St Nicholas Church, Worth
|Council:||Crawley / Mid Sussex|
|Website:||Worth Parish Council|
Worth is a village in northern Sussex now absorbed into the swollen townscape of Crawley, though the name appertains too to the wider, rural parish to the east which has escaped the town. The rural civil parish includes the villages of Copthorne and Crawley Down, and covers an area of 4,930 acres.
Worth Park House, a large country house, once stood on the Milton Mount housing estate, now part of the Pound Hill district of Crawley. The house was home to Sir Joseph Montefiore and his family. The gardens have recently been restored.
Worth Abbey, a modern Roman Catholic, Benedictine monastery, and Worth School are both located in the parish.
Worth village, the original village, is now reduced to being an area within the wider neighbourhood of Pound Hill in Crawley. An old heart of the village survives but surrounded by relentless modernity.
The village appears in the Domesday Book (under the entries for Surrey) as Orde, which renders the common Old English name Weorþ. The most visible sign of that age, apart from the name of the village, is the parish church, built on a Saxon floor plan.
The Wealden iron industry flourished hereabouts in the 17th and 18th centuries. The coming of the railway in 1855 brought more employment to the area, but the line closed in 1967.
With the creation of Crawley New Town, Worth village became part of it, in the Pound Hill ward; the title of the ward was changed in 2004 to Pound Hill South and Worth. (It is common for local residents to change the signposts at night from reading 'Pound Hill' to 'Worth'.)
Worth village has Anglo-Saxon origins and the parish church, St Nicholas' Church, retains its Saxon floor plan.
Until 2014, the village was also a bishop's residence: the official residence of the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe was at Bishop's Lodge in Worth, in order that the Bishop could be close to Gatwick Airport (just to the north, across the border in Surrey). In 2014 though the Bishop was sent off to Brussels in Belgium, and the diocesan offices to London.
The ecclesiastical parish is part of the Diocese of Chichester, and it maintains the distinction between Worth and the usurper: its formal title is "The Parish of Worth, Maidenbower and Pound Hill".
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about Worth, Sussex)