EAST GRINSTEAD, a market town in the East Grinstead parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 30 m. S. by E. from London by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 6094. St Swithin's church contains, among numerous ancient memorials, one of the iron memorial slabs (1507) peculiar to certain churches of Sussex, and recalling the period when iron was extensively worked in the district. There may be noticed Sackville College (an almshouse founded in 1608), and St Margaret's home and orphanage, founded by the Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866), warden of Sackville College. Brewing and brick and tile making are carried on. In the vicinity (near Forest Row station) is the golf course of the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club.
The hundred of East Grinstead (Grenestede, Estgrensted) was in the possession of the count of Mortain in 1086, but no mention of a vill or manor of East Grinstead is made in the Domesday Survey. In the reign of Henry III. the hundred was part of the honour of Aquila, then in the king's hands. The honour was granted by him to Peter of Savoy, through whom it passed to his niece Queen Eleanor. In the next reign the king's mother held the borough of East Grinstead as parcel of the honour of Aquila. East Grinstead was included in a grant by Edward III. to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and it remained part of the duchy of Lancaster until James I. granted the borough to Sir George Rivers, through whom it was obtained by the Sackvilles, earls of Dorset. East Grinstead was a borough by prescription. In the 16th century it was governed by an alderman, bailiff and constable. It returned two members to parliament from 1307 until 1832, but was disenfranchised by the Reform Act. In 1285 the king ordered that his market at Grenestede should be held on Saturday instead of Sunday, and in 1516 the inhabitants of the town were granted a market each week on Saturday and a fair every year on the eve of St Andrew and two days following. Charles I. granted the earl of Dorset a market on Thursday instead of the Saturday market, and fairs on the 16th of April and the 26th of September every year. Thursday is still the market-day, and cattle-fairs are now held on the 21st of April and the 11th of December.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)