The heritage of Brighton Unitarian Church is intricately interwoven with the story of the Prince Regent (later George IV) from whom the land on which the church was built was purchased.
St Mary's is a welcoming, inclusive Anglican 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 Victorian interior.
The church 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 Classical and Indo-Islamic influences stemming from his love of architectural hybridity and a career spent largely in India. 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 operas, theatrical performances, community markets and debates.