History of, Ascension Church, Peacehaven.

Until 1928 the Parish was originally part of the parish of Piddinghoe. A house on the South Coast Road was initially used for services. A Parish Church and hall were opened in Bramber Avenue in the late 1920’s – the Church generally being known as ‘The Tin Church’ although it was apparently built largely of asbestos. This Church continued in use until the new building was erected in 1955 in Arundel Road, the grounds stretching from Steyning Avenue to Bramber Avenue. The Ven. Lloyd Morrell, Archdeacon of Lewes, laid the foundation stone. The old building was rebuilt as the church hall. This year has seen the 60th Anniversary of the Consecration of the current church building which was celebrated with a community lunch and a thanksgiving service led by the Bishop of Lewes.

In the 1980’s a substantial legacy from Miss Nellie Woodruff enabled the Sussex Chapel to be built so that the Church was completed in accordance with the plans exhibited in 1954. A memorial board in the chapel gives the names of the Saints and Martyrs of the Churches in Sussex commemorated in the dedication. The altar is built of Portland stone, with a cross picked out in pebbles from the beach in Peacehaven. The font was moved from the tiny Baptistry to a site beside the chapel so that it was in a more prominent position. The marquetry panels over the altar and at the entrance to the chapel were made and given by Mr Albert Hook, a reader in the Parish.

Pre 1922 Church Services were taken by the Vicar of Piddinghoe and held in the open-air on the cliff-top or in a local building
1922 Daughter Church to St John’s, Piddinghoe built from wood and asbestos on current site of the church hall
1927 3rd November - The Ascension, Peacehaven became a separate district, described as a "Peel District".
1928 Parish of Peacehaven formed with its own Vicar
1954 Foundation-stone of current Church building laid on August 3rd by the High Sheriff of Sussex, Mr C W Shelford. Architect was Mr L Keir Hett of Ardingly; builders were T J Braybon & Son of Brighton. Cost of building was £15,000 - raised by public donations and a large gift from the Diocese.
1955 September 27th - the date both of Consecration of the existing Church and the formation of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Peacehaven.
1966 As there was insufficient land for a Churchyard, a Memorial Garden was consecrated for the Interment of Ashes. Current church hall was built.
1985 The Sussex Chapel was added to the north side of the Church.

Features.

• Carved above the main door are the opening words to Psalm 95: Venite Exultemus Deo - O come, let us sing unto the Lord

• At the top of the pillars adjacent to the front doors are carvings of: The feet of Jesus symbolising ‘The Ascension’ A dove symbolising ‘The Holy Spirit’

• There is one bell which was cast in 1852 and moved from the redundant All Saints’ Church in Brighton in 1957

• The main altar table is made from oak and was taken from the original Church

• The altar in the Sussex Chapel is formed of a single slab of Portland stone supported on a plinth of Sussex bricks and into which is formed a cruciform design of local flints from the Peacehaven beach

• Stations of the Cross depicting the last hours of Jesus' life

• Three marquetry panels donated by the artist, A G Hook: Soul at prayer in a deserted place The blessed Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus as she looks along life’s road stretching before them both Christus Rex - Christ shown as King and High Priest reigning from the Cross in triumph over sin and death

• Up-to-date lighting, sound system, toilet and access (including facilities for the disabled)