"Home of Iron Age Axes" Top 5 Page for this destination Crawley by rexvaughan

Crawley Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 33 photos

Place of Axes and Crows

I booked a hotel in Crawley for our last night in London due to its close proximity to Gatwick Airport so that our departure on a morning flight would not require what I would regard as a very early awakening and departure. I knew nothing about Crawley except it was near Gatwick so had to investigate a bit to learn about it. On the main square we saw the sculpture in the photo and wondered what its significance was and learned that, from as early as the Iron Age, furnaces began to be used here and it was evidently a center for iron works for some time. The sculpture portrays an axe head, honoring this tradition. Interestingly the blade of the ax in the sculpture is topped by two crows. I read that the name originated from early times when it was known as the Crow Lea.

Transportation hub

It has evidently been inhabited since the Stone Age and for centuries has been a transportation hub. It began development as a market town in the 13th century and was located on the main road from London to Brighton which encouraged the development of coaching inns. When the railroads came, it was connected to that mode and with the building of Gatwick airport, it remains related to the transportation industry. The whole area was evidently pretty heavily forested and a beautiful tree in this square pays homage to that heritage.

We did not explore the whole town but walked the main square and noted the interesting old church shown in the photo. I later learned it is St. John’s and the earliest part dates from the 13th century and the tower from the 15th. When I had earlier told a friend in Northumberland that we were staying in Crawley our last night, he asked why and observed that no one wants to be in Crawley, even the people who live in Crawley. He was partly joking and probably partly aware of the noise generated by air traffic, but we did not notice any noise during our brief stay. Even though we were using this town as a convenient get away point but I think it would merit some more exploring.

  • Last visit to Crawley: Jun 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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  • Turska's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Thanks for that tip about old pub! We will spend 23hours in Crawley at March, from friday evening to saturday evening, so we can check the place at friday :)


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