Church warden ‘saddened’ by vandalism of 140-year-old grave

Christ Church warden Kenneth Hobbs with the vandalised 140-year-old gravestone
Christ Church warden Kenneth Hobbs with the vandalised 140-year-old gravestone

Rare vandalism at the one of Worthing’s oldest churches is upsetting but will not stop it being a place of peace, its warden has said.

Christ Church warden Kenneth Hobbs said it was regrettable that a cross on a 140-year-old gravestone had been knocked off.

He said: “I just want to bring it to the notice of people that we do care for the graveyard and I was saddened to see it had been damaged in that way.

The mid-nineteenth-century church in Grafton Road is the second oldest church in Worthing, the oldest being St Paul’s in Chapel Road.

Mr Hobbs added: “It is a historical place and it is just a shame that this sort of thing has happened.”

But he was keen to add that he is not seeking to blame anyone.

He said: “We are a Christian church, we are not making judgements.

“I just wanted to draw people’s attention to the quiet peace we have here.”

The churchyard is kept neat and tidy by Worthing Borough Council.

Mr Hobbs added: “Worthing Borough Council does an amazing job.

“They work so hard and they keep it so lovely.”

After a previous instance of vandalism at the church councillor Tom Wye got a team together to tidy the grounds.

A council spokesman said: “As with every closed burial yard, we have a duty to maintain the surroundings and keep the area safe.

“We will inspect the damage and take any steps necessary to ensure it does not prevent people from visiting this historic and peaceful spot.”

Finished in 1843, Christ Church draws global interest because of of the people buried in its graveyard.

Among the headstones is that of John Turtle Wood, a famous British archaelogist who rediscovered The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Turkey, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. He died in 1890.