St Swithun's church rises above East Grinstead, a market town in Mid Sussex, half-way between London and the south coast. Other landmarks include Sackville College, where the carol Good King Wenceslas was written and Standen, a National Trust property that celebrates the genius of the Victorian Arts and Crafts movement.
Once noted for its iron works, East Grinstead stands at the source of the River Medway, with fine views of rolling countryside and the Ashdown Forest. Local attractions include the steam trains of the Bluebell line. The town is also famous for plastic surgery, pioneered at the Queen Victoria Hospital by Sir Archibald McIndoe, to treat the injuries of the World War II's Battle of Britain airmen.
Around 25,000 people live in East Grinstead. Many commute to London, but others are employed locally in tourism and at a number of electronics, engineering and financial businesses in the area.