Welcome to the Parish Church of Saint Paul, Brighton
The church was opened for worship on 18th October 1848 and formally consecrated exactly one year later, in 1849. It had been built at the instigation of the Reverend Henry Michell Wagner, then Vicar of S Peter’s, Brighton. His son, Arthur Douglas Wagner, was the first Vicar here, and ministered at S Paul’s from 1850 until his death in 1902.
The architect was Richard Cromwell Carpenter (1812 -1855). He chose the Decorated (of Middle-Pointed) style of Gothic architecture, and made it one of the first successful nineteenth-century Gothic buildings. He was aided in his endeavours by the greatest of all the early Gothic Revival artists, Augustus Welby Pugin (1812 – 1852). His major contribution was the magnificent set of windows which fill the main body of the church. The East and West windows are especially fine, and have recently been completely restored to their original glory.
The main external feature is the massive tower, with the unique wooden octagon surmounting it. During 1996 a major programme of restoration of the octagon was undertaken, with the generous aid of English Heritage. The years had taken their toll and the high winds and salt in the air had made it necessary to renew much of the wood and decorative features. The completed tower and octagon were additions to the original building, and a date from about 1873, having been designed by the architect’s son, R.H. Carpenter.
For one hundred and fifty years the church has fulfilled its purpose as the House of God, with public worship every day of the year, and not only on Sundays. There is a daily Mass on weekdays at 11.30am. On Sundays our services are at 11.00am and 6.30pm. The regular congregation is often joined by visitors from many parts of the world, and it is a joy to welcome them. Added to this, we try to keep the church open each weekday from about 10.30am until noon, to give visitors an opportunity to see the beauty of the interior. In an age of so much ugliness and unrest it is a joy to find such peace and loveliness, which speaks of enduring values.
During 1998 – 1999, we celebrated 150 years of S Paul’s, and there were special services and other events to mark this important anniversary, In this new century, we pray that our church will continue to fulfil its purpose as faithfully as in the past.
We, the priests and people of S Paul’s, bid you welcome in the Name of the Lord.