St Mary's Church, Brighton

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St Mary’s is a welcoming, inclusive church in the heart of the Kemp Town area of Brighton. We follow a traditional, Catholic style of worship, which sits happily with the church’s elegant and serene Victorian interior. Our main act of worship, beginning on Sundays at 10 am, is a Sung Eucharist (Common Worship), followed by tea and coffee.

The church itself is one of Brighton’s architectural glories. Affectionately known as the ‘Cathedral of Kemp Town’, it was built in 1876-8 to designs by Sir William Emerson, architect of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta (Kolkata). The modest brick exterior hides an interior of surprising volume and warmth, which reflects Emerson’s training under William Burges, the great Gothic Revivalist, but also the Indo-Islamic and Classical influences of a career spent largely in India and his love of architectural hybridity.

Original fittings include Emerson’s alabaster font and Caen stone pulpit depicting scenes from the life of Christ. Other noteworthy fittings are the carved stone altar and reredos and the large Stations of the Cross paintings by local artist Harry Mileham (1873-1957), which formerly hung in St Thomas the Apostle, Hove. There is a superb collection of Victorian stained glass, including eight windows by Alfred Octavius Hemming. St Mary’s was built on the site of an earlier proprietary chapel owned by the renowned Evangelical divine, Henry Venn Elliott (1792–1865), and also features memorials to him and his family.

St Mary’s has a very fine Bevington organ (1878/1904), which is used for recitals well as Sunday worship. The church regularly hosts other concerts, as well as theatrical performances and debates. Please use the ‘send an email’ tab if you wish to enquire about hiring the church as a venue, or else check the venue pages on our website:

Parish boundary view Bird's eye view

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Fr Andrew Woodward
St Mary's Church
61 St James's Street
Brighton East Sussex BN2 1PR
01273 698601 (Priest-in-charge) or 07796 440670 (Churchwarden)

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  • Regular Services
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Sung Eucharist
A beautiful, dignified act of worship, conducted according to the Common Worship liturgy, with a sung mass, candles and incense. Everyone is welcome to attend the service or else to drop in for a coffee afterwards. The coffee-slot after the service is a good time to see the church and get know St Mary's, and we're usually open till at least 1 pm. Wheelchair accessible. Photography welcome. Dogs on a lead and bicycles happily accommodated.
Every Sunday at 10:00 AM for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Family Friendly Refreshments Incense Common Worship


Morning Prayer (BCP)
Morning Prayer (BCP) - approx. 30 mins. Followed by prayers for individual needs on which we have been asked to intercede.
Includes most Bank Holiday Mondays.
Every Monday at 9:30 AM for ½ hour
Refreshments Book of Common Prayer
The Purlers
Natty with the needles? Or a knitting no-hoper? It doesn't matter either way. Join the Purlers, St Mary's knitting group, which meets over tea and coffee on Mondays at 10 am to knit simple squares for making up blankets for displaced families in Iraq and Syria. Other knitting projects are on offer too. All materials and encouragement provided free!
Every Monday at 10:00 AM for 2 hours
Sermon Reflection Group
An informal sermon reflection group held most Mondays at a parishioner's house. Phone: 01273 685319 for details.
Most Mondays. Phone 01273 685319 for details and location.
Every Monday at 2:30 PM for 1½ hours


Morning Prayer (CW)
A half-hour Morning Prayer service, using Common Worship liturgy, held in the Lady Chapel from 8.30 am every Wednesday. All welcome. Worshippers are welcome to stay on afterwards for private prayer or just to experience the peace and beauty of the building.
Every Wednesday at 8:30 AM for ½ hour
Refreshments Common Worship
Said Eucharist (CW)
A half-hour spoken Eucharist, conducted according to the Common Worship liturgy, which takes place in the Lady Chapel. Tea and coffee available before the service.
Every Wednesday at 12:30 PM for ½ hour
Common Worship


Choir Practice
We have a growing choir at St Mary's, and are always looking for new singers. Enthusiasm and a good sense of humour are prerequisites; the ability to read music is not. If you would like to join or just check us out, please contact Fr Andrew on
Every Thursday at 7:00 PM for 1 hour


Morning Prayer (CW)
A half-hour Morning Prayer service, using Common Worship liturgy, held in the Lady Chapel from 9.30 am every Friday. All welcome. Worshippers are welcome to stay on afterwards for private prayer or just to experience the peace and beauty of the building.
Please note that on the second Friday of each month, Morning Prayer begins at 9 am, and is followed at 9.30 am by a Prayer Vigil for Peace.
Every Friday at 9:30 AM for ½ hour
Refreshments Common Worship
Kemp Town Talks
St Mary's holds free, drop-in classes for people who need or want to improve their English conversation skills. We have friendly, experienced EFL teachers who will get you talking confidently and who will also coach you individually for a particular examination or test. Currently we're running two levels - a basic, beginners' group and a more advanced level for people who can read and write quite well in English but haven't yet achieved spoken fluency. Tea and coffee available and there's a great bunch of volunteers hanging around too to liven things up - plus Magnus the Scottie dog, who has terrible verbal skills but who understands anyone who gives him a friendly pat and a dog biscuit.
Every Friday at 10:00 AM for 2 hours


Julian Group
A period of silent prayer and reflection. Held in the Lady Chapel at St Mary's. Please come to the side entrance in St Mary's Passage.
Every first Saturday at 9:00 AM for ½ hour



Wheelchair accessible toilets

Public telephone accessible to wheelchair users

(Hymn Books / Orders of Service etc.)

Assistance dogs (eg guide dogs, hearing dogs, dogs for the disabled) welcome
Stained Glass Wall Paintings

Church Open At service times: Sun 10-12.30; Mon 9.30-10.30; Wed 11-1; Fri 9.30-10. Plus, from April to October: every Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat morning, 10.30-12.30; Sun afternoon, 2-4.
Hall for Hire The church, which has a superb acoustic for music, can be hired for concerts, plays, rehearsals, etc., seating up to 400. Concessional rates available for community groups. A church hall holding up 60 people, and with good catering facilities, is also available. For initial inquiries, please contact the churchwarden on 07879 045265.
Other information
A Church Near You ID (venue number): 4803
Diocesan ID: AB0611
Built: 1878
Architect: Sir William Emerson
Style of worship: Inclusive Catholic
Archdeaconry: Brighton and Lewes (104)
Deanery: Brighton (10401)
Benefice: Kemp Town St Mary (10/206BR)
Parish Legal Name: St. Mary Kemp Town (100107 )
CofE Church Info: (610107 10/107)
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This page was last updated on Wednesday 29th March 2017
St Mary's Church : 61 St James's St, Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, BN2 1PR - On the corner of St James's Street and Upper Rock Gardens

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