Jarvis Brook – St Michael

Jarvis Brook was a hamlet in the parish of Rotherfield and developed in the valley in the direction of Crowborough, close to the station that served both.  A combined infants school and chapel of ease were built in 1883 (CB 1883 p108) which had become known as a mission church in 1899 (KD).  The settlement grew thanks to the local brickworks and thus a more satisfactory place of worship was needed.  The present one was therefore built in 1905 on a new, more convenient site given by Lord Abergavenny and the architect was J B Tansley (CDG 144 p143).   Jarvis Brook was constituted as a separate parish in 1934.

It is like many small churches and chapelries of the period, with an aisleless nave and chancel with lancets, built of rough-finished stone.  However, its proportions are lower than most, with a small open timber belfry on two big buttresses at the west end, joined at the top to form an arch.  The plain interior has a low-pitched roof and a four-centred chancel arch, a feature seldom found before the late C19 and echoed in the arch containing the east lancets.  Another sign of the date is the half-timbered gables of the chancel and vestry, showing the early C20 preference for the picturesque.

N F Cachemaille-Day remodelled the interior in 1935 (CDG Sept 1935 p351), doubtless with the intention of improving its appearance after the establishment of the parish.  He made little change to the structure, but most fittings (see below) and the colour scheme are by him.


Choir stalls: 1935.  Plain and panelled, doubtless by Cachemaille-Day.
Font: A curiosity, with an octagonal bowl covered in zigzag carving.  It is clearly C19 and is said to come from Withyham.  The halo-like light suspended above it dates from c1967.
1.  (East window) C Webb, 1936 (ESRO Par 405/4/2/5).  The composition, which stretches across all five lights, consists of figures set in clear glass and is much in the idiom of Comper.
2.  (South nave, first window) R M de Montmorency, 1952 (DSGW 1958).
3.  (South nave second to fourth and all four north nave windows) R Coomber, 1972 and made by the Wippell Mowbray Studios  (www.stainedglassrecords.org retrieved on 11/3/2013).
Pulpit: Plain and cylindrical except for what appears to be a stylised dove on the front.  It also has a flat, circular tester in a darker material.  R G Covell, 1967-68 (BE(E) p317).

My thanks to Nick Wiseman for the photographs of the interior, glass and fittings