THE CHURCH was built in 1842 at the sole expense of Mr Charles Warde, of Squerryes Court in Westerham – see the memorial behind the lectern. Initially Crockham Hill fell within the ecclesiastical parish of St Mary the Virgin, Westerham, and was served by a curate. However, within three years of the church’s consecration - in 1845 - Crockham Hill became a separate parish with its own Vicar (the Revd J W Clarke), although the village remains part of Westerham civil parish today, and the Patron is still a member of the Warde family. In 1981 Holy Trinity was linked with the neighbouring parish of Edenbridge, and overseen by a Priest-in-Charge (the Vicar of St Peter & St Paul, Edenbridge) with an Associate Vicar taking the place of the former incumbent, usually resident at The Vicarage in Oakdale Lane. In August 2013 this link was brought to an end and Holy Trinity is once again a separate parish with its own Vicar, who was instituted in March 2014.
Construction of the church was entirely of local stone quarried from Limpsfield, Chiddingstone and Crockham Hill itself, and the work undertaken by a Mr Thomas Horseman and his son who lived at Masons’ Cottages – now 2, Church Gates (at the entrance to the lane leading to the church) where all the stone was cut. The original Vicarage, now Summer Hill, was built soon after the church, and steps on the north side of the churchyard indicate a direct route to and from the house.
The clock was installed in the tower in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign, and the workings electrified in 2011.
The carved oak screen and pulpit were given as a memorial to men of the village who served in the First World War, and the marble floor of the chancel was constructed at the same time - the gift of Mr C I de Rougemont. The Roll of Honour lists eighteen men of the village who fell in 1914-1918, and eleven in 1939-1945.
The vestry which stands on the north side of the nave opposite the main door, was built in 1974 and dedicated by the Right Revd Keith Russell, Assistant Bishop of Rochester, on 13th October of that year.
Churchwarden Mr William Cox served in that post for 48 years - from 1891 to 1939 - and also made a set of wrought-iron gates that were originally fitted to the entrance porch. These have subsequently been replaced by the modern beautifully etched glass doors.
The windows include examples of modern stained glass. On the north side of the nave, one in memory of Mrs Lilian Bosanquet (formerly Colquhoun) contains an inset of Chartwell, her family home and later that of Sir Winston Churchill. Mrs Bosanquet’s husband, Captain H T A Bosanquet, is commemorated by a window on the north side of the chancel. On the south side of the chancel St Mark has unfortunately been given six toes on his left foot. The St Francis window (northwest corner of the nave) was given in 1970 by the family of Mr S D Gladstone, a former churchwarden. Opposite this, to the right of the main door, the Octavia Hill memorial window was a gift of the Orpington and Chislehurst National Trust Centre in 1995 to mark the Trust’s centenary, and is dedicated to one of its three co-founders. Designed by Alfred Fisher of the Chapel Studio in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, it represents the dark side of inner city life which Octavia worked to eradicate, and the brighter prospect of the countryside which she bequeathed to future generations via the National Trust. A portrait of Octavia Hill, and the oak leaf symbol of the Trust, and installed are both evident in the window's design.
Octavia Hill was a great Christian housing reformer and co-founder of the National Trust who, in 1884, came to live at Larksfield, a cottage she and Harriot Yorke built on the edge of Crockham Hill Common. With a passion for the countryside, she argued eloquently for the preservation of open spaces, fought to keep footpaths open, and personally saved many vantage points along the Greensand Ridge where others could experience what she called ‘the healing gift of space’. When she died in 1912 Octavia Hill was buried alongside her sister Miranda under a yew tree near the top of the steps to the south of this church, and is commemorated with a marble effigy in the chancel to the left of the altar. This was partly executed by an American sculptress named Miss Abbott, who lived at nearby Jacob’s Ladder, but was completed by Edmund Burton, and installed in December 1928.
A list of incumbents of Crockham Hill is recorded on a board by the main door, given by his family in memory of a former Vicar, the Revd J N E Tredennick (1952-1968). Among the names is that of the Revd J E Colquhoun who lived at Chartwell. Having served as Vicar for five years (1865-1870), he subsequently became churchwarden for some 45 years until shortly before his death in 1918. He was largely responsible for the establishment of the village school in its present premises. More recently an incumbent was the Revd O Fielding Clark (1941-1951) who achieved national fame (or notoriety) through his open sympathy with Communism. His autobiography, The Unfinished Conflict, includes his period in Crockham Hill, and is one of the books held in the parish library at the back of the church.
The Churchyard, which commands a splendid view over the Eden Valley (part of The Weald of Kent), was extended by half an acre in 1907 through the gift of Colonel Charles Warde. An entrance to the east of the church steps was created at that time to facilitate the passage of coffins at funerals. A further parcel of land to the east was given in 1991 by Mr and Mrs Peter Pilch, of Froghole Farm, who also dedicated the picnic area south of the churchyard to the memory of their son, Andrew.
The Lydia Press Memorial seat was designed by Oliver Barratt and dedicated in 2012. It is sited on the eastern edge of the churcgyard. Its curves reflect the beautiful lines of our sandstone fields.
The Church steps were entirely rebuilt in 1992, thanks to the generosity of parishioners and a grant from Sevenoaks District Council, and were redesigned to help those with walking difficulties.
Crockham Hill Church of England Primary School was built below the church in 1867, although the earliest records go back to 1864 when education was carried out in the house now known as Willys at Heath. On what was originally the outside wall of the present school building, the following inscription is cut in stone: ‘These schools were built for the teaching of the children of this Parish in useful knowledge and in the Christian Religion according to the Faith of the Church of England – at a cost of £1,252 collected by the Revd J Campbell Colquhoun, Vicar of Crockham.’ The school was enlarged and modernised after the First World War, and again in 1922 when a new classroom and cloakroom were added. In recent years the school buildings, facilities and grounds have grown considerably, but the original building and its ethos remain at its core. Click here to view the most recent - and very favourable - assessment of the school by a Diocesan inspector.