THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

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

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NONCONFORMIST AND EOMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES.
CHAPTER V.
It was about a century ago that Nonconformity gained a sufficient hold in this town to justify the establishment of a place of worship for the promulgation of doctrines other than those taught in the Established Churches of the land. Since that time there has been a great growth in all phases of religious life, and the history of each place of worship is hereafter briefly outlined.
THE COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON'S CHURCH.
Zion Chapel, the first Nonconformist place of worship erected in East Grinstead, was opened for public service on April 23rd, 1811, when that famous man, the Rev. Rowland Hill, was one of the preachers. The necessary funds had been provided from the Countess of Huntingdon's Trust. The foundation stone was laid on July 2nd of the preceding year by the two sons of Mr. John Burt, of Stone House, Forest Row, in the presence of about 200 persons. A month after the chapel was opened the first Sunday School in the district was started by Mr. Burt, and at the beginning 50 boys and 54 girls put in an appearance, but before a year had passed the scholars numbered close on 400. They came for miles to get the benefits of the education imparted, and the school flourished exceedingly. The children from the Poor House were, after a time, allowed to attend, but the then Vicar of East Grinstead, the Rev. Richard Taylor, stepped in, and by some means prevented this. In the
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