Copthorne – St John

After the newly built railways opened up the wealden area south and west of East Grinstead, the building of new houses made it necessary to divide the large mediaeval parishes in the district, which had hitherto been sparsely populated.  Thus, Copthorne is one of three new parishes formed out of Worth, together with Crawley Down and Turners Hill.  It was established in 1881 and also incorporates part of Burstow and Horne in Surrey (VCH 7 p199).

The church, started in 1877 and dedicated in 1880, cost £3500 (KD 1899).  It was designed by M E Habershon and E P L Brock (B 35 p791) and is typical of their work, with a combination of lancets and simple tracery in a generally late C13 style and a north west tower, which is rather under-sized in proportion to the rest of the building.  It serves also as an entrance.  Little higher than the nave, it has elongated, traceried bell-openings and a stone broach spire of smooth ashlar, which contrasts with the rough finished stone of the rest.

The interior is unexpectedly spacious and in contrast to the outside is faced with polychrome brick, except for the four-bay arcades of stone and the chancel arch.  Both the latter are quite simple, in contrast to the extensively braced nave roof.  The church has been adapted to modern liturgical requirements and the chancel fittings have been almost all removed.


Font: Octagonal, with decoration carved on each side.

1. (East windows) A Gibbs, 1877 (ibid)  (Three lancets with Saints John and Peter with the Good Shepherd).
2. (West window) Clayton and Bell, 1881 also single figures set in clear quarries ( retrieved on 11/2/2013).
Reredos: All that remains of the original fittings. It consists of a series of triangular gables of stone running across the east end and cannot be in its original condition.

My thanks to Mike Anton for the second photograph of the nave interior