HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
1852 the authorities began to pay off this loan by sums of £100 to £300 a year, the final instalment being paid on Jan. 1st, 1856. The final payments on the original loans were made on Nov. 29th, 1876, being the last of three life annuities held by the Sun Insurance Office.
The Act abolishing compulsory church rates was passed on August 4th, 1868, but they continued to be made in East Grinstead for some seven years after that date, in order to realise the amounts still due on the old loans for the church re-building. To meet the ordinary church expenses a voluntary rate was first tried, but so few people paid, that, at a meeting held on October 10th, 1872, it was decided to take no further steps in this direction, but to provide in future for the necessary annual expenses of the church by voluntary contribu≠tions, a practice which still continues.
The original design of the building has never been completed. The whole of the side buttresses were to have had pinnacles similar to those on the tower, of which St. Peter's Church, Brighton, affords a very good example, but funds fell short, and the present capitals were substituted. There was not even enough money to complete the roof or seat the church, so a flat ceiling of plaster and whitewash was put in and the floor was paved, rushes were strewn and people brought their own chairs. Various plans for pewing the church were prepared from 1796 onward, but it was not until 1806 that it was deter≠mined to act upon any one of them. A few pews were early built by private enterprise, until the Trustees passed a resolution forbidding the practice. Eventually the interior was allotted, as set forth in the Act for rebuilding, to the various estates in the neighbourhood and a uniform plan of pews adopted. These were of deal, 4-ft. 6-in. high. When the Rev. D. Y. Blakiston was presented to the living he at once set about remedying this undesir≠able state of affairs. At a public meeting held on April 11th, 1872, he suggested the formation of a Church Council, but the meeting negatived the proposal by a small majority. A resolution was, however, passed in