Crawley Down – All Saints

Crawley Down was the first of three parishes to be formed out of that of Worth and stands near the site of the former railway station, although that postdates the foundation of the church, and the present centre of the village has moved.   Though entirely C19, the development of the church rivals some mediaeval ones in its complexity.  It was first built in 1843 by an unknown architect and, like many lesser churches of the period, was aisleless with a short chancel.  The main survival is the west front, with an open stone bell-cote and three stepped lancets above a stone porch.  A plan of 1871, prepared before the enlargement of that year (ICBS), shows tall single-light side-windows, which by analogy with the west front were probably lancets.  Inside, the wallposts of the nave roof resemble classical columns, which suggests that they remain from the church of 1843.

In 1871 a north aisle and a longer chancel were added by E Christian (WSRO Ep II/27/116), who retained the lancet style.  He repeated the existing roof in the new part of the chancel and designed an arcade with piers of grey sandstone, using a browner one for the heads.  He also enlarged the chancel arch (ICBS) and it now resembles his arcade.  The vestry and organ chamber are also by Christian.

The final addition was a south aisle in 1888-89 by A J Style (BN 56 p88).  In place of single lancets he chose groups of smaller ones, the middle and east ones with trefoiled heads.  Inside, his arcade conforms in proportions to Christian’s but has round-headed arches.  Despite its complicated genesis and modest appearance, the church hangs together, probably because the same materials were used throughout, particularly the rough-finished stone externally.  In 1927 there were plans to enlarge the west window (CDG NS 74 (1927) p50), but the west lancets appear normally proportioned, so the work was probably never done.  On the north side a large timber-faced extension joined by a glass passage to the church was added by J D Clarke and Partners in 2013 (architect’s website).


Cupboard: (In vestry) Late C19 work, said to have been made at Antwerp, with elaborate panels of brass and coloured glass.  A matching mirror was sold in 1978.
1. (South chancel,second window and south aisle east and first two south windows) Kempe and Co, 1907-08.
2. (East window) Designed by H P B Downing and possibly made by Burlison and Grylls, 1919 (WSRO Fac 2823).
3. (South aisle, third south and west windows) G Maile and Son, designed by A S Walker, 1955 and 1953 (WSRO Fac 445 and 446).