|> Fairwarp Church|
A century ago Christ
Church, Fairwarp, was much smaller and less imposing than it is today. To the
rest of Maresfield parish it was "the forest church", for it was said to be the
only one to have actually been built on Ashdown Forest.
The interior must have been particularly attractive on harvest festival Sunday in October, 1899, as the parish magazine recorded: "Our beautiful little church was artistically decorated, various flowers, fruits and vegetables, interspersed with the tinted leaves of autumn."
The December issue of the magazine contained an account of the opening of "the new parish room at Fairwarp adjoining the police station" on Friday, November 24.
"It has long been felt that a room of that kind would be a most valuable help to the social and spiritual work of this part of our extensive parish."
So the church's work in Fairwarp prospered, but in 1936 it underwent a transformation, as the Courier reported in June that year: "A new feature of the Ashdown Forest landscape will be the tall tower that forms an important addition to Fairwarp Parish Church. The inclusion of eight bells will be in the memory of Lady Eckstein. Sir Bernard has also had the sanctuary enlarged and a children's chapel added, while work on the nave, as well as the roof, has been further undertaken at his expense".
The church was crowded on Saturday, July 18, 1936 when Sir Bernard's gifts were dedicated by the Bishop of Chichester, Dr. George Bell. A "subsidiary choir" from St. Paul's Cathedral led with the singing of Samuel Sebastian Wesley's anthem Blesed be the God and Father.
And after the service and for the rest of the evening the bells of Fairwarp Church rang out across the listening Forest.