St Mary in the Castle :: Shared Description

Grade II*listed

The former parish church of Saint Mary in the Castle, 1825-1828, is the centrepiece of Pelham Crescent, which was designed by Joseph Kay (1775 to 1847) for Thomas Pelham, 2nd Earl of Chichester between 1823 and 1828.
The church was consecrated in 1828. It was declared redundant in 1970 and refurbished in the early 1990s.

The church sits in the middle of Pelham Crescent, which is raised above Pelham arcade, reached by a ramp. The crypt extends southwards to street level.
The church is semicircular in plan, and is semi-built into the rock behind it. There is an upper gallery level.
The sanctuary is located on the south side, with doors either side and stairs descending to the crypt.

The main ceiling is a complex structure in the form of a coved horseshoe rather than a dome, panelled with moulded ribs. To the east there is a baptistery complete with stone lined immersion font (now the Bar!)

The church was refurbished in the 1990s, much of the timber was suffering from rot. The rear wall of the gallery is now exposed stone.
The sanctuary has a marble reredos and a stained-glass window above. This is now the stage area for performances, and curtained off.

In the late 1990s, the church was regularly used as a performance and arts centre, with regular concerts. However in recent years the future of the venue has looked uncertain, with threat of closure.
This year it was agreed that Buckswood school, a local private school, would support the venue for up to 3 years. Recently work began to restore the cafe area at the lower level, with a grant from English Heritage and Hastings Borough Council. The venue has now acquired charitable status.
by Julian P Guffogg
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4 images use this description:

TQ8209 : St Mary in the Castle, Hastings by Julian P Guffogg
TQ8209 : Interior,St Mary in the Castle, Hastings by Julian P Guffogg
TQ8209 : Upper gallery, St Mary in the Castle by Julian P Guffogg
TQ8209 : Crypt, St Mary in the Castle by Julian P Guffogg


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Created: Sat, 21 Sep 2013, Updated: Sat, 21 Sep 2013

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2013 Julian P Guffogg, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.