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The town is named after the Red Hill, a small hill on the edge of Merstham Common. The name was first recorded in 1291 as "Redehill", meaning "red hill". In 1610, George Abbot founded an abbey at a site just to the north-west of central Redhill which later became known as St Mary's Abbey. In 1841 work began on building St John's Church next to it and by 1846 this had become its parish church. The former abbey buildings were demolished in 1863 when their stone was used for extensions to St John's Church (which itself has been rebuilt twice since then).