Heathfield Chapel


This chapel, on Cade Street, Heathfield was known to have been a favourite place of worship for members of my ancestors called Clarke including my Great Granny.. There has been a chapel on site since 1769 although only the pulpit, shown below, remains from that early chapel.


It has always been understood that there are family members buried in the graveyard, but on 2nd June 2006 I found none although a member of the Clarke family (Adelaide) did marry into the Leeves family.


The Baptismal, marriage and burial records show that the old family tradition was correct, though, for Sarah Clarke, née Palmer was laid to rest in the chapel on 5th February 1870. She was 83 and was my great great great grandmother.

The records also record the happy events – the births of members of the Clarke family, and also the more sombre deaths – often children. I’d guess the chapel only became licensed for marriages towards the very end of the 19th century.

Intriguingly, there was a speaker, who officiated at burials, in the 1920s and 30s with the surname Clarke

On a slightly different theme, my brother Matthew writes

Dad told me years ago that there was a rumour in the family that we were related to some of the martyrs burned at the stake in Lewes during the reign of Queen (bloody) Mary (1530 ish). Their names are recorded on a memorial stone at Cade Street Chapel.

I went looking for it when I was seeking inspiration about whether or not to go and work for a church when I graduated from UCL. It doesn’t have much on it – I only remember an out of context quotation from the New Testament “Jesus only” (Luke 9:36).

For the record, I have no knowledge of any link to the martyrs for the events took place (actually 1557) before records were kept. But one of the martyrs was called George Stevens which, perchance, was the name of a great grandfather of mine but born 300 years later.



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