The Rectory to Holy Cross Church which has been the home of Uckfield clergymen since 1883 has been sold. The new rector, Canon Martin Onions, is living in a new rectory in Ridgewood.
The Former Rectory, in Belmont Road, forms the major portion of an imposing Victorian house and was marketed by estate agents Dixon Vince with an asking price of £600,000.
Father Onions said that in its heyday the rectory was a very beautiful building and maintained by somebody with the finances and resources to manage it. Before 1930 the whole of it was the rectory but then it was sub-divided and part sold off.
Fr Onions, who was inducted as Holy Cross rector last week, said: “The decision was taken by the diocese with the approval of the PCC here to sell off the building because it was so expensive to run. It was impossible, on a clergy stipend, to heat a place like that and look after it.
“Lovely as it is, it was decided to do something rather more practical and make better use of the church’s resources.”
Fr Onions is a keen motor-cyclist but is using a push bike to get from his new Ridgewood home, at Sand Ridge, to the church, church office and church hall which are close to the former rectory.
An advantage of living in Ridgewood is that it is closer to the parishes of Little Horsted and Isfield which he also looks after.
Fr Onions who is married with four children said he and his wife have been exploring the area, walking the streets and enjoying finding places such as the Millennium Green, Victoria Pleasure Ground, Boothland Wood, West Park Nature Reserve and Lake Wood.
He said: “Everywhere looks very well cared for. Presumably that is down to the town council who do a very good job of managing their resources.”
Julian Vince, director at Dixon Vince said: “We were very pleased to handle the sale of this beautiful property for the diocese. It is not often that a building of this quality comes on to the market and it attracted a great deal of interest both from local people and from further afield.
He added: “It will be good to see the property being occupied once again.”
Brooker’s Guide and Directory for Uckfield and District published in 1888 says about the rectory: “From the time when the living of Uckfield was separated from Buxted, in 1846, till 1883 no suitable residence had been provided for the minister of the parish church.
“The result of an earnest endeavour to supply this need was the erection of the Rectory, a red brick building to the south of Belmont, approached by a short carriage drive.
“It is pleasantly situated and was erected from plans by Ewan Christian, Esq, at a total cost (including site and conveyance) of £3,578, which sum was raised by voluntary contributions, with the exception of a loan of £1,000 secured on the income of the benefice.
“It has a large room used for meetings in connection with church work. The interior of the Rectory is admirably arranged for comfort.”