The Chapel Royal was designed by Thomas Saunders for the Reverend Thomas Hudson. The Prince Regent laid the corner stone on 25 November 1793 and attended the first service on 3 August 1795 but he was not a regular worshipper at the church.
By an Act of Parliament of 1803 (43 Geo III c91) the chapel was constituted a perpetual curacy and made a chapel of ease to Brighton St Nicholas, the parish church; the right of nomination was reserved to the vicar of Brighton.
The building remained largely unchanged until 1876 when the Reverend C S Childer raised funds to remodel the building's interior under the superintendence of the architect Arthur Blomfield. On the demolition of the buildings along the chapel's North Street Frontage in 1880 the opportunity was taken to rebuild the exterior, with the addition of new entrances and a clock tower. The alterations, again to Blomfield's designs, were finished in 1882.
In 1896 the Revd John Julius Hannah conveyed the chapel to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but the vaults were reserved and were leased to a wine merchant, producing an income equivalent to the interest on the £2000 which Hannah's father had spent in buying the building. The Chapel Royal was assigned a conventual district in 1897 but was merged with St Peter's in 1978. Special services for the congregation of Holy Trinity were held at the Chapel Royal after the closure of that church in 1984.
Until 1873 the parish church of Brighton was St Nicholas, while the churches serving the newly developing urban districts in the parish were daughter churches or chapels of ease. The registers before 1873, therefore, contain entries of services performed at the various daughter churches, which were returned by the clergy concerned for inclusion in the main series. No indication is given of which church is involved, and this can only be deduced from comparison of the name of the officiating minister with the Rev G Hennessy Chichester Diocese Clergy Lists (1900) and Crockford's Clerical Directory. Some of the chapels also kept their own series of registers while continuing to make their entries in the main parish series.
In 1873 St Peter's church was constituted as the parish church of Brighton, and the parish records and administrative centre were transferred there from St Nicholas. At the same time, many of the former chapels of ease were constituted separate parish churches and began at this date, or in the following decade, to keep their own series of registers, independent of the main series.
Summary of contents:
PAR259/1/2 Baptism registers; 1823-1914
PAR259/1/3 Marriage registers; 1897-1953
PAR259/1/2 Banns registers; 1922-1970
PAR259/2 Copies of registers and related papers; 1897-1960
PAR259/3 Service registers; 1877-1997
PAR259/4 Buildings; 1776-1960
PAR259/6 Income of the benefice; 1855-1964
PAR259/7 Other records; 1818-1976
PAR259/10 Property; 1897-1952
PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL
PAR259/14 Minutes; 1920-1977
PAR259/15 Accounts; 1927-1971
PAR259/16 Other records; 1928-1967
PAR259/26 Posters and appeals; 1857-1915