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A brief history of All Saints' Church

All Saints Church, Crawley Down from the westThe parish of Crawley Down is fortunate in having a beautiful Victorian Church as a place of worship and we remember with gratitude the act of faith and generosity that led the Lord of the Manor, Henry Thomas, Earl of Chichester, and the Rector of Worth, George Bethune, and the inhabitants of Worth Parish of St. Nicholas to give land and money to enable the Church to be built in 1843. It was built of locally hewn sandstone, rather than of the more common brick of that era. It is in Early English style, with pointed arches and windows and having an arch-braced timber roof structure.

one of the stained glass windows in All Saints ChurchA sad event occurred in October 1987 when, as a result of the great storm, ten mature trees were lost in the Churchyard. One oak fell against the Eastern Nave gable wall, knocking down the stone cross sitting on the gable coping, but merely brushing the Altar windows and, miraculously, not a glass or lead was broken. On that same night the roof of the Lady Chapel was damaged and some timbers had to be replaced.

Almost all the soft furnishings in use at the Church have been designed and made by parishioners, including Mrs. Janet Pineau, members of the Evening Women's Institute, Mrs. Sue Pearson, Mrs. June Mitchell and Mrs. Gill Johnstone. Mrs. Joan Field designed the kneelers and these were made in 1975 by a group from the Afternoon Women's Institute and others, each kneeler commemorating a saint. The worker's initials may be found on the left. On the right may be found the initials of the person in whose memory the kneeler was made. The wooden chest on the north side of the Church, in which the Altar frontals are kept, was made by Mr. Fred Rood.

A century and a half ago our forbears built a small and beautiful chapel in Crawley Down, dedicated to All Saints. In succeeding years others have continued to cherish and add to the Church. Their skill and workmanship, their generosity, love and dedication have given us a legacy which we, in our turn, must now cherish and preserve for our descendants Many historical churches are in danger of becoming redundant and allowed to fall into ruin as a consequence of economic difficulties, including the cost of maintenance and major repairs. It is up to each of us to see that this does not happen to All Saints', Crawley Down. We need our Church, not just for baptisms, marriages and funerals, but as a place of prayer and worship, a sanctuary, and somewhere to find that peace that passes all our understandings. May you, too, find that peace there.

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