After serving for nearly 500 years as various schools, The Old School, as it is now known, was acquired by Holy Trinity in 1992 and since then has been operated by the Church as a parish and community centre.
Cuckfield Free Grammar School was established by Edmund Fleur, a Merchant Taylor and citizen of London, in about 1512. By his will of 1521 he left lands for the support of the school, which were augmented in 1528 by the Rector of Balcombe. Although initially established for the benefit of needy children of the two parishes, fee paying pupils gradually came to predominate as the income became insufficient to maintain the schoolmaster.
In 1844 the school became a National School and gradually evolved from that into the church aided primary school that occupied the buildings before the building of a new school in Glebe Road.
Some parts of the Old School probably date back to the time of the foundation of the grammar school, although the buildings have been much modified on several occasions. It is thought that the basic form of the Tudor / Jacobean block was established in about 1634 by Thomas Vicars, the incumbent at the time, with financial support from a local patron. This block was extended by one bay in about 1870, at the same time that the Victorian Hall was built to cope with the increasing number of children requiring primary education.
Holy Trinity Church acquired the buildings in 1992 to provide a church and community centre and a base from which to reach out into the community. An extensive programme of upgrading and redevelopment followed enabling the Old School to become a meeting place for both the local community and Church, where we are continually developing a growing range of teaching, social and pastoral care activities.
The refurbishment and restoration work revealed many previously unknown Tudor, perhaps even older, features which have now been carefully preserved for posterity. All this was made possible by the enormous local support for the refurbishment project, in the giving of time and talents as well as financial help.
The Old School was acquired with financial assistance from the Kleinwort Charitable Trust. Building improvements were funded by Church resources from the sale of property and some existing funds and legacies, supported by fund-raising events, a grant from Mid Sussex District Council and direct giving by both Church and community.
The Old School has its own website for further information and bookings, at www.oldschoolcuckfield.co.uk, and you can email the manager, Peter Groves, at email@example.com.