One of the pleasures of walking along the Pilgrims’ Way between Farnham and St Catherine’s village, outside Guildford, is the ‘midway’ stop at Compton.
The walker’s pause here is often to visit the wonderful Watts Gallery Tea Shop with its jumble of china next to the path.
But Compton also has a church with a rare double deck chancel and a very unusual cemetery chapel and cloister.
The Tea Shop is in the former pottery showroom of the artists’ village created by Mary Watts who was responsible for the cemetery buildings.
She had outlived her husband GF Watts by 34 years when she died in 1938 and during this time she developed the pottery using local clay.
A new book Mary Seton Watts and the Compton Pottery by Hilary Calvert and Louise Boreham not only tells her story but reveals her relationship with the Pilgrims’ Way.
In the grounds of Mary’s house, Limnerslease, is a terracotta Pilgrims’ Way cross inscribed: ‘G. F. Watts, O. M. R. A. His Pilgrims Way 1891-1904. By his wish, this cross placed here.’ At the base are pilgrim figures.
The book’s many illustrations include photographs of pilgrim mugs manufactured on site as well as different ceramic pilgrim bottles with delightful designs.
Red clay pendants depict landmarks to come: St Catherine’s Chapel and St Martha’s Hill church.
The book also suggests that in St Nicholas church, at the entry into Guildford, the figure of the saint comes from Compton.
Allow plenty of time if you are pausing for refreshment at Compton.