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1920: Entertaining lecture on 800 years of Cuckfield Church History

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 07 May 1920


On Saturday the members of the Brighton and Hove Archaeological Club met in the Parish Church and they had an extremely interesting paper read to them by Mr. H. Linford Beale, Sussex journalist, living at Burgess Hill.

Postcard of Cuckfield Church circa 1920

In the course of it, he said Cuckfield had had an existence of over 800 years, and was known to have possessed a church - probably a wooden one—in 1092-3.

The place name had not altered much, though its spelling had varied. He had got together 29 different renderings, beginning with Kukefieid 1092. Three out the 29 renderings commenced with ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’. There was no other Cuckfield in England.. A dialectical pronunciation to-day rendered Cuckfieid as “Cuckful.“

The building of the first stone church was believed to be due to the efforts of Richard de la Wych (St. Richard), Bishop of Chichester from 1245 to 1253. In former days a cross was the crowning ornament of the spire, and in 1818 it gave place to the present weathercock, which represented the crest of a former resident named Chetton.

Around the church rested the names of many worthies, among the number being the 2nd Earl of Munster, the 2nd Baron Erskine who was minister at Washington and Munich, and Henry Kingsley, the novelist, who lived in Cuckfield in 1876. He was brother to Charles Kingsley.

The list of the Vicars was a long one, extending to 51 names.

At the close, Mr. Beale took the visitors around the churchyard and was warmly thanked for his paper.



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