Sonrise Church, St Leonards on Sea – former St Peters Church

St Peter’s Church is an Anglican church in the Bohemia area of the town, part of the Borough of Founded in 1883 in response to the rapid residential growth of this part of St Leonards-on-Sea, the “outstanding late Victorian church” was completed and opened in 1885. Architect James Brooks was towards the end of his career but still produced a successful, powerful Gothic Revival design, which was built by prolific local firm John Howell & Son—builders of several other churches in the area. Since 2010, the building has also been home to an Evangelical congregation which is part of the Christian Outreach Centre movement.

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James Brooks made his reputation designing “large and economical churches” in inner London, which combined simple, well-proportioned Gothic Revival designs (usually in brick) with interesting architectural touches. These features are also in evidence at St Peter’s Church, even though he was working with a less restricted budget than he often had to in London. It is an Early English Gothic Revival-style red-brick building with lancet windows which feature extensive plate tracery. The walls have some limestone as well, and the roof is laid with slates and red clay tiles. The plan consists of a two-bay chancel and nave separated by a chancel arch which almost reaches the church roof—making the interior a unified composition—a clerestory and aisles on each side of the nave, porches on the south and west sides, a side chapel, vestry with an organ-chamber above (reached by a stair-turret) and a baptistery with a polygonal apse.

English Heritage has listed it at Grade II* for its architectural and historical importance.

 

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