Our History

Our Church dates back over 100 years. This is a summary of some of the key events

Beginnings

1885 - St Andrew's Church was first thought of back when the scattered growth of Burgess Hill meant that certain areas of the town were for the first time outside the influence of St John's Church. The first steps to remedy this were taken that year when a mission room was built in Fairfield Road (St Alban's Hall), and mission services were held in a cottage at World's End.

1887 - A mission room was built at World's End at the expense of Somers Clarke, Lord of the Manor of Keymer, and mission services and a Sunday School were held. The Mission House, later to become St Andrew's reading room and the home of St Andrew's working men's club provided accommodation for services for over a decade before formal moves were made towards establishing a permanent Church.

1890's - Sampson Copestake, a builder and brick manufacturer had built a number of mansions in Burgess Hill, and a school at the Ditchling Common end of Folders Lane. He wished to build a church as well, and originally proposed a building near Ditchling Common, but the vicar of Ditchling opposed the idea, as the church would have been within his parish. Instead, Copestake turned his attention to Cants Lane, where his other schoolroom was located.

The success of the World's End Mission Room convinced the St John's clergy of the need for additional place of worship in the town. Copestake provided the site for a new church, a substantial endowment, a clergy house and land to provide future income.

1898 - The first services in St Andrew's district were held in the Cants Lane schoolroom on 12th June with Copestake providing the organ and Communion plate.

1899 - The new curate of St John's, with special responsibility for St Andrew's was W. R. Tindal-Atkinson. Immediately thought was given to a more adequate building, and a corrugated iron building was purchased second-hand from Bromley-by-Bow in East London.

1900 - it was enlarged with the addition of a basement and a sanctuary. This building was known as the 'tin oven' as it was so hot in the summer. The building acted as a church until 1908, and as the church hall until destroyed by fire in 1959.

The Present Building

1902 - St Andrew's was formally created as a Conventional District with William Tindal-Atkinson as Priest-in-charge. It could not be created as a parish until the permanent church was built.

1903 - The appeal for funds was launched and building started late in 1903 by Norman and Burt of Burgess Hill. Unfortunately the original plans were too ambitious and costly, so building started on the nave, and the tower and chancel were to be added at a later date. The tower was never built, and the present chancel was built to a new design in 1924. The contract for the church was signed in stages.

1908 - The building was completed with electric lighting installed in November, and the service of consecration conducted by the Bishop of Chichester took place on 30th November, St Andrew's day.

1918 - Gerald Tindal-Atkinson appointed as vicar in succession to his father.

1924 - East End sanctuary completed in October, and consecrated in November. The wood panelling was added in 1932.

1936 - A Town conference was held to consider 'the challenge of Christianity', organised jointly with other Churches in the town.

1947 - Gerald Tindal-Atkinson retired after a near 50 year association with the Church.

1953 - Youth club started by the Youth Committee, and a Boys Brigade company was formed a year later.

1959 - The parish room was destroyed by fire (this was the 'tin oven' that had been used as a Church until 1908.

1961 - Plans were announced for a new hall, costing £6000. Work was completed in 1962. Following this, a new organ was purchased and the church roof was retiled. The new hall was used for a youth club which attracted 65 members at its inaugural meeting!

1965 - Parish boundaries were altered and enlarged, taking in parts of the parishes of St John's and Wivelsfield.

1966 & 67 - House groups were started and Scout & Guide groups formed.

1974 - The old chairs were removed and replaced by oak pews.

1978 - The PCC gave approval to the building of the Youth Centre. Costs were initially estimated at £40,000. An appeal was launched in 1979 and in June 1980 authorisation was given to commence work on phase 1.

1981 - Work on the Youth Centre was completed in June, and the remaining electrical work by October. The Archdeacon of Horsham dedicated the new Youth Centre in November. Final costs - £60,000.

1993 - Reverend Ian Prior appointed as vicar, in succession to Canon Alan Spray.

2001 - We entered the internet age when our website went live in October.

2001 to 2003 - Plans unveiled for the upgrading of the Rider Hall and St Andrew's Trust established. St Andrew's web site launched. Rider Hall toilets and kitchen refurbished and a new lounge area created. A series of successful Alpha courses are performed.

2008 - We celebrated our centenary with a the visit to our Church by The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

September 2010 - Rev Sophie Jelley became the latest vicar of St Andrew’s

September 2011 - St Andrew’s appointed its first full time Youth Pastor, Danny Rodgers

January 2012 - The Church council began to reconsider plans to develop the building and surrounding site for the purpose of mission and ministry in the C21st.

If you have been involved with our Church in the past and know of any other events that have not been added here, please let as know as we would love to fill in any gaps.