St Mary's Church
|Area||32.19 km2 (12.43 sq mi) |
|o Density||256/km2 (660/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|o London||36 miles (58 km) NNE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|Website||Billingshurst Parish Council|
Billingshurst is a village and civil parish in the Horsham District of West Sussex, England. The village lies on the A29 road (the Roman Stane Street) at its crossroads with the A272, 6 miles (10 km) south-west of Horsham and 5.5 miles (9 km) north-east of Pulborough.
The village's name derives from Anglo-Saxon and means 'a wooded hill of Billa's people', most likely referring to the sandstone hillock that St Mary's Church is sited on in the historical centre of the village. 'Bill' is the head of a family, 'ing' means of the people, and 'hurst' means wooded hill. It is most likely that it was a small family settlement, not yet being a large community or a parish, headed by one 'Billa' - someone of unestablished origin, and not by a populous Saxon tribe.
The village has a secondary school and a sixth form college, known together as The Weald School. Billingshurst Primary School (formerly separate infant and junior schools, amalgamated in 2010) is situated near to The Weald.
New housing development on the eastern side of the village will include a spine road linking the A29 road north of the village with the A272 road to the east. 550 new homes will be built along with a school, dentists' surgery, play areas and improvements to the railway station.
The village is to the east of a remaining section of the Wey and Arun Canal; the canal has not been fully navigable since the 1890s.
Billingshurst has four churches. St Mary's Church (Church of England) is the oldest, with a mix of service styles, ranging from Book of Common Prayer communion services to informal family worship. Other churches are St Gabriel's Church (Catholic), Billingshurst Family Church (Evangelical; part of the Commission family of churches) and Trinity Church (United Reformed). Billingshurst Unitarian Chapel, set back behind the High Street, was founded in 1754 and is one of south-east England's oldest Nonconformist places of worship.