History of Christ Church
Some Notable Dates In Our History
Foundation stone of old Christ Church laid
13th July 1859
Opening of Old Christ Church
9th September 1860
First early Celebration of Holy Eucharist
Easter Day 27th March 1864
Weekly Mass at 8am begun
First Sung Mass in Christ Church
St Michael’s Day 1865
First Confirmation in Christ Church
23rd May 1873
Foundation stone of new Christ Church laid
Feast of St Leonard 6th November 1873
Opening of New Christ Church (Present Building)
13th May 1875
Consecration of Christ Church
20th November 1884
Constitution of the Parish of Christ Church
Incense first used at Christ Church
Feast of the Epiphany 1886
First stone of Tower and Spire Laid
25th June 1894
Blessing of Bells
29th September and 9th December 1894
Dedication of Tower and Spire with bells and clock
5th February 1895
Paschal Candle introduced
Electric lighting of Church
New Font, in memory of Thomas Trollope
21st July 1907
Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament begun
Dedication of the Chapel of the Holy Souls (the War Memorial)
24th July 1921
Dedication of the West End Extension (Jubilee Memorial)
9th June 1927
Dedication of new organ
7th May 1930
Dedication of East End Improvements (Roberts Memorial)
20th October 1933
Christ Church Housing Scheme inaugurated
19th March 1935
New Chapel of Christ the King Completed
Foundation Stone of St Richard’s House laid by Bishop Vernon
24th November 1954
Blessing of St Richard’s House by Bishop of Chichester
7th December 1955
The present Church replaced the small original building of 1860 (which later became a parish room and can still be seen to the south of the present Church).
Christ Church is one of three Churches in the area designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield (son of a Bishop of London) and was consecrated in 1875. It was deliberately built in an early English architectural style.
Christ Church was designed as a statement as part of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England.
The Oxford Movement began in the early 1830s as an intellectual movement. It started from one of the best tenets of the Reformation, namely the use of reason and intellect. From there, the use of reason led to the recovery of the doctrine of the Church of England as part of the catholic Church throughout the world. Later the recovery of the use of ceremonial in worship (movement, colour, light, vestments, incense, statues etc) was part of the Oxford Movement's contribution to parish life. Later still, the pastoral dimension of the Oxford Movement followed (which in the late 19th Century onwards saw many famous priests influenced by this movement working in very difficult parishes).
The present Christ Church owes much to the vision of Father Charles Lyndhurst Vaughan. Father Vaughan oversaw the building of a Church to convert souls and to be the springboard for catholic mission and evangelism to its parish and beyond.
He employed Sir Arthur Blomfield as architect of the Church, which was completed (without its spire) in the 1880s. There were no pew rents in Fr Vaughan's new Church so as to be as inclusive as possible and to embody the gospel message which he so desired to spread.
Subsequent parish priests, in line with our founding father, have shared and developed this same vision in response to their own times and people's changing needs, catering for their people and those who live in the parish from the cradle to the grave and beyond. For example, in the 1930's the Fellowship of St Nicholas was founded
Christ Church House Improvement Society began life within the Parish. One of the key projects was the building of St.Richard's House (block of flats)in Pevensey Road on the site of 2 bombed out properties, this was completed and opened in the early 1950s.
The parish also ran an old people's home (Our Lady's House) for over 50 years.
In the 1980's the ‘Surviving Christmas' charity was founded by a former Churchwarden.
The past few years have seen the development of part of the former school buildings to be a new parish centre, a rectory, a curate's flat, and the new Magnet centre (a library and study centre for Christian formation in this area of the diocese). Also the original Church and associated rooms have now become the Community Hub under the name of Renaissance House
During 2012 our parish extended to incorporate the parishes of St Peter & St Paul, St. Leonards on Sea.
“The history of this Church and parish has, thank God, been wonderfully progressive. There have been no stagnant periods. Loyalty, which Christ Church has never lacked, can easily become complacent. But where the Catholic Faith is taught and practised there will always be ‘the sound of building'; there will always be constructive progress. Catholic loyalty can never be a self-satisfied pride in the privileges and achievements of a particular congregation. it indeed means loyalty to tradition and, in that sense, to the past; but tradition itself is one of progress rather than stability, because the Church is a living thing and what is alive must always be changing while, of course, retaining its identity.”
Reverend Canon Sir Percy Maryon-Wilson (Seventh Rector, 1941-1964)
The Reverand Canon Sir Percy Maryon-Wilson
(Seventh Rector of Christ Church 1941-1964)