SussexKEMPTOWNStMary(antiquaryCC-BY-SA3.0)1 Antiquary

St Mary

St Mary's is a serenely beautiful Victorian church, friendly and inclusive, which doubles up as an atmospheric performance venue with a great vibe and super acoustic.

Kemp Town, Sussex

Opening times

We love having visitors at St Mary's and are usually open on Monday, Friday and Sunday mornings, and all day Wednesday and Saturday. But if you're planning on visiting us and you have only have a short opportunity to see the church, please call us in advance on 01273 698601 to make sure we'll be open. We'll always try to slot you in.

Regular opening times:
Monday 9am to 1pm.
Wednesday 9am to 6pm.
Friday 9am to 1pm.
Saturday 10am to 4pm.
Sunday 9am to 2pm.


St James's Street
Kemp Town

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.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Wifi

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Ramp or level access available on request

  • Parking within 250m

  • Dog friendly

  • Café within 500m

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • The Purlers charity knitting group, Monday, 10am to 12noon (free). Kemptown Koalas toddler group, Tuesday, 2.30pm to 4pm (£1.50). Choir practice, Tuesday, 7.15pm to 8pm (free). Tea & Company friendship cafe, Wednesday, 3.30pm to 5pm (free). Kemp Town Talks English conversation class, Fridays 10am to 12noon and Saturday 10.15am to 12.15pm (free).

  • Church of England

  • Foundation Grant, £5,984, 2019

  • Our Foundation Grants fund urgent maintenance work and small repairs to help keep churches open.

  • Repair Grant, £15,000, 2018

  • Our Repair Grants funded urgent repair work to help keep churches open.

  • Cornerstone Grant, £40,000, 2016

  • Our Cornerstone Grants fund urgent repairs and essential community facilities such as toilets and kitchens to help keep churches open.

Contact information

SussexKEMPTOWNStMary(antiquaryCC-BY-SA3.0)1 Antiquary

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