Horsted Keynes

Coordinates: 51°02′05″N 0°01′36″W / 51.0346°N 0.0267°W / 51.0346; -0.0267
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Horsted Keynes
View of The Green.jpg
Horsted Keynes is located in West Sussex
Horsted Keynes
Horsted Keynes
Location within West Sussex
Area15.81 km2 (6.10 sq mi) [1]
Population1,586 2011 Census[2]
• Density95/km2 (250/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ387278
• London32 miles (51 km) N
Civil parish
  • Horsted Keynes
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtRH17
Dialling code01825
FireWest Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
West Sussex
51°02′05″N 0°01′36″W / 51.0346°N 0.0267°W / 51.0346; -0.0267
View of the St Giles' Church, Horsted Keynes from the main road.

Horsted Keynes /knz/ KAYNZ[3] is a village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex District of West Sussex, England. The village is about 5 miles (8 km) north east of Haywards Heath, in the Weald. The civil parish is largely rural, covering 1,581 hectares (3,910 acres). At the 2011 census, it had a population of 1,586,[2] increased from 1,507 in 2001.[1] The 0° meridian passes about 1 mile to the east of the village of Horsted Keynes.

Origin and history[edit]

Guillaume de Cahaignes, a French knight who participated in the Norman conquest of England, and lord of what is now Cahagnes, was given Milton in Buckinghamshire and the Sussex village of Horstede (The Place of Horses in Old English). The latter became Horstede de Cahaignes and in time Horsted Keynes. The place name is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086. The village has been formally twinned with the Normandy village of Cahagnes since 1971. The Horsted Cahagnes Society promotes social and cultural links, and organises annual exchange visits between the two places.

On Saturday, 28 August 1624, Horsted Keynes hosted what is believed to be the earliest known organised cricket match in Sussex. Knowledge of it stems from the death thirteen days later of Jasper Vinall, on whom an inquest was held. He had suffered a head injury during the game when accidentally hit by a cricket bat.[4]

Two months before being assassinated, U.S. President John F. Kennedy slept in the parish when he stayed one Saturday night at Birch Grove, the home of the former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. The American Secret Service closed the village that night, siting their communication hub in the Lounge Bar of The Crown Inn.[5][6]

GWR 4-4-0 Dukedog Earl of Berkeley at Horsted Keynes Station on the Bluebell Railway

This part of Sussex was known for its iron industry long before the industrial revolution and the coming of the railways. Little remains of this now, except for the hammer ponds and other traces of this activity dotted around the surrounding countryside, although iron working is remembered in many local place names.


Horsted Keynes is centred on a village green with pubs, Post Office and village store. The Post Office was to be closed down for lack of use but was bought up by a group of villagers who invested in its continued use for the community. It now serves a large rural area.

Like many other English villages Horsted Keynes is losing businesses that have been there for many years. After the closure of the main village store in 1992, and the more recent loss of the butcher, village hairdresser and photographer, the village garage closed down in June 2007. It was only 20 years ago[when?] that the village had two garages, but now it has none, leaving the nearest petrol retailer more than 6 miles (10 km) away. Planning permission was granted and the garage site has now been turned into residential accommodation.


The two principal churches are: the Anglican Parish Church dedicated to St Giles[7] and the Roman Catholic church of St Stephen which is unoccupied and controlled from the nearest town, Haywards Heath.

Railway station[edit]

Railway station in Horsted Keynes

The railway station, three-quarters of a mile from the village, was on the line from East Grinstead to Lewes. It is now owned and operated by the Bluebell Railway, which is largely run by volunteers and operates using vintage steam trains. The station originally also had a connection with Haywards Heath, between 1883 and 1963.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2001 Census: West Sussex – Population by Parish" (PDF). West Sussex County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Horsted Keynes (E04009989)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics.
  3. ^ "St Giles' Church". Retrieved 7 April 2023. The name of the village has been spelled in many different ways over the years but always pronounced CANES like the sticks you use to tie up plants in your garden.
  4. ^ McCann T (2004) Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century, pp.xxxiii–xxxiv. Sussex Record Society.
  5. ^ The lowdown on Haywards Heath | Sussex Life
  6. ^ The Crown – Horsted Keynes Archived 2011-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Kerrigan, Michael (1998). Who Lies Where - A Guide to Famous Graves. London: Fourth Estate Limited. pp. 163. ISBN 1-85702-258-0.

External links[edit]