Nuthurst: Nonconformity

Pages 108-109

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.

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Four parishioners presented in the 1570s for not attending church or not taking communion (fn. 1) may have been recusants. One papist was mentioned in 1724, (fn. 2) two females in 1767, (fn. 3) and one male in 1791. (fn. 4)

Quaker missionaries were received in 1655 by the occupier of Sedgewick Lodge, who had come to Sussex from the north of England; a great meeting was held there in that year and many converts were made. (fn. 5) There was still a Quaker community in the parish in the 1770s, when the Horsham monthly meeting was held at least once at Nuthurst. (fn. 6) Four Baptists were presented for not attending Nuthurst church in 1664, one of them also refusing to pay the church rate in the following year. (fn. 7) In 1724 there were 8 Baptists and 1 Presbyterian. (fn. 8)

A place of worship in the parish was registered in 1824 by the Independent minister of Horsham. (fn. 9) In 1829, when it was described as a cottage, there was a weekday meeting once a month; of the c. 40 who attended, half were thought to go to the Horsham chapel on Sundays and half to Nuthurst parish church. (fn. 10) The congregation apparently lapsed soon afterwards. In 1890 or 1893 the successor Horsham Congregational church renewed its evangelism in the parish, holding services at first in a room 8 ft. square. A brick chapel was built by the road between Nuthurst and Maplehurst in 1893 or 1895, and was served by lay preachers from Horsham. (fn. 11) Two Sunday services were held in the 1930s, but only one in 1977 when there was a congregation of c. 10. In 1972 the congregation joined the United Reformed Church. (fn. 12)

A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built at Mannings Heath in 1832. (fn. 13) In 1851, when it could seat 100, it was served from Horsham, the congregation at the afternoon service on Census Sunday totalling 40. (fn. 14) In 1865 some members of the congregation came from Horsham and Lower Beeding parishes. (fn. 15) A new brick chapel in Gothic style which could seat 110 was built on the opposite side of the road in 1869. (fn. 16) It was sold c. 1973 (fn. 17) and later converted into a house.


  • 1. Ibid. Ep. I/23/4, f. 42; Ep. I/23/5, f. 48v.
  • 2. Ibid. Ep. I/26/3, p. 15.
  • 3. H.L.R.O., papist return (inf. from Mr. T. J. McCann, W.S.R.O.).
  • 4. E.S.R.O., QDR/7/EW 2.
  • 5. S.A.C. lv. 81; V.C.H. Suss. ii. 38; Jnl. of Geo. Fox, ed. N. Penney, i. 184.
  • 6. S.A.C. lv. 79; Marsh, Early Friends, 27.
  • 7. S.R.S. xlix. 133-4.
  • 8. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/26/3, p. 15.
  • 9. P.R.O., RG 31/1, Chich. archdeac. no. 131.
  • 10. W.S.R.O., QCR 1/11/W 1/98.
  • 11. E. M. Marchant, Short Hist.of Cong. Ch. at Horsham, 1800-1950, 12 (copy in W.S.R.O. libr.); Pioneers Still: Suss. Cong. Union and Home Missionary Soc. 1849-1949, 19-20.
  • 12. Nuthurst, 1977 (Nuthurst par. council), 68-9 (copy in W.S.R.O. libr.).
  • 13. P.R.O., HO 129/87/1/3/5; W.S.R.O., TD/W 92.
  • 14. P.R.O., HO 129/87/1/3/5.
  • 15. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/22A/2 (1865).
  • 16. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1895); Return of Accom. in Wesleyan Methodist Chapels, 1901, 9.
  • 17. W. Suss. Co. Times, 8 June 1973.