Crawley New Town: Churches

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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'Crawley New Town: Churches', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town, (London, 1987) pp. 91-92. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

CHURCHES. (fn. 1)

The master plan provided for public allotment of sites for religious buildings, which the development corporation transferred freehold at a quarter of their residential value. Provision was co-ordinated with the Sussex churches joint planning committee, representing the Church of England, the Roman Catholics, and several nonconformist denominations. Religious buildings were to be at focal points in the town centre, on the campuses planned for secondary schools, and at neighbourhood centres. The Anglicans planned for a church or church hall in each neighbourhood. In fact the Anglican churches were normally built at neighbourhood centres. (fn. 2) Roman Catholic and nonconformist churches are treated separately. (fn. 3) The needs of non-Christians were not foreseen and have been met mainly by the private efforts of the bodies concerned. (fn. 4) Church extension was supported with funds from the Crawley Industrial Group. (fn. 5)

Daughter churches of Ifield founded after 1947 are treated under Ifield. (fn. 6) This section deals with daughter churches in Crawley (St. John's) parish.

The church of St. Richard, Three Bridges, was rebuilt in Gales Drive and transferred c. 1952 from Worth to Crawley parish. The new church was opened in 1954; (fn. 7) built of yellow brick, it consists of a nave with a lantern at the east end. A church hall forms a north transept. The existing church of St. Michael, Lowfield Heath, was transferred from Charlwood (Surr.) to St. John's parish in 1959. (fn. 8) The church of St. Elizabeth, Northgate, was dedicated in 1958 (fn. 9) and enlarged c. 1965 to provide 200 sittings. It too was held with St. John's. (fn. 10) In 1980 a team ministry was set up based on St. John's, with a team rector and three team vicars. (fn. 11) The dualpurpose church hall of St. Barnabas, Pound Hill, was completed in 1956-7. (fn. 12)

The church of ST. MARY, Southgate, was completed in 1958 and was assigned a parish in 1959. (fn. 13) The living was a perpetual curacy (fn. 14) but a team ministry was set up in 1980. (fn. 15) The patronage was held by the Church Pastoral Aid Society, passing to the diocesan patronage board in 1980. (fn. 16) The daughter church of Holy Trinity, Tilgate, was built in 1959, (fn. 17) and that of St. Andrew, Furnace Green, in 1968-9. (fn. 18) They were served by team vicars under the team rector of St. Mary's in 1980. (fn. 19)

St. Mary's is built of reinforced concrete clad in flint and brick, with a sweeping hump-backed roof surmounted by a skeletal lantern tower and flèche. The east wall forms a decorative concrete reredos. There is one bell.

A conventional district of Broadfield had been assigned by 1980, (fn. 20) and the church of CHRIST THE LORD was opened there in 1980 or 1981. (fn. 21) It was shared with the Roman Catholics and the United Reformed church. (fn. 22) From 1983, when the first incumbent left, Broadfield became a team vicarage within St. Mary's team ministry. (fn. 23) The church is a polygonal brick structure with a low lantern above, and stands in the middle of Broadfield community centre.


  • 1. For chs. founded before 1947, above, Ifield, churches; V.C.H. Suss. vii. 146-7, 197-200.
  • 2. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 49-50; M. Wood, Hist. of Crawley Baptist Ch. 1883-1983, 25 (copy in Crawley Ref. Libr.); J. Goepel, Devel. of Crawley (Crawley, 1980), 11.
  • 3. Below, Rom. Cath.; protestant nonconf.
  • 4. Below, other religions.
  • 5. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', Rob. May, p. 3.
  • 6. Above, Ifield, churches.
  • 7. V.C.H. Suss. vii. 200; Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1951, 1953- 4); C.D.C. 6th Ann. Rep. 1953, 146; notice on W. front of ch. (1985).
  • 8. Lowfield Health Remembered, comp. J. Shelley, 18 (copy in W.S.R.O. libr.).
  • 9. W. Suss. Gaz. 10 July 1958.
  • 10. Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1960-1, 1964-5, 1966-7).
  • 11. Ibid. (1979-80, 1980-1).
  • 12. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 142; 10th Ann. Rep. 1957, 163; Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', Chas. Williams.
  • 13. Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1957-8, 1959-60); W. Suss. Gaz. 6 Feb. 1958.
  • 14. Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1966-7).
  • 15. Ibid. (1980-1).
  • 16. Ibid. (1959-60, 1979-80, 1980-1).
  • 17. C.D.C. 12th Ann. Rep. 1959, 166; Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1959-60).
  • 18. Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1968-69, 1969-70); foundation stone dated 1968.
  • 19. Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1980-1).
  • 20. Ibid. (1979-80).
  • 21. C.N.T. 18th Ann. Rep. 1980, 16.
  • 22. Below, Rom. Cath.
  • 23. Chich. Dioc. Dir. (1982-3); ibid. (1983-4), s.vv. Crawley and Aldingbourne.