As in 2018, St Matthew’s is participating in this year’s Heritage Open Days. The church will be open during the weekends of 14/15 and 21/22 September, from 10.00 to 17.00 on the Saturdays and 14.00 to 17.00 on the Sundays. Guided tours will be available, along with displays about the interesting stained glass and bells. There will be a chance to play the practice bell-frame and try out the organ!
There is an organ recital at 4pm on Saturday 14th, and a flute and guitar concert at 4pm on Sunday 15th.
Entry is free, and refreshments will be available throughout.
St Matthew’s Church
The building was completed in 1875 having taken less than 2 years to build. The church and the original vicarage were paid for by one man, William Matthew Coulthurst, who was the senior partner of Coutts Bank. On the outside of the East end of the church there is a stone plaque recording this and the fact that it was partly built in memory of Hannah Mabella Coulthurst, the dead sister of William Matthew Coulthurst. Built into the wall behind the plaque we understand that there are a photograph of Hannah, a copy of ‘The Times’ newspaper of the day and a letter from William Coulthurst stipulating that the church should be and remain in the evangelical tradition.
The Church and Vicarage cost £26,500. The old vicarage was pulled down in 1939 and a subsequent one built on the same plot. In 2012 work started on a new vicarage on part of the plot and this was completed in 2013. When the Church was first built, St Matthew’s Avenue and Kingsdowne Road were only country tracks and the church stood in a hay meadow. The only existing house was the large one opposite, which is now 24/26 Kingsdowne Road.
St Matthews Church (circa 1900)
When the church was built it was in the Diocese of Winchester which stretched from the Channel Islands to the River Thames. It was briefly in the newly created Diocese of Rochester before Southwark Diocese was created in 1905. The parish was carved out of the ancient parishes of St Mary’s Long Ditton and St John’s Old Malden.
St George’s church was built within the parish of St Matthew’s to serve the southern half of the Parish in 1934 once this area had begun to be developed with the arrival of the A3. In 2015 the Parish of Tolworth St George was formed out of the eastern and southern part of the existing Parish taking Red Lion Road as the boundary.
The two parishes are now, along with St Paul’s Hook, together part of the Tolworth Hook & Surbiton Team Ministry.