Founded as a mission to the poor at the height of the Oxford Movement, the Church of the Annunciation in Brighton became the battleground between extreme Protestant anti-ritualists and Catholic Revivalists in the mid-nineteenth century.
This book tells the story of the people of Hanover and its priests, documenting their struggles with poverty and sectarianism, as the Annunciation became the focus of civil and ecclesiastical litigation, street violence and even the kidnap of its idolatrous artefacts.
The oldest surviving Anglican church to reserve and venerate the Sacrament, and to proclaim the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Annunciation then came to international attention in the early twentieth century when its priests abandoned the Church of England to join the Roman Catholic Communion, in what became known as the Brighton Church Crisis .
The reverberations of the Annunciation Troubles continue right down into the twenty-first century, as the awkward squad of Brighton Anglo-Catholic churches stand their ground against an increasingly secular and liberalising society.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the little church on the hill, Stephen has delved into its archives to uncover its secret, previously hidden history.