The origins of the community lie in a scatter of smallholdings and cottages that lay at the southern end of Valebridge Common. By the middle of the 18th century there were seven or eight homesteads in the area we now call Worlds End, as well as a slightly larger farm called Cants, whose old house lies under the ‘front lawn’ of St. Andrew’s Church.

Our early community had no church nearby – we were in Keymer parish and it would have been a long walk to Keymer village on a Sunday. There is some evidence that people from around here used to go over to Wivelsfield Church, which was nearer. One or two of the earliest cottages dated from the medieval period at least.

The rest arrived piecemeal between 1500 and 1750. The last to be built in this pre-railway era was a Poor House for the civil parish of Keymer. Though none of these original buildings remain, the last site now holds the Manor Court sheltered housing complex. It seems that the name Worlds End arrived with the railway. It reflects either the workers’ sense of remoteness while billeted in a local farm (in the Noel Rise area), or it celebrates the end of their labours. For it was here that the down line met the up line. The Scout Hut embankment is built with chalk taken from Clayton Tunnel. Lying under that embankment, lies our original railway booking hall, out of sight and overlooked by many railway historians, dating from 1888 when the first local station was opened.

The Lord of Keymer Manor was the first to help develop a sense of community when he built the working men’s reading room and mission hall (now shared by K9 Clips and the off licence Wine Stand), while land for a recreation ground was later provided. The desired site for a central church was never fulfilled and St. Andrews was eventually opened in 1904.

Today, in spite of all the recent developments, Worlds End still enjoys a village atmosphere. Centred as it is on the Watermill public house, Worlds End is well provided with local amenities. It has about 15 shops ranging from a baker to a post office, a veterinary surgery, a large primary school, a garage and service station. The local recreation ground (recently reverting to its original name of Worlds End) is close by. The Parish Church of St. Andrew is but a short walk to the south. The area is well served by public transport with a number of bus routes passing through and the railway station, which to confuse matters is named Wivelsfield which is a village some two miles away, is well used by the travelling public.

Acknowledgements

  • to Heather Warne who contributed the historical data from work based on the manorial records and other sources
  • to Mike Mundy for the images.
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