Kemp Town, Sussex Genealogy
ITCHINGFIELD, or Hitchingfelt (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Horsham, hundred of East Easwrith, rape of Bramber, W. division of Sussex, 3¼ miles (W. S. W.) from Horsham.
The original St Mary the Virgin Church was one of four such chapels built in the 1820s. Acts of Parliament were granted to people wishing to build proprietary chapels. Barnard Gregory had obtained such an Act in 1825 to allow him to build St Margaret's Church in Cannon Place in central Brighton; the same Act permitted him to build one in St James's Street, a road running eastwards from the town and developed in the 1790s. In 1826 he sold this right to Charles Elliott, a merchant who divided his time between London and Brighton. Elliott was a member of the Clapham Sect, a group of Anglican social reformers which included William Wilberforce; one of his daughters, Charlotte, became a well-known hymnwriter; and the wider Elliott family were influential in Brighton's religious life for much of the 19th century.
The 3rd Earl of Egremont, who lived on the Petworth House estate in West Sussex, also owned a house on St James's Street. He donated some of his land to Elliott to allow him to build a church. Elliott commissioned Amon Henry Wilds, a leading architect in Regency-era Brighton, to design it. Wilds adopted the then-fashionable Neoclassical style for his design, and created a temple-style structure which bore some resemblance to the Brighton Unitarian Church which he had built six years earlier. That building deliberately mimicked the appearance of the Temple of Thesæus in Athens and Wilds designed St Mary the Virgin as a replica of another Ancient Greek edifice, the Temple of Nemesis.
The Act of Parliament relating to the proprietary chapel allowed Elliott to appoint a curate for 40 years on a stipend of £150 per year. Charles Elliott appointed his eldest, Henry Venn Elliott, as the first curate of St Mary the Virgin Church in August 1826, while building work was still going on. He had been ordained as a priest in 1824 after spending a year as a deacon, and initially held the curacy of a rural parish in Suffolk.
The Bishop of Chichester, Robert James Carr, consecrated the church on 18 January 1827. It had cost about £10,000 (, five times more than the contract price. The stuccoed exterior featured four large Doric columns beneath a frieze and pediment. The side walls had sash windows. Inside, there were galleries on three sides; one gallery had a private pew for the Earl of Egremont. The capacity was 947, and 240 free pews were offered at a time when pew-rents were commonplace.
In 1873, St Mary the Virgin became a parish church for the first time when Brighton's parishes and ecclesiastical districts were reorganised. The ownership of the building transferred from the Elliott family to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and all pews became rent-free. By this time, the church was in a dilapidated condition; in June 1876, just as some money had been set aside for reconstruction, and initial repairs were being carried out, the chancel walls caved in, the roof fell inwards and the building collapsed.
The replacement church was built within two years and Richard Durnford, the new Bishop of Chichester, dedicated the new church on 15 October 1878.
Sussex Online Parish Clerks(OPC) Kemptown St Mary the Virgin
Other places of worship in this area include:
Dorset Gardens Methodist Church(s)
Salvation Army Citadel
St John the Evangelist
For further information refer to Sussex Online Parish Clerks (OPC) link above.
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
From 1837 this parish was in the Brighton registration distict
Certificates can be ordered from Brighton & Hove The Register Office Brighton Town Hall Bartholomew Square Brighton BN1 1JA
Fax 01273 292019
Contributor: Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, non conformist and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records.
Link to the Family History Library Catalogue showing the film numbers in their collection Kemp Town
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 464157.
FamilySearch Centres offer free access to images of the England and Wales Census through FHC Portal Computers here have access to the Family History Centre Portal page which gives free access to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions.
 to locate local Family History Centres in UK
 to locate outside UK. Many archives and local history collections in public libraries in England and Wales offer online census searches and also hold microfilm or fiche census returns.
The 1851 census of England and Wales attempted to identify religious places of worship in addition to the household survey census returns.
Prior to the 1911 census the household schedule was destroyed and only the enumerator's schedule survives.
The 1911 census of England and Wales was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April 1911 and in addition to households and institutions such as prisons and workhouses, canal boats merchant ships and naval vessels it attempted to include homeless persons. The schedule was completed by an individual and for the first time both this record and the enumerator's schedule were preserved. Two forms of boycott of the census by women are possible due to frustration at government failure to grant women the universal right to vote in parliamentary and local elections. The schedule either records a protest by failure to complete the form in respect of the women in the household or women are absent due to organisation of groups of women staying away from home for the whole night. Research estimates that several thousand women are not found by census search.
Poor Law Unions
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Sussex Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
Maps and Gazetteers
Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 623-628. Date accessed: 30 September 2013
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any additional relevant sites that aren't mentioned above.