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English Martyrs' Catholic Church, Goring-by-Sea facts for kids

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English Martyrs Catholic Church, Goring-by-Sea
Church of the English Martyrs, Goring-by-Sea, Worthing.jpg
The church from the northeast
50°48′57″N 0°25′40″W / 50.8158°N 0.4277°W / 50.8158; -0.4277
Denomination Roman Catholic
Status Parish church
Dedication English Martyrs
Consecrated 1970
Functional status Active
Architectural type Church, utilitarian
Completed 1968
Width 13 metres (44 ft)
Deanery Worthing
Diocese Arundel & Brighton
Province Southwark

English Martyrs' Church is in Compton Avenue, Goring-by-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex, England. It is an active Roman Catholic parish church in the diocese of Arundel & Brighton and the Worthing deanery. Hand-painted by Gary Bevans over five and a half years, English Martyrs' Church has the world's only known reproduction of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, which has been described as "a marvel" and "astonishing".

Reproduction of Sistine Chapel ceiling

Following a visit with his wife and children to the Sistine Chapel in Rome for the beatification of the English Martyrs in 1987, sign-painter Gary Bevans was inspired to paint a copy of the Sistine Chapel frescoes on the ceiling of English Martyrs' Church. The frescoes painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel from 1508 are regarded as one of the major artistic accomplishments of human civilisation. Bevans realised that English Martyrs' Church is the same width as the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and slightly shorter in length. Bevans had already produced works of art for the church. These included images of two of the English Martyrs - St Thomas More and St John Fisher, and a painting of the Last Supper which unusually includes Mary on Jesus' left, a young child and a Yorkshire Terrier.

Having secured the backing of the parish priest he received permission from the bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and began work later in 1987. Bevans completed the painting of the ceiling in 1993, five and a half years later. Bevans completed the works by himself, working in the evening and at weekends, in addition to his full-time job. The painted area is on a wooden vaulted surface fixed to the church roof, painted white, with frescos painted in acrylic paint.

The church also has a stained glass west window installed in 1990, by Annie Goodman and coloured Irish glass in the clerestory.

Adjoining barn

Next to the church lies the barn that is used as a church hall. Built in 1771 for George Jupp, a local farmer, the barn with its outbuildings was designated as a Grade II listed building on 31 January 1989. In December 1937 the barn was in a derelict state when it was bought with adjoining land and turned into a chapel, with priests from St Mary of the Angels in the centre of Worthing saying mass. When the new parish was created in 1952 the barn was used as a church until it was replaced by the present church building.

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