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1922-1960

The first Parish Priest of the new St Mary's Parish was Fr Herbert F Robins who had personally financed the building of the Presbytery in the
Father Robins

Autumn of 1922. He took up residence on 6th December of the same year and on December 10th the new parish was formally inaugurated.

The Sacred Heart and Lady Statues were installed in 1924, the presents et of Stations of the Cross in 1925 and the organ in 1927. Shortly afterwards the choir gallery was erected and a new Sanctuary, Sacristy and Side Chapel were constructed.

Between 1927 and 1930 the porch and choir gallery were enlarged and the Bell Tower in memory of Thomas Numford was put up. A new wing was built in 1935 increasing the seating capacity by another 80 places and finally in 1959 the Lady Chapel was added.

The High Street, Crowborough 1927
One former parishioner - now a priest himself - can recall as a five-year old in 1941 standing on the main road by the Golf Club watching the dark clouds of German bombers coming over Beachy Head and up across the downs (there were, he tells us, no trees and bushes then to obscure the view) and watching the Spifires go up to meet them, before seeing them dropping one of their bombs near the Blue Anchor pub.

One German who had been shot down landed safely by parachute at Springfield Farm in Harlequin Lane and may have been among a group of German PoWs that came to Midnight Mass in the same year where one of them sang Silent Night for the congregation.

The Parish catechist at this time was a Miss Briggs who lived with her elderly mother in the large white house to the left of the church as you face it. (it's still the same colour today!) She was responsible - amongst other things - for teaching the young altar servers their responses for Mass - all in Latin in those days of course!

In 1957 we suffered a vandal attack on the church in which considerable damage was done. Some of the fire extinguishers were discharged and other damage done. Some pews had to be replaced and the ceiling in one point still bears the scars of this attack.

The image used on this screen of Crowborough High Street 1927 has been provided by kind permission of TheWeald.Org and whilst not of our church has been used to give a sense of that period in our history. If you have or know the whereabouts of images of St Mary's during this period we would love to here from you.
 
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