The road now named New Church Road is the old route between the ancient villages of Hove and Aldrington. There was some Roman and Saxon activity at Aldrington, but severe decline set in during the 18th and 19th centuries, such that only one person was living there by 1831. The rapid residential growth of Hove in the mid-19th century stimulated development in Aldrington from around 1850, however, and St Leonard’s Church was rebuilt from its ruined state to serve the area. By 1894, Aldrington and Hove had merged, and the population of Aldrington alone exceeded 2,200. It was decided that a chapel of ease was needed to serve the area east of St Leonard’s Church. Its rector bought land from the Duke of Portland in November of that year and commissioned Sir George Gilbert Scott’s son John Oldrid Scott to design a church.