EAST GRINSTEAD is a parish, market town, railway station, and polling place for the Eastern division of the county, giving name to a hundred and union, in Pevensey rape, diocese of Chichester, and archdeaconry of Lewes, 30 miles from London, on the Lewes road. The petty sessions for the division are held every fortnight at the Crown Inn, East Grinstead, and Swan inn, Forest Row, alternately. The Board of Guardians meet at the union house every alternate Thursday, and a county court is held on a Wednesday once in two months. The town is built on an eminence, and is well supplied with gas and an abundance of good water: it consists of one principal street. The town is a borough by prescription, and returned two members to Parliament until the passing of the Reform Bill, when it was disfranchised.
The town is fast improving and increasing in size. There is excellent hotel accommodation, and several good inns in the town. A corn market is held at the Crown Inn every Thursday, and a cattle market on the second Thursday in each month. The cattle fairs are on April 21st and December 11th. The church of St. Swithin was rebuilt at the close of the last century. There is a Free Grammar school, founded and endowed by Robert Payne, Esq., in the year 1708; also National schools, a handsome pile of buildings north-east of the town; the funds were raised by voluntary subscriptions. A new infant school has been added, and is well attended. Sackville College was founded by Robert, Earl of Dorset, in the year 1608, for twenty-one poor men and ten poor women, all of whom are to be unmarried. Here are places of worship for Lady Huntingdon's Connexion and Independents. Earl Gage, Lord Amherst, Earl De La Warr, A. G. Biddulph, A. F. Meyrick, and William Pearless, Esqrs., are lords of the several manors. A Union House was erected in 1859, and can accommodate 260 persons.
The soil in this locality is various, partly light in the vicinity of the town, and clayey in the more remote parts of the parish, contiguous to the forest or common land, which forms a great portion of this parish: great advantages are derived from this latter section by the lower class, who are privileged to feed small stock, and cut turf for fuel. Here are two small breweries, and brick and tile making is carried on. The area is 15,071 acres, and the population in 1861 was, with Forest Row, 4,266.
Fuller description [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]
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