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 Kolkata (Calcutta). 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, and a superbly reconditioned 1904 C. Bechstein grand piano. The church regularly hosts concerts, gigs, markets, wine-tastings, quiz nights, theatrical performances and public meetings. 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: www.stmaryschurchbrighton.org.uk