History of the Parish

St Wilfred brought Christianity to Sussex around AD 681.   Our Parish Church, St George’s, West Grinstead, remains the oldest building in the parish and has been in existence for at least 900 years. Much of England’s recorded history has been witnessed by this beautiful old church which, consequently, has had its fair share of good and bad times. Life in West Grinstead during penal times, 1570-1791, with a prominent recusant family, the Carylls, established in West Grinstead Park, must have been dangerously interesting to say the least. The large Jacobean Rectory, now Glebe House, reminds us of the later the prosperity of the living of West Grinstead, where the rector was, for many years, assisted by two curates.   In some cases the Rectory remained in the hands of the same family for several generations.   By contrast, maintaining the church in good order seems to have been a struggle for the parishioners of yesteryear but faithful attendance at worship, including attendance at four communion services a year, remained the case. A new, smaller Rectory was built to the north of Glebe House and brought into use in 1927.

Until the early 1860’s travel in Wealden Sussex was difficult because of the heavy clay, sodden in winter. The Horsham to Brighton railway, eclipsing the Baybridge Canal to Shoreham, transformed the life of the Parish and new developments in housing and business began, particularly at Partridge Green and less so at Dial Post. By the 1880’s Partridge Green had become a flourishing village and the need was felt for a daughter church to serve this part of the parish. Initially this need was met by an iron mission room but the new church of St Michael and All Angels was opened in 1891. From its opening until around 1952 St Michael’s was served by a curate who assisted the Rector of West Grinstead.   Since then all services in both churches have been led by the Rector or lay persons.

St George’s and St Michael’s churches are lively places today, each with its own character and attended by faithful congregations which include parishioners and those from farther afield.

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