It's been commented on before, but there's a whole lot of fringe religion going on in northern Sussex. Two towns, East Grinstead and Crowborough, which are about 10 miles apart (as the, er, crow flies), seem to be particularly struck. The case of East Grinstead is already quite well known. As Wikipedia has it,
A number of important religious sites are located in East Grinstead.
To the north of the town is the Mormon London England Temple.
The strange co-incidence of such a number of religious organisations being headquartered in the town prompted a documentary in 1994, Why East Grinstead?, which was produced for Channel 4 by Zed Productions and directed by Ian Sellar. The documentary didn't come to any definite conclusions: the explanations ranging from the fact that East Grinstead sat on the convergence of ley lines to the more prosaic idea that the various reglious inquirers had settled there because they liked the views.
Crowborough was in the international news-spotlight this week as the location of the Jameah Islameah School, which was raided by anti-terror police. Also in the town, according to Wiki, is the English Grand Lodge for Europe and Africa of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, which I guess means it's the group's UK HQ.
And Crowborough also houses 350+ Scientology staff members, who presumably work at Saint Hill Manor. They live at Walsh (or Walshes) Manor, Walshes Road. In November '05, the Crowborough Scientologists got into a row with members of the Crowborough town council, and the kerfuffle turned violent six months later.
Note to self - avoid these towns at all costs.
p.s. This from May 2006.
Saint Hill Manor, the headquarters of Scientology, was compared to one of Saddam Hussein's palaces at a Crowborough Town Council committee meeting this week.
Cllr Michael Murphy demanded the council should seek further information into the church of Scientology before it uses its voluntary services.
Cllr Murphy, who reiterated that he does not discriminate against anyone, referred to newspaper allegations of improper conduct by Scientologists particularly at Walsh Manor, Crowborough, where some 350 scientologists live.
He claimed workers at the manor always looked "pained and exhausted" and how one remarked "I would have loved it if the police moved in and let us all go".
Cllr Murphy said: "It's not an organisation full of ordinary people. It's an authoritarian organisation that restricts people and their freedom - particularly the vulnerable. They charge a lot of money for the services they provide."
He said: "I think it would be right for the council to at least stand back and give some thought to some of the information from these resources."
He asked the council to call for a police investigation to find out what is going on at Walsh Manor before adding: "We can all go down to Saint Hill and be entertained. But we could have come into one of Saddam Hussein's palaces and everything would have seemed fine when he was murdering and massacring his people." (..)