Compton is a small village of only one thousand inhabitants, three miles south-west of Guildford. The Pilgrims’ Way lies just to the north of the village. It has retained much of its original charm, with thirty-one listed buildings. The village is closely associated with the Victorian painter, George Frederick Watts (1817-1904). He spent his later life at the house he called, “Limnerlease” and the Watts Gallery in the village, which is close to his house, now displays his works. His wife, Mary, designed the Watts Mortuary Chapel, which is built on a hill overlooking the village. Both are buried there.
St. Nicholas Church, in the main street, is one of the most significant in Surrey. The Saxon tower, which has a small steeple, dates from the 11th century. The church has a double chancel, which is unique in England and was built at the end of the Norman period. The nine arched balustrade of the upper sanctuary, is one of the oldest pieces of church timberwork surviving anywhere in the United Kingdom. The interior whiteness of the church is created by the hard chalk carved from the Hogs Back. The Virgin and Child in the east window, probably dates from the early 13th century and is one of the oldest panels of glass in Surrey. It has been unchanged since pilgrims passed through here on their way to Canterbury 800 years ago.
The White Hart Cottage, a timber-framed house, with the upper storey jutting out over the street, was an inn, but now the village is well served by The Harrow pub and the famous Withies Inn, a 16th century inn and restaurant on Compton Common.