St Martha’s Church occupies one of the most striking settings of any place of worship in Britain, perched on the crown of a hill 574 feet up and with no road leading to it.
The story of St Martha’s, and its hill, dates back to the Iron Age. It involves the Saxons, Normans and monks who worshiped here, a murder in a cathedral, the fabled Pilgrims Way, a massive explosion, and the vision of a young Victorian architect. It was touched by the threat from German Zepplins in World War 1 and by the age of supersonic flight in the 1970s. Yet, mostly, it is the story of the local men and women who, throughout a thousand years of history, were inspired by their faith to climb this lonely hill on the North Downs to worship God.
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