Centenary Brochure 1868-1968

This is the contents of the brochure that was published to mark the Centenary of St George’s Church in 1968.

[front cover]
1868 – 1968
Centenary Brochure
[sketch of church]

[inside front cover]
A Message from the Vicar and Churchwardens.

It is a very great pleasure to us all to look forward to celebrating (D.V.) the hundredth anniversary of the Consecration of St. George’s, and we pray that God will accept and use all that we seek to do to His Glory.

Sincere thanks are due to all who have worked so hard in making these arrangements, and who will be so busy during the week itself.

We look back over the years to a Worthing which was very different from the one we know. The extracts from Mr. Lomgley’s researches show us the church building we love so well standing out in the fields and serving quite a small population. The same building, with its daughter church Emmanuel, today serves a parish with a very large and increasing population.

Throughout this time there have been many problems to face, and the lack of proper endowments has been the greatest on the material side. The sacrificial generosity of St. George’s people over the past 25 years has been amazing. During the short time of the present incumbency, over £4,000 has been expended on repairs, and our Centenary Appeal produced over £1,500. The church has been re-roofed and re-decorated, and the garden made lovely. We thank God too for signs of a revival of spiritual life, and awareness of the need for personal commitment to Christ. Without this, our Centenary Celebrations must be vain and empty.

We trust, as we look ahead from this time of celebrations to the future years, our beloved Church will be found geared to the needs of these modern times. We have a message which we believe can answer the great personal problems and trials which so many experience. We want all our parishioners to join us in proclaiming it. Our various organisations offer fellowship and spiritual help to every age group and we hope they will be fully used. There is great scope for real work and a sharing in the ministry by any who are able to devote even a little of their time to this service.

The Church exists to proclaim the Good News of Salvation through New Birth. Through all its hundred years, with Vicars and workers of differing types, this vital note has never been lost. May it sound out yet louder still in these Last Days, that when the Lord returns in Glory, those who work and worship here may be found a people acceptable in His sight. Then the faith and vision of those who built in 1868 will be fully justified, and they will rejoice with us.

ARTHUR WIGZELL, Deputy Warden.

[Page 1]
A Letter from The Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Chichester
[photo of the Bishop]

I am very glad to send my good wishes to the members of St. George’s Parish Church, Worthing, as you keep the Centenary of the building of your church. During these one hundred years there have been immense changes in all aspects of life – changes which those who first worshipped in this church would have been astonished to see. Yet through all the political, social, and international developments your church, in company with all others, has stood as witness to the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ, and a succession of clergy and people have together borne faithful and devout witness to the power of that Gospel in their lives and its eternal relevance in this changeable world. While we look back in thankfulness to God, therefore, for His blessing on your church in the past, remembering those who built it and cared for it in years gone by, we also look forward in faith and trust to the witness that it will make and the work that it will so, through its members, for Him in the years to come.
The Palace, Chichester.

From the Rural Dean, The Rev. Preb. J.W. Reeves

It is with great pleasure that greetings are sent to the clergy and people of the parish of St. George, Worthing, on the occasion of their Centenary Celebrations. May they prove to be one of great joy and of rich spiritual blessing.

As I have been in the deanery for over 22 years, there have been opportunities of seeing the work that is done in your ever expanding parish, opportunities which were enlarged with the closer contact as Rural Dean. The evangelical traditions of your founders and patrons have, indeed, been faithfully and steadfastly upheld.

In this year may it be said that you will follow in the steps of your patron saint. Of him it has been written “Many soldiers in the early part of the fourth century, fought the good fight of faith and were eager to lay down their lives for the cause of Christ. None were more widely celebrated than St. George. Throughout Christendom he was the very pattern of chivalry, the ideal knight of spotless fame, who was, from first to last, without fear and without reproach.”
Signed J.W. REEVES,
Ferring Vicarage, Worthing.

[Page 2]
A letter from The Worshipful the Mayor of Worthing Councillor B.P. ROSS, A.Inst.M.S.M., J.P.
[photo of the Mayor]

I am very glad to send my good wishes to the members of St. George’s Church as they celebrate the Centenary of the building of their church. During this last century there have been many changes in the general life of our time, but throughout all the vicissitudes your church, in company with others, has stayed steadfast and made a splendid contribution to Christian life and witness in Worthing.

Many have found guidance, comfort and happiness through their association with St. George’s Church, and it affords me much pleasure to send to the Vicar, members and friends grateful acknowledgment of the church’s long and valuable services to Christianity in this town, and I earnestly hope that its work will go on from strength to strength.
Signed B.P. ROSS,
Mayor’s Parlour, Town Hall, Worthing.


1868 The Rev. W.S. Lewis, M.A.
1881 The Rev. R. Gunnery.
1883 The Rev. Sydenham Lynes Dixon.
1888 The Rev. J. Bennett, M.A., D.D.
1893 The Rev. W. Heber Wright, M.A.
1905 The Rev. S.S. Farrow, L.Th.
1917 The Rev. H.L. Colclough, M.A.
1930 The Rev. E.J. Towndrow, M.A.
1944 The Rev. H. Neal Snelling, A.L.C.D.
1950 The Rev. Gordon E. Diamond, A.L.C.D.
1957 The Rev. John G. Sheldon, M.A.
1962 The Rev. Thomas Hewitt, B.D., M.Th.
1966 The Rev. A.J. Goss, M.A.

[page 3]
From the Chairman of Church Society Council

The past 100 years have seen more changes than any other comparable period in the history of mankind. This last century has also seen more theories being propounded for the solution of the problems of individuals and of nations than ever before. The number of hospital beds required for patients suffering from some form of mental disorder does not indicate that the proffered solutions have been very effective. The international situation, charged as it is with tension, does not indicate that man “come of age” has found a way of living at peace with his neighbours.

During this period St. George’s, Worthing has stood as a clear witness to the unchanging Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Here men and women have found the true answer to their deepest problems as they have come to trust in Christ for themselves. Here the young have been trained in the ways of the Lord, and prepared to face life in an age of uncertainty and perplexity.

The fact that a forthright evangelical ministry has been maintained at St. George’s is due, under God, to our Patronage system. This is bitterly attacked today. All who thank God for the work and witness of St. George’s would do well to consider how different the past hundred years might have been if the right of presentation to the living had not been vested in the Church Society Patronage Trust.

May the Lord’s gracious blessing continue to rest on all you seek to do in His name.


Within the covers of this brochure, there appears the name of Alfred Longley, and a word of appreciation of his interest in St. George’s must find a place within these records. The Rev. T. Hewitt wrote of Mr Longley, “he was a great personality with a good deal of originality and ability. These characteristics with his writings were recognised by the B.B.C. It is however, in life of the church that I came to know him. His love for St George’s is well known and his knowledge of its history was remarkable.” Alfred Longley passed into the presence of His Lord on the 31st July, 1965. It is fitting that a permanent memorial in the Church he loved so well now stands in the chancel in the form of a second Episcopal Chair kindly given by his widow.

Grateful thanks are due to those who have assisted in the preparation of this brochure; to the Rev. R.S. Brooks, to Mrs. Longley for the loan of her husband’s Records, and specially to our printers, Messrs. Gadd’s of Worthing.

[page 4]
… of St George’s Church since its Consecration
(Compiled from notes prepared by the late Mr. A. Longley, in his book “80 years”)

“Long ago the sea had an inlet to Broadwater. The salt water was eventually forced back by fresh waters descending from the sinclines or chalk troughs of the adjoining Downlands. Swollen by the rivulets of Ham and Teevil it hastened seawards to Seamill, its progress bogged only by a very considerable depth of clay soil in the area between Mansfield Road and Seamill, which takes its name from a tidal mill. This area provided lush pasturage for grazing cattle, the higher ground of the East and Homefields being mainly set aside for orchards and corn. This was the picture of the Parish to which the Rev. W.S. Lewis came in 1868 with the exception that property was being erected in Farncombe Road and in Newland Road. The Parish increased over the years but its pastoral areas were preserved until the 1914-1918 conflict after which developers and builders took charge.”

It is recorded of the World War 1 years, “on September 3rd, 1914, the St. George’s boys have responded practically ‘en bloc’ to Lord Kitchener’s appeal. As reinforcements to the regular battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, their first job on the Kaiser’s birthday, January 25th, 1915, was to clear a churchyard of Prussian intruders. This incident inscribed many names on our Roll of Honour. Our opponents did not leave willingly.”

From Mr. Longley’s records we learn that the Rev. Gunnery succeeded Mr Lewis in 1881 and stayed for two years. The Rev. Sydenham Dixon who followed him was a very popular preacher, attracting large congregations. In 1888 the Rev. J. Bennett, M.A., D.D., was inducted and after nearly five years of ministry died at the early age of 41, during the Spring of the Fever Year. His successor, the Rev. Heber Wright, preached his first sermon at St. George’s on Easter Sunday, 1893, and took up residence at 26 Selden Road. His first year was overshadowed by the typhoid epidemic in the town. Mr. Wright stayed for 12 years, before exchanging livings with the Rev. S.S. Farrow, L.Th., of North Ferraby Parish, Yorkshire in the autumn of 1905. It is recorded that Mr Farrow first lived in Alexandra Road. Plans were soon set on foot for the erection of a Vicarage and the present site was chosen in 1906. Four years later Emmanuel Church was built on a site given by Mr. E.C. Patching. The service of dedication for this New Mission Church was on the 2nd June, 1911. During Mr. Colclough’s ministry the Verral Organ was installed and the beautifully carved “The Lord’s Supper” was procured by him when on holiday in Switzerland. Of Mr. Towndrow’s ministry we learn that the oak panelling and the erection of the Church Hall in 1935 were features of his incumbency. His brave struggle against ill health, especially during the hard war years of World War II, told heavily upon him until he relinquished the living in 1943. Of Mr Snelling, who succeeded him, Mr Longley wrote “Facing a herculean task his sincerity won him many friends, the “Eighty Years” celebrations four years later bringing in scores of letters from well-wishers at home and abroad”.
Continued on Page 10

[page 5]
Extracts from the publication by Mr. LONGLEY
“80 YEARS”

“The Builder”, a periodical dated 22nd June, 1867, says of the Church :- “At East Worthing the land has been selling well, and villas of good class have been erected. The new Church of St. George is being build by Mr. Longhurst, from the designs of Mr. George Trufit. The first stone was laid by the Lord Bishop of Chichester a short time since. The coat of the building, including tower and spire is not to exceed £5,000.”

A guide book of 1876 has the following remarks, “Consecrated and opened for divine service on July 10th, 1868. Only the Nave and Aisle have been erected at present, but it is intended to add a tower and corridor, also two transepts in due time, which will undoubtedly make a difference in the outward appearance. The present incumbent is the Rev. W.S. Lewis, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Vestry and Porch were added in 1875.”

The late Mr. T. Ralph Hyde wrote as follows to the “Worthing Gazette” – “On Friday, July 10th, 1868, St. George’s Church was consecrated by Bishop Gilbert, the then Bishop of Chichester. The United Choirs of Broadwater, Chapel of Ease (now St. Paul’s) and Christ Church, supplied the choral portion of the Services.”

“The Acoustics of the Church, as now, seemed to have caused a certain amount of concern, for the pulpit was removed from in front of the chancel steps to its existing position, and there is mention of a sound board in use.”

The Confirmation Service on Saturday, June 14th, 1884, reveals that 180 candidates were presented, including 45 from St. George’s. The Sunday School treat for that year was well attended by the children, 247 were provided with tea at sixpence per head.

Concerning the Architecture it is recorded; “The Arched Roof trusses, strengthened by tie rods, supporting such a large roof area, are a feature of St. George’s Church. This roof was rather prone when dry to creak with the impact of south-westerly gales, but an application of oil to the woodwork has mitigated this.” Regarding the craftsmen the article mentions the following; “The Church was erected by a Mr. Longhurst and it was young Arthur Crane’s first job in Worthing to assist in the building of the transept and Vicar’s vestry in 1875. (Mr. Crane was a casualty during the raids made on the town by a Nazi raider in 1943, dying from the injuries received). The original seating of the Church consisted of chairs, but the coming of Mr. Dawes to Homefield House brought a benefactor to the Church and town. Through his generosity pews were installed.”

[pages 6 & 7]


Saturday, 6th July DAY OF PRAYER AND GIFTS
Vicar will receive Gifts in Church. 10 a.m.-12.30 p.m., 2 p.m.-4.30 p.m., 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
Chain of Prayer in Church from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Prayer Meeting and Preparation for Centenary at 8 p.m. in Church.

Sunday, 7th July 8 a.m. Holy Communion.
12.15 p.m. Holy Communion
11 a.m. Preacher : The Rev. Gordon Diamond, A.L.C.D.
6.30 p.m. Preacher : The Rev. H. Neal Snelling, A.L.C.D.

Monday, 8th July 7.30 p.m. Evening of Reminiscences. (Old Worthing and St. George’s) followed by coffee and biscuits in the Hall.

Tuesday, 9th July 3 p.m. United Women’s Rally. In Church. Speaker : Miss N. Coggan.
7.30 p.m. Evening Prayer at Emmanuel Church. Preacher : The Rev. John Seymour.

Wednesday, 10th July 8 a.m. Holy Communion.
11.30 a.m. Holy Communion.
3 p.m. Re-opening of Church Garden. Buffet 3.30 p.m.-7 p.m.
7.30 p.m. SERVICE OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION attended by His Worship the Mayor and Members of the Town Council.
Preacher : The Rt. Rev. The Lord Bishop of Chichester.
Collection for Centenary Fund.
Coffee served in Church Hall immediately following the service.

Thursday, 11th July 7.30 p.m. Parish Supper (admission by ticket).

Friday, 12th July 7.30 p.m. Young People’s Evening. Squash and Barbecue in the Church Garden.
Speaker The Hon. Crispin Joynson-Hicks.

Saturday, 13th July 7.30 p.m. A Sacred Concert. Collection for Centenary Fund.

Sunday, 14th July 8 a.m. Holy Communion.
7.45 p.m. Holy Communion.
11 a.m. Preacher : The Rev. J.G. Sheldon, M.A.
6.30 p.m. Preacher : The Rev J.A. Coombe, M.A., B.D.

[page 8]
[Photograph of the Church]
The Church and Hall.
The Rev. John Sheldon, M.A.; The Rev. J. Seymour; Lay Reader W.J. Beale;
The Bishop of Lewes; The Rev. M. Hoy; Lay Reader, C. Harding.

[page 9]
Further peeps into Parish History
Extracts from old volumes of the Parish Magazine.
[sketch of Mission Room]
Ham Arch Mission Room

“On Saturday evening, March 14th, 1885, the new bell of the Ham Arch Mission Room rang out its invitation to the opening ceremony. The following Monday 49 people partook of a capital tea. Tea parties were an oft recurring feature in those days!” Many people would regularly worship in the “tiny Cathedral” and it is recorded that the Springfield Laundry women and their children in those days were the main congregation.

“The original Church Day School in Selden Lane was converted into two cottages, numbers 4 and 5, the pupils were transferred to the now closed St. George’s School at the west end of Lyndhurst Road. We find in the Magazine of October, 1885, there was an urgent appeal for a building fund to enlarge the Lyndhurst Road Schools to prevent them being taken over by the School Board. This scheme did not mature and they were handed over to the local Education Authority in 1907. The Girls’ School was transferred in 1908 to Sussex Road, and the building ceased to function as a school during the recent world war. (1939-45).”

“The present Verrall Memorial organ, a three-manual, was installed by Messrs. Jardine and Company of Manchester, in 1917. The organ, when installed, was considered to be the best of its kind in the south of England, costing two thousand pounds.” It was overhauled in 1946, and in December, 1947, the old Sturtevant blowing apparatus was replaced by a modern Discus blower.

In 1883, a new Mission Room – the present Foresters’ Hall – was opened. Previous to this, Mission Services were held in a place built for a Penny Theatre. “It was then named a Music Hall, and in 1869 the Rev. W.S. Lewis called attention to ‘the great increase of small tenements in Newland Road’ – in which this Hall was built. During the typhoid epidemic of 1893, the St. George’s Mission Room and Club Room were turned into a hospital and 37 beds were made up, being in use from July to November of that year.” The New Mission Room was in 1911, superseded by Emmanuel Church in Brougham Road.

[page 10]
A SHORT SUMMARY – continued from page 4.

During the Rev. G. Diamond’s ministry, new Clergy seats were provided, rewiring and renovations of the Church, including provision of sound equipment. A practical and acceptable alteration was the conversion of the West Transept into the “Pilgrim’s Chapel”.

In recent years it is interesting to record that both the Rev. John Sheldon and the Rev. T. Hewitt were Mayor’s chaplains. The former acted for Alderman Steele in 1958 and Mr. Hewitt for the then People’s Warden, Alderman Edwards, during 1964. There have been only two previous incumbents who have had this honour, in the years 1893 and 1912.

Under the ministry of the Rev. J. Sheldon, the work at both St. George’s and Emmanuel continued to expand. To many parishioners the highlight of this period was the Parish Mission led by the Rev. Dick Rees in May, 1962. In October of that year the Rev. T. Hewitt was instituted and for three years worked strenuously in a brave struggle against failing health. His sudden Home-Call in September, 1965, deprived the Evangelical cause of an able leader. The present Vicar, the Rev. A.J. Goss holds the Chaplaincy of the Worthing Hospital, a privilege which was granted to his three predecessors. Since his Induction in January, 1966, the Church has been entirely re-roofed and the guttering and down pipes renewed at a cost of £3,872. The interior of the Church is in course of re-decoration in preparation for the Centenary celebrations.

Excavating for the foundations of Emmanuel Mission Church, Brougham Road, 1910-11.

[page 11]
[3 photographs]
The Rev. H. Neal Snelling, A.L.C.D.
The Rev. S.S. Farrow, L.Th.
Interior of the Church

[page 12]
[3 photographs]
The Rev. E.J. Towndrow, M.A.
The Rev. Gordon E. Diamond, A.L.C.D.
The Rev. Thomas Hewitt, B.D., M.Th.

The Parish in more recent years has been well served by able and devoted lady workers of whom the following will be remembered by the older members of the Church. Deaconess Oxborough, Sister Childs, Miss Tinney (during the ministry of Mr. Snelling) and Deaconess Harding who joined the staff during Mr. Sheldon’s incumbency, and is now serving at Southlands Hospital, Shoreham, as Chaplin’s Assistant.

[inside back cover]
[3 photographs]
Miss Doris Hill
Miss Sybil Webb
Miss Winifred Millward

Of those on the Missionary Roll of the Church the following records remind us of the missionary traditions which have been constantly upheld through successive incumbencies. The Sunday School has played its part in this. Of the old pupils, ANNIE MANWARING, a possessor of the Kaiser-I-Hind medal from the King for her service at Quetta (India) first sailed in 1910, and continued until her retirement in 1949. Of EDITH BROWN it is recorded she served with C.M.S. for 14 years in Egypt and Palestine.

Miss EDITH NORTON was accepted as missionary of C.M.S. in the year 1900 serving in Japan successively as Nagasaki, Hakodati and Sapporo, retiring in 1932. DORA JAMES served for a while with C.L.M. in China and DOROTHY SHEPERD, a Sunday School teacher, spent several years in India. CANON JOHN BRITTAIN, a former Curate and Choir Boy went to Uganda in 1907 remaining in Africa until 1929 being made a Canon of All Saints’ Cathedral, Nairobi, in 1926.

Of the present missionaries SYBIL WEBB and DORIS HILL were both products of our Sunday School. Miss Hill on her retirement from Lyndhurst primary School and as leader of the Emmanuel Sunday School is now working with Miss Webb in Eritrea with the Middle East General Mission. Miss Webb has served the Mission since 1948, serving first in Egypt when the Mission was known as the Egypt General Mission until the work closed down in November, 1956. Miss WINIFRED MILLWARD joined the Church with her two sisters in 1966 and first went to Morocco in 1930 serving with the Bible Churchmen’s Mission Society; she is due to retire in 1968.

[back cover]
The Vicar and Assistant Clergy (the Rev. R.S. Brooks and the Rev. A.I. Smyth), Churchwardens (Mr. W. Clinch and Mr. H. Eager) and Sidesmen, The Choir (St. George’s and Emmanuel) and members of the Parochial Church Council (October, 1967)