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IoE Number: 480672
Location: CHURCH OF ST MARK, EASTERN ROAD (north side)
  BRIGHTON, BRIGHTON AND HOVE, EAST SUSSEX
Photographer: N/A
Date Photographed: N/A
Date listed: 26 August 1999
Date of last amendment: 26 August 1999
Grade II

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BRIGHTON TQ3303NW EASTERN ROAD 577-1/50/248 (North side) Church of St Mark II Anglican church, now chapel and concert hall for St Mary's Hall School (qv). 1840-1849. Built on land given to St Mary's Hall School by the Marquess of Bristol; designed by Thomas Cooper. New chancel, vestry and parish rooms added in 1891-1892 by W Gilbert Scott; chancel decorated in 1913. Concrete cast in blocks to resemble Kentish ragstone; stucco scored to imitate ashlaring on the north side; east and south-east extensions in roughly dressed ashlaring with stone dressings; all roofs of slate. PLAN: chancel of one bay, with a vestry and organ chamber to the north and south respectively. The choir enclosure projects partly into the 7-bay nave; north and south aisles defined by tall, thin cast-iron columns. Parish rooms built off the 3 eastern bays of the nave on the south side; the rooms entered originally by a 2-bay, pointed-arch arcade. West tower of 4 stages with octagonal spire. To either side of the tower, entrance porches with lean-to roofs. Gothic Revival in the Early English style. EXTERIOR: because the fabric is of 2 builds, the following description will proceed chronologically. There is no trace of the original east end. The north and south elevations are identical, each interior bay marked by a single lancet and separated by a shallow buttress of 4 stages. The west tower has one lancet with very broad splays to each stage; corner buttresses set back at each stage; the porches to either side have lean-to roofs which are slightly lower than the nave roof behind. 3 pointed-arch entrances in west elevation, all with dripstones and exceptionally deep splays. Small, spirelet pinnacles above each of the corner buttresses of the tower which has a thin, recessed spire. The nave and aisles are formed from one large, rectangular space subdivided by tall, thin cast-iron colonnettes. One wood collar-beam truss for each bay of the nave. The angle between beam and truss is strutted by an iron traceried spandrel. Running lengthwise between the post on one side of the nave is a principal purlin, stiffened by struts filled with tri-lobed Gothic mouchettes. The boarded ceiling follows the steep roof pitch to centre of nave, where it flattens. West gallery on separate supports; traceried gallery front; this may have been added later as it does not conform to the bay system and occludes the aisle windows. The late C19 extensions to the south and south-east have similar elevations organized around the picturesque massing of steep facing gables. The 2-bay south extension has two 3-light tracery windows each under a gable; 3 lancets in the west wall; corner buttresses of 2 setbacks topped by pinnacles; and a continuous sill band. The chancel with a separate organ chamber are connected by a sill band, and have 3- and single light traceried windows respectively as well as shallow buttresses. To the south of the organ chamber a single storey entrance porch and its accompanying stairs and piers. The single-storey vestry to the north has a 3-light, plate-tracery window; single storey utility room to the north. The south-west extension is entered by a 2-bay, pointed-arch arcade, now blocked, supported by polished granite columns. There are oak boarded roofs with moulded principals and carved bosses to the south-east extension and the vestry. The organ projects from the chamber through a single pointed-arched bay to the nave and chancel; sedilia applied to the organ case. The chancel is raised above the nave and demarcated by a low parapet wall of cast metal (the pulpit is cast of the same material) painted to resemble stone. This wall projects into the nave and encloses a choir seated with carved wood stalls in collegiate arrangement. The sacrarium is further set off from the nave by a chancel arch supported on polished stone, corbelled shafts; the ceiling is a boarded barrel vault. The wall surfaces are marked out by blank pointed-arch arcading filled with polychromatic revetments. Along the east wall runs a carved and pointed-arch arcade to the height of the east window sill; the reredos is formed from a smaller arcade. The fittings of the chancel date to the 1890s, while the polychromatic decoration and reredos are, according to a plaque in the chancel, a memorial to Henry and Fanny Abbey, and dated 1913. The church was noted in "The Builder" (1847, V, 443) along with several concrete houses in Brighton. (Transactions of the Newcommen Society: Crook JM: Sir Robert Smirke: Pioneer of Concrete Construction: 1965-1966: NOTE ON PAGE 9; The Builder : 5: London: 1847-: 443).

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