The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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70                      HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
a new open roof, remove the panelling and clean the beauti­ful stonework of the whitewashed plaster which hid it from view. This led to almost interminable disputes. An indig­nation meeting was held, law-suits were threatened and the re-appointment of Mr. John Tooth as parish church­warden, he having by this time succeeded Mr. H. Taylor, was opposed. At the Easter Vestry Mr. C. R. Duplex was elected people's warden, and Mr. Tooth thereupon demanded a poll. This was the only contested election of a parish churchwarden that, so far as can be ascertained, has ever occurred here; certainly there has been no other during the past century. The voting took place amid intense excitement on April 2nd, 1875, and the result was: J. Tooth, 247; C. R. Duplex, 180. The victor was after­wards drawn through the streets in a carriage, and the Volunteer Band turned out and played "See the Conquer­ing Hero comes." Meanwhile the committee had gone on with its work unmoved. The present roof was put on and the walls pointed as now, for a sum of £858. By this time "dry rot" had manifested itself in the floor and another £200 was expended on curing this. The work of restoration occupied no less than 12 years, and of the 10 members on the committee at the beginning, only four —the Vicar, Messrs. C. Absalom, W. V. K. Stenning and J. Tooth—remained in office the whole time. Messrs. E. L. Hannam and E. A. Head were among those elected to fill vacancies and they served until the work was com­pleted. Others who acted on the committee for a time were the Rev. T. D. Hopkins, the Rev. C. W. Payne Crawfurd, Mr. A. Hastie, Mr. W. A. Head and Mr. C. Sawyer. The whole £2,500 was raised by voluntary contributions. Of the 1,013 seats about 400 are unappro­priated. The present iron fencing which borders the churchyard and paths bears peculiar evidence of an act of fanaticism. All the main supports were formerly surmounted by an ornament which bore resemblance to a cross. People awoke one morning to find that the whole of these, with one solitary exception, and over one hundred in number, had been knocked off during the night, and the fence, so mutilated, remains to-day.
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