Church History

St Francis’ Church was built in 1933 at a time when that part of Guildford was rapidly expanding. Perhaps it was thought that
Beckingham Road would be the main thoroughfare into the estate of Westborough. It is now, of course, a no-through road.

The church cost £2,300 to build and was the last of four daughter churches to be built in the parish of Stoke. It was originally a chapel of ease for Emmanuel Church, Stoughton.
Julia Paynter, the widow of Francis Paynter who was a former rector of Stoke Church, donated £2,000 for its construction.

When the foundation stone was laid the Surrey Weekly Press made a point of noting that the building would be “electrically heated”.

And when it was consecrated at the end of 1933, it came under the care of Emmanuel Church, but it was not until 1947 that an ecclesiastical district of Westborough was formed. It was then the “youngest child of the Diocese of Guildford”.

The first priest in charge was the Rev’d Godfrey Paine. The Rev’d Headley Shearing took over in 1949 and the vicarage was built not long after at a cost of £5,150.

The chapel, to give it its correct name back then, was built with the east end temporarily blocked off with a view to extend later.
Work began in 1957 to extend not only the church but the addition of a church hall. The cost was about £13,000.


In 1958, an Order in Council was passed by the Privy Council setting up Westborough as a separate statutory district, decreeing that as soon as the church was suitable for consecration, Westborough would become a parish. It did so, just before the end of that year.

The Rev’d Roy Trevivian became the first official vicar of the parish of Westborough.

During his time in Guildford, this charismatic clergyman set about building a daughter church in Park Barn – then a rapidly expanding area to the west of Guildford. This was to become St Clare’s Church and was literally built by local people in the early to mid 1960s.

The two churches later formed what was then Guildford’s first team ministry.


In 1994, St Francis’ Church was revamped (the ecclesiastical term is a re-ordering) with new seating, a re-arranged altar, a porch with a ramp for wheelchair users and an extension to the hall.

In 2015 the church was re-decorated and modernized  with new LED lighting throughout the church, a lovely decorated centre piece window at the rear and a lowered ceiling with wooden flooring for the hall.

Well remembered clergy connected with the parish of Westborough include the Rev’ds Paul Barber, Peter Hogben, Geraint Meirion-Jones, and its most previous team rector, Clive Potter, to name but a few, and is currently ministered by our team rector Stefanie Hodges.

For many years St Francis’ has been very much a mission church with an extremely friendly and welcoming congregation. It aims to respond to the needs of the people in its parish and beyond.