St John’s Chapel

A rare surviving example of a Georgian evangelical ‘preaching house’

Built in 1812, thedelightfully elegant design of St John’s reflects the importance the evangelical movement placed 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 chapel. 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 chapel 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 chapel.

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22 June 2024
18:00
Join Ensemble Reza as they return for their 10th Festival concert, sponsored by Close Brothers, with a special programme celebrating women classical composers with music through the ages, and from across the world. Based in Mid-Sussex and established ten years...
Expired
29 June 2024
19:30
The professional singers of Chichester-based consort, South Downs Soloists, return with their vibrant voices to the Festival. Celebrating the music of Renaissance masters Thomas Tallis and Robert White, extolled by Morley as “greatest glory of our muses”. Featuring the first...
Expired
19 July 2024
15:00
Enjoy an inspirational mix of words and music on pastoral themes by classical guitarist Linda Kelsall-Barnett and poet Barry Smith. Linda is the director of the West Sussex Guitar Orchestra and Barry is the director of the South Downs Poetry...
Upcoming
19 July 2024
19:30
Classical guitarist Zoe Barnett, ‘the guitarist who plays standing up’ presents an engaging programme including JS Bach and Castelnuovo-Tedesco in the serenity of St John’s Chapel, Chichester. Zoe was Sussex Young Musician in 2022 and graduates from the Royal College...
Upcoming
28 June 2024
19:30
EVENT POSTPONED OWING TO ILLNESS Opening concert by international recitalist Margaret Phillips of the newly restored pipe organ in St John’s Church, Chichester. The programme will include works by Handel, Samuel Wesley, the Chichester composer John Marsh and other English...
Expired