Church History

This is a brief a summary looking into the life of Lindfield United Reformed Church and the Church’s history. Various sources have been key in finding out information.

The book ‘Annals of the Congregational Church at Lindfield’ by N. Caplan has been very helpful with lots of interesting facts from the founding of the church in 1814. Much of the details in early 1900’s come from old Church Meeting minutes. Some additional information, particularly early 80 & 90’s, has come from some Church members themselves. Not every Minister is listed.


Occasional Services held at Lindfield



More frequent services held in Black Hill cottages, latterly a room was hired in ‘Bent Arms’ pub



Erection of first chapel in Lindfield, opened in this year




Four members founded the Lindfield Congregational Church




21st September,
Foundation Stone of main church building, which stands today, was laid


Front of church building was altered, going from two to one main door



Church purchased the house next door – ‘Ryecroft’ as a manse




School Room opened, the original small additional room built onto the back of the main church, roughly equivalent to the size of the present Lounge area.
(this picture taken much later in School Room)



At Annual Church Meeting on 21st January, it was recorded that the Ministers stipend (salary) was £20. Income from the offertory was £11-6-4




Proposal at church members meeting on 11th April, by Mr Jones (Secretary) that monthly church meetings be held on the last Thursday of each month. They are still held on a Thursday, but now the second in the month!


7th September, it was agreed to subdue lighting in the church during Evening Services, to comply with Military & Police Authorities requirements during the Zeppelin raids during the War




‘The Lindfield Bishops’
At this time in the churches life, the Manse was being let out and the cost of upkeep on church buildings meant that the small number of active members could not support a full-time ministers stipend. The student-pastors came down from Hackney College at the weekends, and their tremendous effort enabled the church to continue through a difficult phase.
Their names were: Frank Short, Henry Guntrip, Albert Copeland &Frank Bowden.




At the meeting on 2nd April, Miss Simmons proposed that Mr Wood (Organist) be asked to accept a salary for this work of £20 per annum



26th May – Motion 2. Thanks were recorded to go to Miss Simmons and Mrs Robbins in donating the sum of £150 for the installation of electric light in Ryecroft.




Formation of a group church with Ardingly and Horsted Keynes




Rev Albert Trinder was called to be minister of the Lindfield Group



Mr Wood proposed (seconded by Miss Pierce) to have electric light installed by Southern Electricity Board in Church and School Room




Ryecroft still had a tenant, church purchased a new manse in Compton Road




Church finally sold ‘Ryecroft’ for £5,750, It had not been used as a manse to the church for over 50 years!



A thanksgiving service was held to thank God for the opening of the extension to the building. A large hall and kitchen had been built behind the School Room, with an adjoining passageway.



Rev Trinder retires from full-time ministry, after nearly 20 years at Lindfield.




Induction Service for the new minister, Rev Richard Tucker from Bexley Heath



United Reformed Church is formed as a denomination. Lindfield Congregational Church became Lindfield URC – as the Presbyterian and Congregational denominations joined together.



May. The church performs a Christian musical called ‘Spirit’ in The King Edward Hall, Lindfield. Written for the Salvation Army, it portrays the first nine chapters of the book of Acts.




The three churches in Lindfield worked together to arrange a ‘mission’ on the Common – called Lighthouse. Lives were changed during that week and many young people gave their lives to following Christ at that time.




Spring. Inspired by the popularity of ‘Spirit’ – Lindfield URC puts on another musical in King Edward Hall for two nights. This time a story showing how Peter might have felt in the early days of Christ’s ministry. Such was the success, that the show played Clair Hall for a further two nights later on that year.



Rev Richard Tucker ends his time at Lindfield, and moves to Sevenoaks



Thirty years after we sold Ryecroft, the church took the wonderful opportunity to purchase the original manse again! With thoughts of a new minister coming and possible expansion of church premises in the future.




Rev Norman Smith moved to Lindfield to take up the pastorate of the church, from Tonbridge.
(photo shown of Norman more recently!)



The church organises their first ‘conference’ over a weekend at Ashburnham Place, near Battle. Seen as a way of drawing the fellowship closer together – these conferences involved Bible teaching as well as practical advice and having fun together. They were popular and the idea was repeated for a number of years.



January. The church made a leap of faith, as we believed it right to improve the churches facilities. Larger sanctuary, an entirely new suite of rooms and vastly better kitchen. The dramatic change to the building would cost over £400,000. Little did we know at the time, that it would all have been paid for in just two years, thanks to the the Spirit prompting many to give or lend generously.



October. A week-long Children’s holiday club was organised and run by members of Lindfield URC on our premises. The success of this venture, meant it was to become an annual event.




April. The church launched a new identity across all stationery. The old drawing which previously adorned letterheads was out of date since the extension had been completed.


June. We start an ‘experimental’ period of having two morning services on a Sunday – 9.30 and 11am. One specifically aimed at a younger, more family based, worshipper – informal and led by a Worship Group. The latter a traditional service, with formal structure and just Organist or Piano accompaniment.




Easter-time. We welcomed Mike Lee, appointed as the church Youth & Children’s Pastor, working full-time on all matters of our Youthwork. This was the result of many months of advertising and searching for someone to lead and develop the many groups within the church working with young people.


December. With the new millennium nearly upon us, the church wanted to say something about its history and future to mark the occasion. Two members of the church took the ‘Good News 2000’ on as a project, and created a leaflet that explained what the church believes and where we hope to be going in the future. Over 1,000 were distributed far and wide during Year 2000.

June. As part of our celebration of the two thousand years since Christ came to Earth – we held what was called ‘Church Week’. Many events were held on the premises on different days/evenings including a Mens Meal with after-dinner speaker and a concert by London Emmanual Choir in the Church.  

January. Church launched details of a planned ‘Away Weekend’ to be called “UNITE 2001”. It has been a long time since the Ashburnham conferences, and it was felt that we needed to draw together as a family, especially before Rev Norman Smith retires in December 2001.
  March. Mike Lee leaves his position as Youth & Children’s Pastor after two years of ministry at Lindfield.  
December. Revd Norman Smith retires, and leaves Lindfield URC for Church Stretton, in part time ministry there.  

Revd Colin Bones is inducted as the new minister – shared between Lindfield and Balcombe URCs. Colin joins us from Canford Heath URC in Poole. Colin Bones 2003

Alive 05 – a three churches, week of events – held on the common, takes place on the Village Common, in a large maquee. Alive 05

May. Colin Bones, called to Nottingham, where he took up a new role.  

November : Revd Charles Martin is called as the new Minister for Balcombe and Lindfield.  

April 19th : Revd Charles Martin is inducted as our new Minister  

July : Revd Charles Martin Retires  

March : Rev Keith Morrsion is inducted as our new Minister Rev Keith Morrison