British Listed Buildings

History in Structure

If you log in, you can comment on buildings, submit new photos or update photos that you've already submitted.

We need to upgrade the server that this website runs on. Can you spare a quid to help?.

Christ Church and St Mary Magdalen, Saint Leonards

Description: Christ Church and St Mary Magdalen

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 14 September 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 293985

OS Grid Reference: TQ8024309148
OS Grid Coordinates: 580243, 109148
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8538, 0.5594

Locality: Saint Leonards
Local Authority: Hastings Borough Council
County: East Sussex
Country: England
Postcode: TN38 0JT

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text


757/22/410 LONDON ROAD

(Formerly listed as:

Large town church. Sited on a corner site, the E end overlooking a hill on the main road N through St Leonards, a C19 development. 1873-1875 in Early English style to the designs of Sir Arthur Blomfield, consecrated 1884; tower, also by Blomfield, added in 1894-1895. W end extended by 2 bays in 1927 to the designs of Mr Hare. Chancel refurbished in 1933. Rock-faced rubble brought to course, stone dressings; slate roof with coloured bands to nave and chancel, tower with tall stone spire. Nave and chancel with 6-bay arcades extending across the transepts. N and S lean-to aisles. NE Lady chapel; SE vestries, partly in tall block including chancel S gallery and chapel; W end organ gallery; complex of ancillary rooms on S side including unusual mortuary chapel; two porches on N side.
EXTERIOR.Impressive E elevation, buttressed, with a 5-light chancel E window of stepped lancets below a 2-light window in the gable. To N of the chancel a large octagonal tower with lancet windows and a gabled stair turret to N with a doorway from the street. The belfry stage is ashlar masonry. Stone gargoyles project at the base of the stone spire which has 2 tiers of lucarnes. 3-storey narrow gabled block to S with 3 tiers of windows and a carving of King David in the gable. Adjoining to S the E end of a lower, 2-bay, 2-storey block with lean-to roofs with roofs hipped to the S. This contains the mortuary chapel on the ground floor with its own doorway. 2-bay buttressed NE chapel under a tall lean-to roof with triple lancet windows, the sanctuary of the chapel is in the tower. Gabled porch alongside with carved figure in vessica in gable. To W, paired lancets to the clerestory between pilasters above buttressed lean-to aisle with blind N side; S aisle also blind. The W end addition is blind at clerestory level and has a gabled porch in the W bay on the N side. Triple lancet W end window.
INTERIOR. 6-bay arcades with circular piers and moulded capitals. The E piers, in the chancel, have four shafts and stiff-leaf foliage capitals. Cusped timber chancel arch with a c.1900-1913 rood beam on stone wall shafts. Boarded canted wagon roof with moulded ribs springing from moulded stone corbels, the chancel roof with painted panels. Lean-to aisle roofs with struts to the arcade walls and ties across to the principal rafters. The Lady chapel has a boarded wagon roof divided into panels by moulded ribs with an elaborately carved and painted wall plate.
Very grand, richly decorated, chancel. Large, architectural 3-bay blind arcade across E wall on half-piers with carved capitals with paintings in the apex of the arches and in lower arcading within the arches. The E wall is decorated above with carved figures in elongated quatrefoils and painted decoration including figures. The E wall figure painting was executed under the supervision of Bodley and Hare in 1908. Sedilia on S side with projecting carved angel orchestra in the spandrels, the recesses painted with figures. Plainer blind arcading to match on N, also containing figure paintings, 1908. Large stone drum pulpit with marble figure groups under ogee arches on marble shafts; stem also with marble shafts. The former late C19 chancel screen was removed during a chancel refurbishment of 1933 to the designs of Sir William Milner and R B Craze. This refurbishment included re-flooring the chancel with marble steps and paving and embellishing the altar with marble cladding and gold mosaic. 1927 W end gallery on on a triple arcade of short, round stone piers with capitals, ashlar front to gallery. 1910 wrought iron screen to the W part of the Lady Chapel with elaborate cresting of gilded lilies. Wallpaintings in the Lady chapel are by Bodley and Hare and were part of the redecoration scheme of 1906. Large Virgin and Child carved over the arch into the Lady chapel sanctuary which has a wrought iron sanctuary screen; steep, painted vault and an alabaster altar of 1891. 1905 octagonal stone font, the bowl decorated with crocketted gables on marble shafts with waterleaf bases. Carved timber font cover, rising in tiers to a crocketted spirelet. SE chapel refurbished in 1921 with grilles, altar and reredos designed by Hare. The chapel includes scenes painted on the walls.
High quality C19 stained glass includes clerestory windows of 1904 by Burlison and Grylls, 4 eastern clerestory windows by Hardman; Lady Chapel windows by Heaton, Butler and Bayne; W window in the gallery by Burlison and Grylls; windows below the W gallery by Heaton, Butler and Bayne.
The church has an unusual mortuary chapel on the S side, used for storage at time of visit (2002) but complete with its fittings and decorations.
An impressive exterior to a large, complex town church. The eastern arm of the interior is architecturally inventive and richly decorated and furnished including early C20 paintings by Bodley and Hare and outstanding stained glass by major Victorian glassmakers.
The church owns two elevational drawings by Blomfield (not showing the tower), which are displayed in the church and others, which are said to be in poor condition (information from the Rev. Harper).

Funnell, B, Christ Church, St Leonards-on-Sea, 1859-1975, 1975.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.