A Short History and Guide to St. Barnabas and St. Agnes, Hove
As you enter this beautiful church, take sometime to absorb its layout and its peaceful atmosphere. There is a lot to take in!
The main structure was built in 1883, designed by the famous architect John Loughborough Pearson (who also designed Truro Cathedral).
As you face the High Altar, you will notice that it feels larger inside than outside. This is due in part to Pearson’s use of space and the simplicity of its architecture. It has a nave of four arches with North (left) and South (right) aisles, Transepts, Apsidal (rounded) Chancel and Lady Chapel to its south.
Standing at the back of the Church, the most striking feature of the church is the High Altar. The reredos was designed by the eminent designer George Frederick Bodley (one of his last designs). It is a triptych (three panels) and shows clearly the birth of Jesus and above, his Crucifixion. Do stop to take a closer look!
As you move down the nave, you will notice some other features of the church. The two statues of our patron saints St. Barnabas and St. Agnes.
The North Nave Aisle windows though not by a well known studio (Ward & Hughes), they have great beauty and interest in themselves and depict the following (moving east from the North Porch) Christ in Majesty; the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi.
You will also notice that around the walls there are a Victorian set of 14 ‘Stations of the Cross’. These depict the final stages of Our Lord’s life (starting at the top of the North Aisle working anti-clockwise).
On the dais is the Nave Altar, where Sunday by Sunday we focus our attention during the Mass (Eucharist).
From here you will see a ‘rood’ screen separating the Chancel from the rest of the Church. It is made of wrought iron, with our crucified Lord in the middle and his mother Mary and St. John on either side. It was set up as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War (the Parish War memorial can be found in the North Aisle).
Please pass through the screen into the Chancel. This is the heart of the church. The Bodley reredos dominates all, however, you will see a beautiful set of saints, which where carved by a local carpenter and installed over many years.
Saints are those who the Church acknowledges as having lived ‘holy’ lives and they are examples to us of holy living. Saints tried hard to discern God’s will for their lives and we are asked to do the same.
The stained glass windows in the Chancel and the adjoining Lady Chapel were made by Clayton and Bell.
Moving into the Lady Chapel, please take the time to pause here and say a prayer.
You will find various votive stands around the church. Lighting a candle in prayer is a powerful symbol. We pray not only for ourselves but for others. As we leave a burning candle behind, we are reminded that our prayers never leave the presence of God and or the company of His Saints.
Continuing along the South Aisle the windows (again by Ward & Hughes) depict the following (moving west to the South Porch) the Resurrection; Ascension and Pentecost.
At the west end is the great West Window, another Memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War, below this is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and lastly the marble Font installed in 1885