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Visiting the Parish Church of St Peter, Brighton, England: Gothic Revival by Sir Charles Barry

Updated on October 21, 2015
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
St Peter's Church, Brighton, seen from the south-west
St Peter's Church, Brighton, seen from the south-west | Source
St Peter's Church, Brighton, tower detail
St Peter's Church, Brighton, tower detail | Source
Sir Charles Barry by H W Pickersgill
Sir Charles Barry by H W Pickersgill | Source
Map location of Brighton, United Kingdom
Map location of Brighton, United Kingdom | Source

A sense of heritage? of redundancy?

This parish church in the Downtown area of Brighton, England, was designed by the famous architect of the Palace of Westminster, Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) (1).

So, the reader might infer: Victorian Gothic Revival?

Actually the building is pre-Victorian; it actually dates from 1824-1828. Under the Hanoverian kings, Brighton became a fashionable watering place, and its was not long after this period of expansion that the parish church of St Peter was built.

But Gothic Revival style, certainly: here were see pointed arches (2) and a profusion of pinnacles which point to the category of the design. The building materials for the structure include Portland stone and Sussex sandstone.

The building was widened in 1898. Stained glass windows are by C E Kempe. Its pipe organ is by Henry Willis, and was built in 1888.

The Parish church of St Peter is Anglican, and part of the Diocese of Chichester, and amazingly in 2007 the Church of England wanted to declare the building redundant; I understand that users for the building have subsequently been found.

January 15, 2013


(1) Other, well known designs by Sir Charles Barry include his work on Trafalgar Square, Cliveden, and Halifax Town Hall, and many others. Four of his sons also became architects or surveyors, notably Charles Barry Junior, who designed Dulwich College, and Sir John Wolfe-Barry, who built Tower Bridge, London.

(2) At St Peter's, some of the Gothic arching is more pointed than others; in places, some of the arches are almost elliptical. The inspiration for Sir Charles Barry's form of Gothic Revival style is said to be late Medieval, and Perpendicular. (Indeed, at certain angles, the building seems to me to resemble strongly the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge. Other fine examples in England of Perpendicular revival include Sir George Oatley's Wills Memorial Tower, Bristol University.

Also worth seeing

In Brighton itself, the Pavilion is one of the town's famous buildings, with its distinct, 'onion'-shaped domes.

Seaford (distance: approx. 20 kilometres); the Seven Sisters cliffs are scenically magnificent.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. (Distance from London Heathrow to Brighton: 110 kilometres.) For access by road, take M23/A23. There are rail links to Brighton from London Victoria railroad station. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

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

For your visit, these items may also be of interest


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    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank-you for your comments.

      Jailen: In answer to the question, to access similar articles, click 'MJFenn', above and 'my profile'.

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      8 years ago

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      8 years ago

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