Follow the brown signs
A rare surviving example of a Georgian evangelical ‘preaching house’
Built in 1812, the delightfully elegant design of St John’s reflects the importance the evangelical movement palced on sermons and scripture reading rather than communion.
Unusually, it was not built as a parish church, but was privately funded and then run by trustees of the evangelical movement of the Church of England.
Ministers were largely paid by the income from renting seats in the church. Pews in the upper gallery, where the rich sat apart from the lower orders, still have their own hire numbers. These originally had separate entrances so that the rich could enter by different doorways from the poor who sat on the benches below.
The church is arranged rather like a theatre, with an impressive triple-decker pulpit with a handsome staircase and elegant handrail taking centre stage with only a small and insignificant chancel behind.
Standing high up in the pulpit, the preacher could be seen and heard by (and could himself see) everyone in the chapel.
St John’s has always been associated with lively musical events and the annual Chichester Festivities now hold a number of concerts in the church.
How to find us
Church of St John the Evangelist, Chichester
St John's Street
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