Sackville College in East Grinstead is a perfect example of a Jacobean alms-house. The Great Hall with its Minstrels' Gallery and hammer beam roof is impressive, as is the Chapel with its carved door and the study. The sandstone buildings and the enclosed courtyard are delightful.
In 1609 Robert Sackville, Earl of Dorset, left £1,000 for the building and a rent charge of £330, for the endowment of a 'hospital or college' for twenty-one poor men and ten poor women, to be under the patronage and government of his heirs. The heads of the Sackville family have been Patrons of the College through its history. The present Patron is the 11th Earl De La Warr.
The Revd. Dr. John Mason Neale, the Victorian hymn-writer, was employed as Warden from1846 to1866 during which time he wrote many well-known hymns and carols, including "Good King Wenceslas" and "Jerusalem the Golden".
It is a haven of tranquility that seems to have been by-passed by modern life and is well worth a visit. I do not believe there are any fees but it is a charity and contributions are welcome.
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