Highbrook, as its name reflects, is a hamlet on a ridge (350’ high) running north/south between two streams which run into the river Ouse. It has an ancient history. One house can trace its origins to the Domesday Book. For much of the Middle Ages, it had “halls” or dwelling houses. Highbrook was originally called Hammingden, meaning swine pasture. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Stephenson-Clarke family came to live in Brookhouse. Two sisters, Mrs Kirby and Miss Weguelin also came to Highbrook at about the same time.
The building of the Church began in 1884. It was opened by the Bishop of Chichester in 1885 and dedicated to “All Saints”. The Clarke family gave the land and the sisters financed the building.The Church can seat up to 200 and is in a good state of repair, save that we need repairs to porch and rainwater goods and some further lower priority high-level work recommended in our last Quinquennial inspection.
The Hamlet and Community
Highbrook is a hamlet consisting of c150 inhabitants. It is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with views south to the South Downs, east to the Bluebell Railway in the valley below and towards Ashdown Forest, west to Ardingly and north to West Hoathly. There is no shop nor pub.
Highbrook has a village hall. In 1875 it was built as a school by Mr and Mrs Kirby. It has been the village hall since the early twentieth century. Between 1999 and 2002 it was completely refurbished.
Highbrook is a thriving community. There are several young families, a few recent/imminent arrivals as well as those who have lived here for several decades. It has a remarkable community spirit. The church works closely with the Village Hall Committee to outreach to the community to promote events for fund-raising, fellowship and fun. A remarkable 60/70 % of the community become involved in the Christmas Market and Tree Festival held in the Church and Village Hall in early December.There is warmth and support for the Church as a strong central focus for our tight-knit community. In the poignant words of John Moore in the Brensham Trilogy, Highbrook “hangs together”.