1. Crawley History
  2. Early History
  3. History of Crawley's Founding

The Founding of Crawley: A History

Learn about the history of Crawley's founding, from its earliest beginnings to the present day.

The Founding of Crawley: A History

The founding of Crawley is a story that stretches back centuries, to a time of myth and legend. It has been told and retold countless times, but the history of Crawley's founding is still shrouded in mystery. From its beginnings as a small village to its current status as a bustling town, Crawley has a long and unique history. This article will take a look at the history of Crawley's founding, exploring the events and people that shaped it to become the place it is today. From tales of ancient warriors to stories of brave settlers, the founding of Crawley is steeped in folklore.

We'll delve into these stories and uncover the true history behind Crawley's founding. We'll also explore the social and economic forces that have helped shape Crawley over the years. Finally, we'll examine how Crawley's history has impacted the town today. Join us on this journey through the past to learn about the fascinating history of Crawley's founding and its lasting legacy. The earliest known settlers of Crawley were the Romans who arrived in 43 A.D. However, it wasn't until 1086 that Crawley was first mentioned in the Domesday Book.

In this survey of the English lands by William the Conqueror, Crawley was described as a 'hamlet' or small settlement. The manor of Crawley was owned by Robert de Wateville, who was responsible for building the first church in Crawley in 1202. By the 14th century, the area had developed into a small market town. This period saw the construction of a market square, which is still in existence today. In 1568 Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter to allow a weekly market and two annual fairs to be held in Crawley. In the 18th century, Crawley began to grow significantly with the arrival of new industries such as brick-making and textiles.

By the 19th century, Crawley had become an important centre for manufacturing and commerce. This period also saw the construction of a railway station, which further boosted economic growth and development in the town. The 20th century saw Crawley continue to develop and grow, becoming an important centre for manufacturing and commerce. The town also saw significant expansion with new housing estates being built and new roads being constructed. Today, Crawley is a vibrant and bustling town with a thriving economy and a rich cultural history.

It is home to a range of businesses, shops, restaurants, and other attractions. The town is also home to a number of historic buildings and monuments, which are testament to its long and varied history.

The 19th Century

In the 19th century, Crawley began to develop an important reputation as a centre of manufacturing and commerce. The construction of a railway station in 1841 further boosted the town's economic growth. This allowed Crawley to become a hub for goods and services to be traded between London and the south coast, and helped to increase its population significantly.

As well as industrial development, Crawley also benefited from a range of new educational opportunities. In 1837, a new National School was built in the town, providing education for local children. In 1873, St John's Church of England School was established, followed by Crawley Cottage Hospital in 1877. By the end of the 19th century, Crawley had become an important centre of industry and commerce. Its population had grown rapidly, and it was firmly established as a key player in the regional economy.

The Roman Settlement

The earliest known settlers of Crawley were the Romans, who arrived in 43 A.D. Although little remains of this settlement today, archaeological finds have revealed evidence of their presence in the area. These finds include pottery, coins, tools, and other artifacts from the Roman era. The Romans likely settled in Crawley due to its close proximity to London and its abundant natural resources. Evidence suggests that the Romans constructed roads through the town, as well as a fort and a number of other structures.

This period saw the development of trade and industry in Crawley, as well as a number of religious sites. The Romans left a lasting mark on Crawley, with many of its streets and buildings still bearing Roman-era names. Although the Romans departed from Crawley in 410 A.D., their influence can still be seen in the town today.

Medieval Times

In 1086, Crawley was first mentioned in the Domesday Book when it was described as a 'hamlet'. During this period, Robert de Wateville built the first church in Crawley in 1202. This marked the start of Crawley's history as a settlement, with a church being a common feature of medieval villages. During this period, Crawley was largely an agricultural village with local farmers providing food for the village and its surrounding areas.

The village also had some industry, primarily focused on leatherworking, which provided employment for some of the villagers. Crawley grew significantly during the medieval period, becoming a centre for trade and commerce. Markets were held in the village, and it became an important stop for travellers and merchants heading to London from Sussex and Kent. As such, Crawley developed into a bustling town, with a population of around 400 people by the end of the 14th century. Crawley continued to develop and grow throughout the medieval period, with its population increasing to around 1000 by 1550.

The town experienced its fair share of difficulties during this period, including outbreaks of the plague and other diseases, as well as the occasional battle or skirmish between local lords. Despite these difficulties, Crawley continued to grow and prosper and by 1600 it had become an important market town.

The 18th Century

In the 18th century, Crawley began to grow exponentially due to the arrival of new industries such as brick-making and textiles. This period of growth was spurred on by the expansion of the railway network in the region, which brought with it an influx of workers and businesses. As a result of this, Crawley experienced a surge in population growth and economic development.

The town was also home to several notable people during this period, including Thomas Smith who established the first newspaper in Crawley and Thomas White who built the first public baths in the town. The 18th century also saw the establishment of a number of schools, churches and other social institutions, which helped to shape the town into the thriving community it is today. The 18th century was also a period of great progress for Crawley. The town became increasingly well known for its brick-making industry and local business owners began to expand their commercial activities, resulting in a more diverse economy. Moreover, the town was connected to London by rail, which allowed goods and people to travel easily between the two locations.

This connection helped to further bolster Crawley's economy and its reputation as a major hub for commerce.

The 20th Century

The 20th century saw Crawley continue to expand and develop, with new housing estates and roads being built. The town experienced rapid population growth in the 1950s and 1960s, as more and more people moved to Crawley for work. This period of growth also saw the expansion of the local economy, with Crawley becoming an important centre for manufacturing, retail, and other services. By the end of the 20th century, Crawley had firmly established itself as an important commercial and residential centre. In recent decades, Crawley has continued to grow, with new businesses setting up shop and new housing developments being constructed.

The town now boasts a diverse range of industries, from engineering and technology to finance and media. Crawley has also become a popular destination for tourists, with its proximity to London and its attractive countryside making it an attractive place to visit. Today, Crawley is a thriving modern town with a rich history. Its continued development in the 21st century has made it a popular destination for both residents and visitors alike. Crawley is now a vibrant and bustling town with a thriving economy and rich cultural history. Its long history, dating back to the Roman settlement of the 12th century, is evidenced by its many historic buildings and monuments, including medieval churches, 18th century estates, 19th century market towns, and 20th century industrial developments.

Today, Crawley is an important hub of commerce, culture, and entertainment in West Sussex. Crawley's rich history has shaped the town into what it is today, providing a glimpse into the past while also offering plenty of opportunities for modern day exploration and discovery. Whether you're interested in its ancient roots or its vibrant present-day life, there's no denying that Crawley's past is an important part of its future.