Haywards Heath – St Richard

A modest chapelry in the parish of St Wilfrid dedicated to the Holy Spirit was opened in a ‘tin church’ in the expanding northern part of Haywards Heath in 1897.  This prospered and in 1916 was re-dedicated to St Richard before becoming the centre of a separate parish by 1920.  The existing structure survived until 1937-38, when it was replaced by a permanent church designed by L K Hett (CDG 18 p341).  In 1937 the cost was estimated at £7000 (ibid) though this seems on the low side and may not be the final amount since the new church is said only to have been finished in 1942 (www.BritishListedBuildings.co.uk).

Though deceptively spacious inside, the general proportions are low.  The material used outside is brick and there are aisles, too narrow to be more than passages,with short transepts.  In place of conventional piers, uprights are canted towards the centre of the nave and form the main roof-members, with those at the crossing set diagonally.  The chancel lacks aisles and as the east wall is blank, there is no focus.  The dormer windows above the aisles are domestic in appearance, though at the west end and in the south transept are more ambitious round-headed ones.  Inside, there are galleries both at the west end and in the north transept, the latter containing the organ.


Font: Slender and tapered octagonal bowl with band of wave-ornament beneath rim.  The style is very much that of J Cribb, who could well have made it.
1. (South transept, south window) J Hayward, 1984 (signed).
2. (North transept, west window) J Hayward, c1986 (CCC file).
3. (South nave and north nave first and second windows) M C F Bell, 1977-90 (signed).


1. Anon: The Story of St Richard’s Church, Haywards Heath, 1938

My thanks to Mike Anton for the photograph