Window into church past is revealed

Jane O'Sullivan with some of the discovered material. DM11145166a.
Jane O'Sullivan with some of the discovered material. DM11145166a.

SERENDIPITY has opened a fascinating window on the rich history of a Horsham church.

During a sort-out at Trinity Church, a treasure trove of archive material has come to light, offering a glimpse into the church’s past and its origins.

Church member Jane O’Sullivan is now working on ways to capitalise on the lucky find.

“It contains a wealth of material, including the original plans for the church and the permission of the Bishop for the previous tin church to be built in Percy Road in 1879.

“I have set up a group of people to sift through the information and we are hoping to get much of it identified before filing it at the County Archives in Chichester. We are in liaison with one of their staff.

“Our Church fete is on Sunday, May 15, and we shall have a display of some of the material and invite the local community to come in and share their memories of the church and indeed the whole area of The Common. Ideally, these will be written up and put into a booklet.

“One item we have is a large photo of the choir in 1911, which lists the names of the choir members. I am hoping to trace where each member lived, using 1911 census records. Other images include one of the old tin church which was in Percy Road from 1879 to 1899. This was replaced by the existing church in Rushams Road.

“There is also a lovely one of the builders sitting on the scaffolding when the existing church was being built. It would be great to trace some of the builders’ descendants and to find out whether they lived locally.”

Following the theme, Jane is also keen to trace information behind the names on the church’s war memorials.

“We found two large boxes of archive materials when we cleared out the church office for refurbishment. We had filled a skip with rubbish, but luckily we realised that there was valuable information in the boxes.

“Having brought them home, I went through the contents and put them into separate topic files eg people, social, drama group, church building work. We then decided to set up a small group to mastermind the identification and collection of data.

“Several church members have volunteered to help us. Our main aim is to identify as much of the material as possible and then safely deposit it at the County Archives in Chichester.

“This includes the original plans for the church by Giles Gilbee Scott, a receipt for the purchase of the bell, and original drawings for the two war memorials. There were also Parish Magazines from the early 1900s.

“In addition, we would like to compile memories of those who lived in the local area, and perhaps put them together in some sort of booklet. The Common was an important local area in its own right, so it would be good to find out more about how the local community lived.”

Anyone wanting to get in touch should email the church office at

“The main opportunity to share information, will be at our fete on Sunday, May 15 from 12.30 to 4.30pm.

“We hope to display some of the materials we have found and to have a team of people to record memories that are shared with us.”