St. George's has stood as the parish church for West Grinstead for nigh on a thousand years. Despite many historic changes, the faith of the gospels and the loving purposes of God have been proclaimed here through bad times and through good. Today St. George's serves a committed congregation drawn from within and beyond the parish of West Grinstead. Mission and outreach are central to its spiritual life. Visitors and new residents alike will be warmly welcomed into our caring community. Worship is according to the Book of Common Prayer and we are glad to provide a traditional form of service for those who seek it. The church has a long musical tradition dating back to the 18th century and it is well known for its bell-ringing.
The church stands on the north bank of the River Adur which has channelled worshippers and pilgrims here through the centuries. The traditions of St. George's are rooted in agriculture, Wealden forestry, and the iron industry. Wealdsmen and women, their families, farmers, traders, Knights Templar, parliamentarians, royalists, Victorian navigators, craftsmen and literary folk have all offered their prayers here. Here we may picture Farmer Ledlow, late at plough, stooped in the ancient oak benches making his humble confession to almighty God. The exterior of this fine church, with its low Horsham slab roof and shingled spire, is redolent with peace and tranquility. Inside you will find a beauty and prayer worn history as rich as any in the district. For a small church St. George's contains an exceptional array of memorials including ones by Flaxman and Rysbrach. There are two fine mediaeval brasses to the Halsham family, Victorian windows by Kempe, an eighteenth century chamber organ by G.P. England and what is believed to be the oldest surviving organ by Forster and Andrews. Students of architectural history will find the interior layout of the church something of a puzzle, with its internal tower buttresses and corbels, the font standing beside the south door, right away away from the main entrance, and the remarkable opening panel in the ceiling over the altar. This seems related to the elevation of the Pyx, going back to penal times when, despite the great risk, local Roman Catholic recusant families continued to use St. George's for their masses.
The six bells at St George’s Church were originally made by Mears & Stainbank of the renowned Whitechapel Foundry in London. They were re-cast and re-hung in 1910 by Gillett & Johnstone of Croydon using the same original bells. Tuned in the key of G Sharp, the bells are very bright and tuneful, the lightest being about 2cwt. and the heaviest 8cwt. and having long ropes they are reputed to be ‘difficult to ring‘! Apart from routine maintenance they are still the original bells which says much for the founders’ skill and are rung every week for services and for special occasions.
St. George's church serves the whole parish of West Grinstead which includes Dial Post, Littleworth and Partridge Green. In the 1890s a fine daughter church was opened in Partridge Green village to cater for the growing population, stimulated by the arrival of the railway. This church is dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels.
More information is available on our Parish Website at http://westgrinstead.org