A couple of miles west of St. Leonards-on-Sea, on a back road between St. Leonards and Battle, you will find the isolated village of Crowhurst. It has a parish council and is located within the Rother District Council.
The earliest mention of the settlement is in 771, when King Offa of Mercia gave the Bishop of Selsey a piece of land here; a church was then built by the Bishop. Crowhurst (then called Croghyrst) itself remained the king’s land until 1412, although various landowners were given possession of it over that time.
The parish church is dedicated to St George. The ruins of the manor house, built by Walter de Scotney in the 12th century, lie to the south of it.
Although small, the village does have a railway station. It was built in 1902 as a junction station for a branch line to Bexhill. The line crossed nearby marshes on a 17-arch viaduct; the line was closed under the so-called “Beeching cuts” in 1964, and the viaduct was demolished in 1969. The village has a primary school. The village post office closed in March 2008: until then it served as a convenience store also.
There is a pub, The Plough; until 1998 there was a second pub, The Inn at Crowhurst.
Crowhurst has many attractive rural views. On the hills on the left we can see St Leonards-on-Sea, but what is that boat doing in the field?
Crowhurst is the home of musician Oliver Frost, guitarist in the alternative band Mumm-Ra. It was at the Crowhurst village hall that the band put on the now legendary industry showcase in August 2005 that saw them gain a major label deal with Columbia Records.
Few reports can be found for the earliest period of the Crowhurst Cricket Club, but one of interest is the earliest known fixture between the villagers of Crowhurst and Crowhurst Park, which was played on 28 May 1895 in the park grounds. A return match was held the following week on 4 June 1895. The then ‘lord of the manor’, Philip Oxenden Papillon enjoyed sport and the early Park team was built around his family with his four sons representing the side.
It was one of Philip Oxenden Papillon’s predecessors who formed Crowhurst Park Cricket Club in 1836 and early fixtures were played within the ‘Park’ gardens, near to the bowling green before moving to its present location.
Early home matches for the villagers were played at High House in a field loaned to them by the owners. The field is now a vine yard. Fixtures continued to be played there up until the outbreak of World War One, except for the interruption of the Boer War.
A report in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer states that Crowhurst played at home to a Battle team all with the surname of Parks on 31 August 1912. A majority of the Crowhurst team continued to play for the side after World War One and a return match was held on 13 August 1921. This time the ‘Parks’ team comprised of 8 brothers and 3 sons. Following the match both teams retired to the Plough Public House for a ‘smoking concert and drinks’.