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Visiting Beamsley Hall, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England: Gothic Revival, formerly Methodist, dating from 1886

Updated on March 4, 2016
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Beamsley Hall, Beamsley Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex
Beamsley Hall, Beamsley Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex | Source
Beamsley Hall, Beamsley Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England.
Beamsley Hall, Beamsley Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England. | Source

A small scale example of Victorian pointed arches and pinnacles

Dating from 1886, this building is a former Methodist chapel. There were various other Methodist church buildings in Eastbourne, in East Sussex, England, including the cathedral-like Central Methodist Church (1). Beamsley Methodist Chapel, however, certainly was not built to have cathedral-like dimensions, but nonetheless it is a good, small-sized example of the Victorian penchant for Gothic Revival architecture.

Thus, as one might expect, we see the pointed arches at the main frontage on Beamsley Road, and the flying buttress-like pillars culminating in pinnacles.

The structure is on two storeys.

An interesting feature of the building's history is that although it was founded as a Methodist church building in 1886, it functioned for less than 20 years as such. In 1904, the building passed to the ownership of nearby (Anglican) Christchurch, of which it was used as a church hall. The building is sometimes referred to as Beamsley Hall, but it would appear that this probably does not denote its period of use by Nonconformists, but rather its auxiliary church hall use by Christchurch, situated nearby on the road named Seaside.

Records appear to show that it was the lower storey that was used as a schoolroom; and interestingly Christ Church has on its actual premises a former schoolroom, executed in flint, known as Brodie Hall, dating from 1859.

The property is now in private hands and is not open to the public, but its lines remain a very visible, local landmark.

Maybe because the building is part of a terrace of properties, Beamsley Hall has somewhat of a two-dimensional feel to it. The structure was executed in red brick, which the painted white surface today largely obscures.

While Methodism in England underwent some re-alignment in the 1920s, having as part of its effect, a change in the use of some buildings, yet it is significant that Beamsley Hall's change of use from Methodist to Anglican occurred some decades before these changes to some Methodist circuits. Much of Methodism was strongly influenced by the Wesley Brothers, and, although in Eastbourne South Street Church inherited the Methodist outlook of George Whitfield and the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, it would strongly seem that Beamsley Hall, when operating prior to 1904 as a Methodist congregation, would have been firmly in a Wesleyan alignment.

March 4, 2016

Note

(1) The style of Eastbourne's Central Methodist Church is described as Decorated Methodist Revival; here at Beamsley Hall, the Gothic styling is more simple.

Map location of Eastbourne, East Sussex
Map location of Eastbourne, East Sussex | Source

Also worth seeing

In Eastbourne itself, notable sights include: Beachy Head and lighthouse, which lie within the town's limits; the Pier, the Promenade, the Martello Wish Tower, and the Redoubt Fortress attract many summer visitors; the Town Hall is architecturally distinguished; Sovereign Harbour is reputed to be Europe's largest marina; there are many fine examples of ecclesiastical architecture (the links, below, have also been chosen to demonstrate something of this).

At Pevensey (distance: 6.6 kilometres), the castle is partly Roman and partly Norman in origin.

...

How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York - Newark to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. (Distance from London Heathrow to Eastbourne : 146 kilometres.) For access by road, take M25/M23/A23/A27. There are rail links to Eastbourne from London Victoria railroad station. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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