Crawley Down, arguably, means ‘the hill near the pasture where the crows gather'. The village is located on a plateau on a broad ridge north of Turners Hill.
In earlier days, Crawley Down would have been much the same in composition as Copthorne, and in Regency times the area was alleged to be just as well known for its prize fighting activities. In fact at one time the public house in the centre of the village was known as The Prize-fighter due to these local connections. Although there had been some earlier development, the village did not establish itself until the arrival of the Railway in the late nineteenth century. The line between East Grinstead and Three Bridges was then completed, and a station opened at Grange Road, Crawley Down.
The village developed further in the 1930s but the real expansion occurred after the closure of the local brickyard and the termination of the local railway services after ‘Beechings axe’ had fallen in the late 1960s. Land for housing was released in the 1965 Village Plan and after that time the village grew rapidly, in particular with the development of the Burleigh Wood estate. Growth was so large, in fact, that the population of Crawley Down more than doubled between the years 1971 and 1981. Since then planning policies have been successful in restricting major new developments to the present village boundaries. Following the closure of the railway, West Sussex County Council created ‘Worth Way’ a linear park along the site of the former railway line. This forms a most pleasant country walk on a summer’s day, especially where it passes the ponds on the eastern approaches to Crawley Down.
Crawley Down retains its pleasant semi-rural character and the original village green still provides a home for the popular Annual Village Fair. Other activities are catered for at the new Haven Centre, incorporating a thriving social club with sport and theatre facilities which is available for public hire - telephone 01342 716791.