The Royal Oak Public House, Crawley Down
|Population||4,598 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Crawley Down is a village in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England. There is one church, one school, and a number of social groups. It lies seven miles from Gatwick Airport. Nearest railway stations are Three Bridges and East Grinstead. Crawley Down lies in the northeast corner of West Sussex, just one mile from the border with Surrey.
Until the 17th century, the area now covered by the village was used by iron producers, who sold to the Woodcock hammer in Felbridge. Some small farms were set up in the 1600s, part of a pattern of enclosures in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries. A large manor, The Grange, was built for a London silversmith in the 18th century, and the settlement slowly grew, with a restart of ironworking to supply metal for guns to be used in wars with France. In the 19th century, after iron working had ceased, the local clay was mined for bricks.
In the 19th century, Crawley Down was known as a centre for prizefighting. The illegal sport was attracted by the proximity to London, combined with a secluded location. Large and boisterous crowds were attracted to the matches, and local law enforcement turned a blind eye as the prizefights were a useful source of income for the village.
The railway from Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells passed through the village, and although a land dispute delayed its construction, a station was built for brick transport. The railway connected the village with East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells and London, and spurred rapid growth of the village, with several new estates. All Saints Church was built in 1843, and a Primary School attached to the church.
Until 1967 the village was served by Grange Road railway station on the Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells Central Line which closed as a result of the Beeching Axe in 1967. The old track bed has been revitalised as a linear Country Park called the Worth Way which now offers a haven for wildlife and valued trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.