The Story of the Church

The building
There has been a church on this site since 1291, although it was originally a small chapel, but by the end of the fourteenth century a bell tower, chancel and east window had been added.


In 1839 this building was demolished save for the tower and a small part of the south wall of the chancel. At that stage William Moseley rebuilt the church increasing its size and height by adding a spire. The church was then dedicated to the Holy Cross.

 

In 1846 Uckfield became a parish, it having previously having been just a chapel to Buxted parish church. In 1875 the incumbent, who had previously been known as the Perpetual Curate, became the Rector.

 

From 1883 onwards various alterations were made to the church including moving the pulpit from the right to the left hand side of the nave, the extension of the chancel and resetting of the mediaeval window in the new east end. The clock faces were installed in 1894 The north porch was made into an organ chamber and the south porch a choir vestry, although this later became the chapel of the Sacred Passion of Christ. There were box pews in the church until the late 1800s.


The church had a major redecoration in 1979 and more recently in 2005


The east window, which was designed by Henry Holiday in the 19th century was restored in 2001.

 

The present dais was also fitted in 2001, bringing thesycamore and American black walnut altar into the body of the church.


The Queen and other members of the Royal Family worshipped here for the first time in 1953 whilst staying in Uckfield.


In 2006 the internal glass doors and welcome area were established.



The Organ
The present organ was one of only two built by Mr T Brooke in 1902, whose premises were over a shop in the High Street, and cost £450.00. Originally water pumped, it was adapted to hand in 1909 and then electricity. The organ has two manuals, pedal board with twenty speaking stops and 1,266 pipes. The organ was rebuilt in 1971 and restored in 1987.



The bells
A peal of eight, these were recast at Whitechapel Foundry in 1905. The belfry was moved from the ground to the first floor in the Tower 1975 and the bells were restored in 2001. Click here to read more about the bells.


 

Christchurch Chapel
This was created in 1976 on the north side and took its name from Christchurch, previously at Ridgewood. The altar, altar rails and Angel window all came from this church. It was dedicated by a former Curate at the church, the Right Reverend Timothy Bavin.



The Dovecote
This cedar wood dovecote in the churchyard was made from the tree which had stood in the churchyard since 1846 and came down in the storms of 1987.


Much of the maintenance and repair of the church fabric and of the furniture and fittings within the church, including vestments, have been through kind donations over the years and a great deal of fundraising.



Memorials
The oldest one is to John Fuller (1610) on the north wall of the chancel. Edward Holmes Baldock, whose memorial is found above the angel window, left money for the poor, the interest of which is still distributed each year. Napkin Brooker in 1771 was found as an infant child wrapped in a table napkin at the Rocks; he died aged 91 in 1862. His memorial is near the lych-gate.

 

The two brass memorials on the west wall are dedicated to the 96 local men who died in the First World War. The wooden memorial on the north side of the Belfry door is dedicated to the 44 local men who died in the Second World War. The Corner of Remembrance is located by the north west glass door. The oak memorial on the north wall is dedicated to the Old Boys of Uckfield Grammar School who died in the First World War. It was removed from the school in Church Street on its closure in July 1930.

 

On the north wall is a marble memorial plaque to Colonel (Rory) Macleod who served in both World Wars and held important posts within the Army. He was also a most generous benefactor of the Church.


The lych-gate was given in memory of Canon Edward Sanderson, Rector of Holy Cross 1880 - 1927.


 

Other items of interest
The stained glass window in the south wall near the welcome area is the gift of Betty and Paddy Ditch who donated it to the children of Uckfield and to commemorate the devastating storm of October 1987. The wooden oak cover to the octagonal font was carved and given by Ann Fanshaw in 1906.


On the north gallery panel front is a date mark of 1720; this was formerly part of a box pew.


Top Secret. On the north side of the Belfry entrance is a document dated 21st September 1940. This indicates the intention that, at the start of any German Army invasion, Uckfield was to be part of the area to be taken by force.

 

 

A list of the Clergy associated with Holy Cross can be found on the south-west pillar of the nave.