The Church of St John the Evangelist is located on the edge of the Ashdown Forest, which is itself on the edge of the growing town of Crowborough in East Sussex.
St John's was built in 1839 by the De La Warr family as a Chapel of Ease within the Parish of Withyham, to serve the small hamlet of Crowborough (known later as Old Town or St John’s). The Revd Thomas Charlton (Vicar 1926-1931) stated in 1939, on the centenary of the foundation, that it was Elizabeth Countess De La Warr who “considered the responsibility laid upon her family to provide for the spiritual needs of those who lived in this corner of their great domains”. Fourteen acres of virgin forest-land were enclosed and, as well as the church, a small house was built as the residence for a priest. A year later the house was enlarged to incorporate a school and a schoolhouse for the head teacher.
The church was known locally as Crowborough Chapel, and was served by the Curate from the mother parish of Withyham, St Michael and All Angels, three miles to the north, beside the family estate at Old Buckhurst.