown, descended from a Dane School, also there is the original George and Dragon Inn.  To the north of the High Street there are a great many differences, Farnborough Hall stands in isolation, completely surrounded by its once extensive estate lands. There is the collection of old shops and houses along the original part of the through road, but today's main parade of shops has yet to be built, and of course the later housing is not shown.

From 1876 many changes were to take place. 
This is a painted early photograph of the church looking from the south, it can be dated fairly accurately to around 1895. 

By then the 'new' graveyard has started to be used. The grave shown in the left foreground is that of Walter Gladwin who died in 1892, aged 60.  His wife Caroline was also buried in this grave after her death three years later, aged 64. 

The Parish Vestry consisting of Rector, Churchwardens and Overseers had carried out all civil duties in the parish, such as raising local taxes, looking after the poor and repairing the roads for many centuries. An Act of Parliament of 1895 brought into being an elected Civil Parish Council, whose area of administration was the same as the Ecclesiastical Parish.  In 1934 the civil parish of Farnborough was combined with other Civil Parishes to form Orpington Urban District. In 1963 this in turn became part of the new London Borough of Bromley. 

The Parish Vestry continued for the Ecclesiastical Parish after 1895, but was in turn replaced, by Act of Parliament, by the Parochial Church Council from 1921.

In 1938, the part of the Parish to the south of Shire Lane was detached to form, along with part of the Parishes of Chelsfield and Knockholt, the new Parish of Green Street Green. This was probably the first change in the boundaries of the Parish of Farnborough since it came into being.  The resulting boundaries continue to the present day.

This is a modern map of Farnborough Parish, which maintains the boundary established  in 1938 with the removal of Green Street Green.. 

After the Second World War, the Parish of Farnborough began to grow in population. New housing developments were established and by the 1950s it was recognized that an additional place of worship was needed to serve the increasing number of parishioners resident in the part of the Parish separated since 1927 by Farnborough bypass.

On Sunday 22nd June, 1958 ‘The New Hall Church’, situated in Leamington Avenue, Orpington was opened and dedicated. Ten years later the Hall was re-named St. Nicholas’ Church Hall. It is now St. Nicholas Church - see St. Nicholas history

Rectors of Farnborough Parish

The first Rector of Farnborough Parish, George William Durrock Hignston (1876), was succeeded in 1885 by Frederick Jessop Kelly, and in 1898 by Groves Lombard.

There were eight Rectors in the twentieth century, who are shown in these photographs, which are on display by the font in the church..

Rector 1904 - 1927 Revd. Ebenezer Joseph Welch
  Rector 1927 - 1940 Revd. Robert Gladstone Griffiths  
  Rector 1940 - 1950 Revd. Ernest Peter Field
  Rector 1950 - 1964 Revd. Albert Aidan Chapman  
  Rector 1964 - 1973 Revd. David Basil Webb  
  Rector 1974 - 1987 Revd. John Perry Druce  
  Rector 1988 - 1995 Revd. Graham Shaw  
  Rector 1995 - 2000 Revd. Mark Richard Turner  

The present incumbent, Revd. Matthew Hughes, came to St. Giles in 2001.


Parish Archives

The parish has many documents, dating back to the seventeenth century, that may be helpful to people doing research.  Some of these need to be accessed and possibly updated on a regular basis, and these are still stored in the church. But the majority are now deposited in the Local Studies archive in the Central Library in Bromley. 

These documents are stored in controlled conditions and can be made available to members of the public by arrangement. Retrieval of documents requires 24 hours notice.

           Bromley Central Library

For a full list of what Parish documents are archived in Bromley Central Library please look in their website.

We also from time to time request a more detailed list of what is in store.
This is available for download here:
P144_St Giles_Farnborough.pdf

For more detailed information about burial registers please refer to the
Burial and Cremation Registers page on this website.