History and genealogy

Church History

We are very grateful to local historian, Caroline Metcalfe, for producing an excellent collection of articles about St Swithun’s Church , its history, buildings, contents and some of its more famous people.

This collection is offered for interest to those on Church Watch, to visitors, Church Guides and to the Ministry Team and Parishioners of St. Swithun’s church. They offer something akin to a walk round the church, with some connections to the Gospel reading of the day or the season of the Church’s Year.

The articles first came about as a result of an email to Caroline from Geraldine Durrant, Editor of East Grinstead Online:

‘I found the 1946 history of St Swithun’s online today and it was a treasure trove of interesting stuff…I wondered if you fancied doing a little series on some of the more interesting odds and ends there– graves, memorial stones, windows etc…Nothing too long – a picture and three or four sentences…Artefact of the week…We could run it on a Sunday.’

Caroline asked the Vicar at the time, Clive Everett-Allen, for his permission. His reply, which is so characteristic of Clive, was:

‘Of course you are free to write for East Grinstead OnLine. I would strongly encourage it. Is the retiring Vicar among the artefacts? Possibly a relic?’

There is still so much more to be examined and so much more to learn!

Please let us know if you have more information that you would like to pass on, or you can email Caroline.


Genealogy Researchers – we hope you find the following information useful:

We no longer hold Parish records at this church. The records are now held at the Chichester Diocesan Records Office . You can search these records from the West Sussex County Council website.

As the Diocesan Record Office they hold the official records of the Bishops of Chichester; the Dean and Chapter of Chichester and the property they owned.

The records include the original parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials for all West Sussex parishes and, where they survive, the bishop’s transcripts from parishes in both West and East Sussex up to around 1900.

They also hold wills for the Archdeaconry of Chichester and the peculiar jurisdictions together with copies of wills for the Archdeaconry of Lewes up to 1858 .

Later wills for Chichester District Probate Registry (which covered most of West Sussex) up to 1928 are also held in the Record Office.

The Gravestone Photographic Resource may also be useful to you. This website details photographs of all the gravestones in St. Swithun’s Church along with research tips for the individuals.

A new resource beginning in  2022 will be the digital mapping of all the churchyards in England and Wales which is a joint project sponsored by Historic England, the National Lottery and Caring for God's Acre. This will become available over a period of the next ten years as every churchyard is mapped and the results are put online for all of us to consult.