Littlehampton – St John

In the 1870s the ritualist practises of the then Vicar of St Mary’s aroused great controversy in the parish and a temporary timber-framed new church was opened by some of his opponents in 1876.  Neither a chapel of ease nor a proprietary chapel, it was an anomaly, managed by a committee (VCH 5(2) p198).  Beyond three stepped east lancets, there is little record of its external appearance, but a photograph in the VCH (ibid p199) shows the interior was indeed entirely of timber, with aisles behind posts and an arch-brace roof.  Two architects have been named in connection with this modest venture.  Elleray ((1981) p71) gave R Bushby, but, though a local man, he was a builder and almost certainly the contractor.  The parish records name W White (WSRO Par 126/12/1); not only was he an eminent architect who had already worked in the Littlehampton area, though not on churches (See Hunter for details), but his brother was among the members of the committee.  If he is indeed the architect, as is highly likely, it is perhaps remarkable that his involvement here did not prevent him working a little later at St Mary, Littlehampton.  The church initially prospered and in 1880 a south aisle was added (ibid).  However, it closed in 1948 and, after use as a theatre, was pulled down in 1976 (Elleray (2004) ibid).

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