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THE PARISH CHURCH OF
ST MARY, BRIGHTON
Church of England - Diocese of Chichester
Upper Rock Gardens/Upper St James's Street, BRIGHTON BN2 1PR
Parish Office 01273 698601
The Revd Andrew Woodward
Enquiries about baptism, confirmation, marriage, funerals,
William Frederick (Bill) Sibbey, organist at St Marys Church, Brighton, died suddenly on 8 December 2013, aged 73. This website was a personal pride and joy to him and we will be maintaining it for some months as a tribute to him. But the site is not being updated and the church calendar is no longer current. For details of our services and events please see www.facebook.com/BrightonStMary and www.achurchnearyou.com/brighton-kemp-town-st-mary
Our Christmas Celebrations at St Mary's
Sunday 15th December at 5 pm - SERVICE OF NINE LESSONS & CAROLS
Sunday 22nd December - the 10 am Eucharist will include THE CHILDRENS NATIVITY PLAY
24th December - CHRISTMAS EVE at 11.15 pm - MIDNIGHT MASS OF THE NATIVITY
25th December - CHRISTMAS DAY at 10 am SUNG FAMILY EUCHARIST
A music video has been made by local singer, Jacko Hooper, featuring the inside our church.
To watch, click on the following link:-
St Mary's Church - Living out and making known the inclusive love of God for all
We are now the proud recipients of a Certificate of Recognition from The British Institute of Organ Studies - see facsimile by clicking on the "Famous Bevington Organ" link
St Mary's after the snows, December 2009 - taken from Hereford Court with mobile phone camera by Steve Luff
MONDAYS : 9.30 am - Morning Prayer (BCP) followed by Prayers for individual needs for which we have been asked to intercede - please come and join in with this special ministry. ALL WELCOME
WEDNESDAYS : 12.30 pm - Holy Communion
2.30 pm Fortnightly Bible Study - see weekly sheet in church for details
FRIDAYS - 6.30 pm - Choir Practice - we urgently need new members. If interested contact the Organist & Choirmaster - Bill Sibbey at email@example.com
The Church is also currently open for private prayer/meditation or just to look around this very beautiful space at the following times
Sundays 2pm 4pm Mondays 12.30 2.30pm
Wednesdays 10.30am 12.30pm Fridays 10.30am 12.30pm
Saturdays 10.30am 12.30pm
THIS SITE INCLUDES FOUR DIFFERENT HYMN IMPROVISATIONS PLAYED ON THE CHURCH'S FAMOUS BEVINGTON ORGAN BY BILL SIBBEY - EACH PAGE FEATURES A DIFFERENT ONE - including two on the Bevington Organ pages.
CLICK ON THE RELEVANT LINKS, SUCH AS THE ONE BELOW, TO LISTEN
St Marys Parish includes the former Parishes of St. James and of All Souls.
St. James Chapel (picture on right) stood roughly where Chapel Street meets St. Jamess Street.
It was built in 1875 and was closed early in the Second World War and the Parish united with St. Marys in 1948.
Some of the furnishings were relocated to St Mary's
◄All Souls Church stood on the south side of Eastern Road half-way between Rock Gardens and Upper Bedford Street and was closed and demolished in 1967. The picture on the left shows the interior of All Souls Church.
In 1876 crowded congregations at St. Marys necessitated St. Lukes Church, Queens Park being built as a mission church.
Aerial view of church and a substantial area of our Parish (Photo : Ray Ballantyne)
In 2011, the Brighton Marathon passed by the church. This photo was taken by the official photographer in a helicopter and forwarded for inclusion on this website:
All photographs on this site were taken by Bill Sibbey, except where stated otherwise
Some members of our Church Family
The St Mary's EASTER GARDEN - in front of the nave altar
The design and background painting are by Michael Folkard, a member of St Mary's congregation, who also designed our Christmas Crib, shown further down this page.
▼ THE CHURCH BUILDING ▼
The architect's original drawing of the interior
Above - two early photographs of the interior - note the original wooden high altar. The current carved stone one was installed in 1928 and was a gift in memory of Ethel Cranmer, a long serving member of the church.
THE INTERIOR TODAY - from the same viewpoint - the nave altar has been removed for the purpose of this picture.
This impressive church (which will be 135 years old on the 15th October 2013), standing on the crossroads of St. James's Street and Rock Gardens in the area of the city east of Brighton Pier, is affectionately known as "The Cathedral of Kemp Town".
From the outside one sees a large red-bricked Victorian church building, but it is only upon entering that the reason for its "unofficial title" becomes apparent, with its imposing size and soaring arches - as our pictures in our TOUR show. Please read on
The first incumbents of the Parish of St. Mary's were two members of the ELLIOTT family, Henry Venn who was involved with the famous "Clapham Sect" which also included William Wilberforce, the main protagonist in connection with the abolition of slavery. Henry was succeeded by his son Julius (a keen mountain climber and the second person ever to scale the north face of the Matterhorn, but who lost his life whilst scaling the Schreckhorn in the Bernese Oberland - see caption attached to picture of the font below). He is buried in the village of Grindelwald at the foot of the mountain.
Below is the stained-glass window in the chapel of Brighton College dedicated to the memory of the Revd Julius Elliott
CHARLOTTE ELLIOTT (Henry's sister) was the famous hymn writer whose "Just as I am, without one plea" is one of the best loved hymns in the world - Dr Billy Graham used it for many years at the "altar call" in his crusades ..............
"Just as I am, I come".
The FIRST CHURCH on this site, the propriety Chapel of St. Mary, was a neo-classical building designed by Amon Henry Wilds, a leading architect in Regency-era Brighton and modelled on the Temple of Nemesis in Athens (see drawing and old photograph of the interior above), and opened in 1827. A similar and earlier building by the same architect can be seen in New Road - now the Unitarian Church, but originally consecrated as Christ Church, Brighton. During essential repairs to St Mary's in 1876, the building suddenly collapsed, but leaving the west end, containing the organ, relatively unscathed. After great efforts to raise money, thanks to the Vicar at that time, the Venerable Arthur Thornhill Waugh (who, on leaving St Mary's in 1895 became Archdeacon of Ripon) the PRESENT BUILDING was built over the next two years and was CONSECRATED on the 15th October, 1878. It is the only ecclesiastical building in this country designed by William Emmerson (most of his work can be found in India - mainly government buildings - It resembles All Saints Cathedral Allahabad, also designed in 1877, and completed in 1891). Asian influences can be seen within the building, especially in the chancel area.
The original design (SEE PICTURE AT LEFT) shows an imposing clock tower, but owing to lack of funds this never materialised. The interior is in a French gothic style and the nave is 40 feet wide and nearly 60 feet high at its highest point. The floor of the nave is considerably lower than the Baptistry and chancel, enhancing the height of the building - the overall effect being quite magnificent, invoking gasps of awe from first-time visitors. There are many large stained-glass windows attributed to Kempe, Clayton & Bell and others, a beautiful carved reredos, and fine furnishings.
THE ORGAN, by Bevington, although not as large an instrument as one would expect for the size of the building (only 3 manuals and 34 speaking stops) can, with its rich cathedral organ grandeur, support a full congregation with ease, and its superb 19th century tonal qualities have earned it a reputation as one of the most noteworthy organs in the area. It was originally a 2 manual organ situated in the previous church building, and thankfully escaped damage when the place collapsed, being at the west end. it was enlarged and installed in the new church ready for the consecration in 1878 and enlarged in 1904. During the summer months, regular recitals are given by distinguished organists. See link at left.
As the sign over the West porch says,
"WELCOME TO ST MARY'S"
OUR TOUR OF THE CHURCH
BEGINS HERE !
The font - the column on which it is resting is made from granite from the Schreckhorn mountain in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland, (the extreme left hand peak in this photograph) where Julius Elliott, the second vicar of St Mary's Parish, lost his life. He is buried at Grindelwald, the village near the foot of the mountain. In Brighton College Chapel, there is a large stained glass window dedicated to him, see earlier.
Close up of carvings on font (photo Paul Burgoyne)
The Baptistry windows
The centre window The Presentation at the Temple dates from 1878 and is the work of W. Gualbert Saunders.
The left and right hand windows are by Alfred Octavius Hemming, (who had worked with Clayton and Bell and set up his own very successful studio in 1868) - and depict (left) The Healing of the Blind Man and Blind Man leaving Pool of Siloam (1884) and the right hand window (1885) also shows two subjects, Christ Blessing Children and The Miraculous Feeding
THE NORTH AISLE WINDOWS
The first window was installed in 1897 by James Powell and it depicts Saints Lois, Eunice, Timothy, Aquila, Appolos and Priscilla.
THE THUMBNAILS BELOW SHOW DETAILS OF THIS FIRST WINDOW - LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE
The second window by Burlison and Grylls (1880) shows Mary at the Sepulchre and Christ appearing before Mary. The smaller frames show Old Testament prophets.
THE THUMBNAILS BELOW SHOW DETAILS OF THIS WINDOW - LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE
The third North Aisle Window (1906) is by Charles Eamer Kempe, one of the finest stained glass makers of the 19th century. The main lancets show St John and St Mary before the Crucifixion and the smaller frames at the bottom show Faith, Hope and Love. Unusual for Kempe, the window is of a greenish hue, whereas most of his windows are of an orange tinge.
THE THUMBNAILS BELOW SHOW DETAILS OF THIS WINDOW - LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE
The next main window in the (liturgical) north transept is known as "THE ASCENSION" (or "Tempest") window
The original window was installed by Mayer & Co in 1882, but in the infamous storm of 1987 the side glass was blown out, but thankfully leaving the centre lancet intact, so new windows for the side lancets were commissioned and were designed by Annie Goodman, salvaging as much of the old glass as was usable.
The centre lancet (right) depicts the Ascension of Christ
THE PULPIT OF CAEN STONE
The three carved panels on the pulpit depict .....
Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well The Supper at Emmaus Doubting Thomas
There are three smaller linking panels of foliage representing the Tree of Knowledge, the centre one showing the serpent.
CARVING OF BIRDS ON SMALL PILLAR AT THE ENTRANCE TO CHOIR VESTRY
CARVING OF BIRDS IN THE CHOIR
THE CHOIR STALL CARVINGS
The choir stalls are of dark oak and at the ends are some exquisite detailed carvings with angels playing instruments and singers with Psalters, etc.
THE CARVING OF AN OWL AT THE END OF THE SANCTUARY CHAIR
THE HIGH ALTAR & REREDOS
The beautifully sculptured reredos of 1893, was dedicated to Mrs Waugh (wife of Canon Waugh, vicar at the time of the church's consecration). The stone altar in front of it (replacing the original wooden one) was a gift in memory of Edith Cranmer, and was installed in 1928, together with the north choir wooden screen which is designed to shield off the outer choir vestry from the chancel and the main body of the church.
Detail at the base of one of the magnificent brass candlesticks in the sanctuary
The engraving of the Adoration of the Magi on the front of the high altar.
In front of the high altar, on the floor of the sanctuary are some beautiful mosaics (shown below)
The three chancel windows by A.O Hemming (1886) - Detailed pictures below
Left: The Adoration of the Magi and Mary Magdalene Anointing the Feet of Jesus. Centre : The Crucifixion and The Raising of Lazarus. Right : The Resurrection and Christ's commandment to "Feed my Sheep". These windows are dedicated to The Revds Henry Venn Elliott and Julius Elliott and Mrs Elliot respectively.
CHANCEL WINDOWS THUMBNAILS BELOW - left click to enlarge
LEFT HAND WINDOW -- Adoration of the MAGI
CENTRE WINDOW - The Crucifixion
RIGHT HAND WINDOW - The Resurrection
Two views of our Christmas Crib
THE CHURCH IS OPEN FOR VIEWING AND PRIVATE PRAYER ON SOME WEEKDAY MORNINGS
ST. MARY'S SUNDAY
INTERESTED? WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?
Then contact Jacalyn Oghan in church on Sundays for more information and join our happy team today.
We also have a youth group "FOCUS" which aims, among the various activities available to them, to nurture the Christian Faith of the young people of our church and the parish.
Contact Jacalyn (e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details.
The church also had at one time this Wyvern computer theatre organ which after many years was not working satisfactorily and has now been removed. However, by clicking on the separate titles below you can hear three extracts of light music played by Bill Sibbey (wearing his "theatre organist" hat) which was recorded some years ago, when the instrument was fully-operational.
And now ....
HOW TO GET TO ST. MARY'S