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Church of St Chad

A Grade II* Listed Building in Whitefield, Knowsley

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4843 / 53°29'3"N

Longitude: -2.893 / 2°53'34"W

OS Eastings: 340837

OS Northings: 398990

OS Grid: SJ408989

Mapcode National: GBR 8X74.GP

Mapcode Global: WH86W.JPL7

Entry Name: Church of St Chad

Listing Date: 20 June 1975

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1356211

English Heritage Legacy ID: 215183

Location: Knowsley, L32

County: Knowsley

Electoral Ward/Division: Whitefield

Built-Up Area: Kirkby

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Kirkby St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Kirkby

Listing Text

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 22/06/2015

703/1/12

OLD HALL LANE
CHURCH OF ST CHAD

20-JUN-75

GV
II*
Church, 1869-71 by architects Paley & Austin of Lancaster. Built in a transitional Romanesque / Gothic style of coursed red sandstone with steep red tile roofs. North and South porches up steps, tall nave with aisles and clerestoreys, crossing tower, North organ loft, South chapel, short square-ended sanctuary.

EXTERIOR: West end with single pointed lights terminating aisles and centrally three pointed lights below 3 stepped tall lancets. Porch in SW bay with Norman entrance aperture and statue in gable niche, inner doorway ornately Romanesque, containing paired doors with decorative ironwork. Similar North porch blocked. Nave of 6 bays, aisles with single windows with drip mouldings, clerestorey windows single in Westernmost bay and otherwise paired beneath continuous string course, all pointed lancets. The three stage tower with its blunt saddleback roof sits over the crossing with paired pointed windows in the lower stage. The North and South sides each have one pointed belfry arch, the East and West two; all containing paired louvred apertures. Octagonal stair shaft (vice) on SE tower corner with slated conical roof. The corner buttresses on the North and South sides of the tower descend to ground as massive buttressing walls with steep tiled copings and terminate in further gabled buttresses with steep weatherings. These walls form the South chapel with round window and moulded pointed doorway, and North organ loft the same. The sanctuary has blind arcading, three pointed lancets and round window in gable, with paired tapering and weathered corner buttresses.

INTERIOR: Pointed aisle arcades with plain stylised Corinthian capitals to round columns on South side, octagonal on the North. Clerestorey and segmentally vaulted ceiling. Early Norman red sandstone font at West end with figures round the basin including Adam and Eve, with St. Michael spearing the serpent which forms a rope moulding below. Stem and base also have fat serpentine mouldings. Pews throughout accessed centrally and at walls. Very tall chancel arches at the crossing, with rib vaulted stone ceiling high up inside the tower. Circular stone pulpit to left, reading desk to right. Raised chancel with encaustic floor tiles, 1907 organ in North chapel and carved wooden choir stalls on both sides, leading to sanctuary with blind arcading, aumbry and tripartite sedilia. Sumptuous opus sectile reredos mural of 1898 by Henry Holiday spanning East wall, depicting the Last Supper, with surround of angels and virtues.

STAINED GLASS: Dating from 1871-1897; three West windows depicting scenes from the life of Christ, South aisle windows with saints, North aisle windows with women from the Old Testament, four corner windows of Archangels and four East windows (under repair at time of visit), an unusual complete set of church windows by Holiday (St. Mary Magdalene, Paddington, listed Grade I, is another). The central Western lancet depicting Jacob's Ladder is not signed, but might be by H. G. Hiller.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Cross in the churchyard marking the site of the chapel of 1766 which was replaced by the present church. A lych-gate gives entrance to the graveyard, whose gable-coped walls were reportedly built using stone from the old chapel.

HISTORY: By tradition there has been a church here since c.870 AD. The current church was built for the 4th Earl of Sefton to replace a chapel of 1766. That chapel itself replaced an earlier structure of unknown date but which might have been in the same location.

H. J. Austin joined E. G. Paley's Lancaster architectural practice in 1868, and over the next 25 years they became the premier church architects in the North West of England, producing large numbers of churches of national significance, many of which are highly graded listed buildings. St. Chad's was one of their earliest collaborations, which Pevsner considered to be "one of their most powerful".

Henry Holiday (1839-1927) was an artist at the heart of the Arts and Crafts movement, being a founder member of The Fifteen, the Art Workers' Guild and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. In a career devoted primarily to applied decorative art he exhibited paintings and sculpture at the Royal Academy and became an influential force in British stained glass, rejecting mediaevalism in favour of modern aesthetic design. His work is featured in many churches, and the I. K. Brunel memorial window in Westminster Abbey is contemporaneous with the East windows at St. Chad's. He also designed murals for Worcester College chapel, Oxford and for Bradford and Rochdale Town Halls, illustrated Lewis Carroll's 'Hunting of the Snark', and commissions following an 1890 trip to the U.S and Canada included the Robert E. Lee memorial in St. Paul's, Richmond, Virginia and the windows of Holy Trinity church, Manhattan, New York.

Opus sectile originally referred to designs produced in a similar manner to mosaic but using larger, more regular pieces. In the Victorian period the term was also applied to a material which is suitable for painting, that is created from ground waste coloured glass. The process is believed to have been invented by James Powell and Sons, although it was given the name by Clayton and Bell. Using this material for a traditional opus sectile style work allowed the addition of painted detail to enhance its decorative quality and similarity to stained glass.

The Church of St. Chad and the Vicarage (q.v.), Stables (q.v.) and Gate Piers (q.v.) form a group with Kirkby Hall Lodge (q.v.).

SOURCES:

Armstrong, B&W, "The Arts & Crafts Movement in the North West of England", 2005 P.131

Cormack, Peter, "Holiday, Henry George Alexander (1839-1927)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

Pollard, R. and Pevsner, N., "The Buildings of England - Lancashire: Liverpool and the South West", Yale University Press 2006, pp. 213-4

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: This mid C19 church is a well executed design which successfully combines robustness with elegance. It is an early and little altered example of the work of Paley & Austin, a premier church building practice of the time in a national context. The interior has been well preserved and includes a rare early Norman font. In particular the very high quality stained glass and reredos form a unified scheme which is of special interest as a nationally significant collection of the work of Henry Holiday, a noted artist at the heart of the Arts and Crafts movement, and which enhances the special interest of the overall design, supporting the church's inclusion in Grade II*.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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