The Reverend William Frederic Tucker Hamilton (1856–1944) was vicar of St John’s Church, Woking 1886–1894. During his time there he helped to fundraise for the building of Christ Church, Woking, and upon its opening in 1894 became its first vicar. He had also helped to raise money to build St Paul’s Church, Maybury which opened in the same year, putting some of his own wealth towards both churches.

William bought two plots of land in Mount Hermon Road in 1896, with a view to building another new church to serve the growing population in that area. In 1899, Hamilton purchased a plot in York Road, adjacent to the previous plots, and one in the Kingsway Hall, now the site of Bethany Place.

In 1905 he was appointed vicar of Cromer in Norfolk, and gave the land and cost of building the new church to Christ Church in memory of his wife. W D Caröe, the Arts and Crafts architect, was appointed to design the new church, which was named St Mary of Bethany.

The foundation stone was laid on the 25th anniversary of William and Maud’s wedding, 15 October 1906, using this trowel. The Woking News and Mail wrote that “the trowel is an exceedingly handsome specimen of the silversmith’s art”. St Mary of Bethany was consecrated on 4 November 1907.

After his retirement in 1916, William Hamilton returned to Woking to worship and assist the clergy at St Mary of Bethany until his death in 1944.

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