Upper Beeding: Protestant nonconformity

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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'Upper Beeding: Protestant nonconformity', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town, (London, 1987) pp. 44-45. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol6/pt3/pp44-45 [accessed 21 April 2024]


George Fox's visit to Steyning in 1655 perhaps led to the establishment of a Quaker community in Upper Beeding; in 1677 a couple in the parish were presented for being Quakers and for having foregone a marriage ceremony. (fn. 1) There was a Presbyterian family in the parish in 1724. (fn. 2)

A room at Small Dole seating 25 was used for weekly Independent services held by the minister from Henfield in 1851; the attendance on Census Sunday was 15. (fn. 3)

Primitive Methodists registered a chapel in the parish and a room in a private house at Small Dole in 1866. Both registrations were cancelled in 1876. (fn. 4) In 1875 a 'fanatical' farmer was said by the incumbent to be holding weekly evening meetings, chiefly for his own labourers. (fn. 5)

A Baptist chapel was built at Small Dole, to hold 150 people, in 1880. (fn. 6) It closed in 1977, (fn. 7) and by 1981 the building had been converted into the village hall. Meanwhile the Baptist farmer of Beeding Court farm is said to have begun a Sunday school in the farm kitchen in 1905. In 1913 an iron mission room to replace it was opened in Church Lane. At first the congregation was under the aegis of Shoreham Baptist church, but it became independent in 1959 when the first minister was appointed. A new church was built in 1966 behind the old building, which was demolished in or after 1975. In 1975 there were 90 adult church members. (fn. 8)


  • 1. A. Fletcher, County Community in Peace and War, 121; S.A.C. lv. 86; S.R.S. l. 58.
  • 2. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/26/3, p. 55.
  • 3. P.R.O., HO 129/86/2/3/5.
  • 4. G.R.O. Worship Reg. nos. 17437, 17590.
  • 5. W.S.R.O., Ep. II/14A/1 (1875).
  • 6. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1895); cf. O.S. Map 6", Suss. LII. NW. (1899 edn.).
  • 7. D. R. Elleray, Victorian Chs. of Suss. 79.
  • 8. W. Suss. Gaz. 30 May 1963; 16 Oct. 1975.