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An occasional venture into old newpaper cuttings

Liverpool Weekly Courier

Saturday 22 May 1869


Cheshire Observer

Saturday 18 January 1868




Sir,—As you are aware there is a move to condemn this old Church, and, if the funds can be raised, to pull it down and rebuild it; already there have been one or two irregular meetings on the subject. Looking at the present financial state of the county, and with Bunbury and other places as examples, I think these are not the times for pulling down old parish churches and it behoves the iconoclasts to pause, before they enter upon an undertaking which, before it is finished, will most likely bring both themselves and the parish into difficulties. "O! but," they say, "the church is in danger." One alarmist says, "The steeple is out of the perpendicular, and will speedily fall." Another says, the foundation is bad, and a third party that the church has a "crack" in it. I will make no comments about cracks, but how many old houses are there in Chester, that have cracks in them, and that are out of the perpendicular too, but in which people are still not afraid to live, neither are they considered dangerous. It is only a few months since £350 was sought to be raised, for warming the church by hot air, removing the pews, and introducing open benches in their stead (into the very church they are now about condemn), towards meeting the expense of which it was proposed the small rent of three or four shillings per annum should be charged for each sitting, a thing unknown in the church before, and to which the parishioners would not submit. Last year, there was also a good deal of money laid out on the church, inputting stays or tension rods to bind the walls where the principals had been erroneously cut, but the job was never finished, although it is said there was money in hand to do so. Now, it is the opinion of many of the parishioners, if the rector would restore his portion of the church—the chancel,—and the parishioners their part of the edifice (both of which ought to have been done long ago), Tattenhall Church would still last for a hundred years when the next generation had passed away. As for room, with one or two exceptions, for the last 10 or 12 years, the church has never been half full, and the last two or three Sundays it has been nearly empty. The appeal states that Tattenhall now contains about 1,400 inhabitants, but it is a well-known fact that Tattenhall has long been a semi-Nonconformist parish, and that there are two chapels in the place, so that the churchmen are a very small band, and require very little church room. The appeal states that there is about £1,200 promised, but what is that, and, I ask, are there not certain conditions attached to part of this money at variance with the principle which should govern parish churches, which is, as I have always understood, that where no vested rights exist, there can be no reservations as regards seats; that all seats must be open and free, to be assigned by the churchwardens according to the principle of ecclesiastical law, to all parishioners, rich and poor, as far as the accommodation extends. Under these circumstances, I respectfully suggest if the advocates of re-building think a new church so much wanted, that a district church or a chapel-of-ease be built (according to the provisions of the Church Building Act), but to pull down the old parish church would be like killing an old man before his time. Besides, what confusion and desecration it would make amongst the graves! 
In conclusion, how is it that the promoters go about their work in such an unbusinesslike way ? putting anonymous notices on the church doors, and giving notice during divine service, contrary to Act of Parliament. It looks as if they were half ashamed of what they are about, but I suppose the object is to feel the pulse of the parishioners, by what one may call a side-wind.

I remain, yours,

Chester Chronicle

Saturday 12 February 1870


Cheshire Observer

Saturday 19 November 1870




On Thursday, the re-opening of Tattenhall parish Church took place, and notwithstanding that it was a cold wet day, the congregations were very large.  In the morning, the petition for consecration having been read by the bishop's secretary (Mr. C. J. Parry), the bishop proceeded to consecrate the church and some land added to the Churchyard, in the usual form. Prayers were then read by the rector, the Rev. P. H. Holmes, the first lesson by the Rev. F. C. Royds, of Coddington, and the second lesson by the Rev. W. Luteuer, of Harthill. The communion service was read by the Bishop of Chester, who preached from 1 Peter ii, 5, "Ye, also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to otfer up spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." The collection at the close was £42 5s. 9d. In the afternoon, the sermon was preached by the Rev. E. G. Arnold, of Barrow, from John vi, 37 — "Him that comcth unto me I will in nowise cast out." The clergy present were the Revs. Canon Turner, of Aldford; F. C. Royds, Coddington; W. Lutener, Harthill; C. W. Cox, Malpas; J. Lea, Shocklach; F. W. Parry, Bickerton ;B. W. Johnstone, Farndon; A. Wright, Tilstone; E. G. Arnold, Barrow; F. E. Hopewood, Congleton; E. Roberts, Bunbury; E. Titley, Burswardsley; J. H. Saltar, Tattenhall; W. B. Marsden, Chester; C. Brown, Chester ; R. P. Holmes, Tattenhall; H. Smith, inspector of schools. Select parties of the clergy and laity present upon the occasion were severally hospitability entertained by the Rev. A. P. Holmes at the Rectory; by the Rev. H. Smith, at his residence; and by R. Barbour Esq., (of Bolesworth) in the schoolroom. The church which is dedicated to St. Alban, is in the deanery of Malpas, and the living, which is in the gift of the Lord Bishop of Chester, is held by the Rev. A. Holmes (a son of Mr. James Holmes, of Liver pool,) he having been appointed to it within the last year. Shortly before the death of the late rector, the Rev. Fielding Ould, M.A. (formerly of Christ Church in Liverpool,) it was resolved, in consequence of the dilapidated state of the building, to have it completely restored. About twelve months ago the work was commenced under the direction of Mr. Douglas, architect, Chester, the contractor being Mr. G. Woollams, builder, Tattenhall. With the exception of the tower and the side walls, the building was pulled entirely down, and the work of enlargement and restoration commenced. The space formerly occupied by the old chancel was included in the main body of the church and extended in breadth, and a new chancel was built at the eastern end. The church, as it is now built, consists of a tower, a nave with side aisles, an organ chamber and vestry, a lady chapel, and chancel. The tower is a square, embattled structure of stone, built in the reign of Henry VI. or VII., and contains a peal of five bells. From the level of the leads project short, grotesque gargoyles, and two empty niches, probably once containing figures of St. Alban and the Virgin Mary, occupy prominent positions above the new oaken door. The initials "R. H." and "M. R. D." on shields below the niches have given rise to antiquarian controversies. Inside, the tower is open up to the roof of the nave, but a screen of varnished pine, panelled with lights of coloured glass in geometrical devices, conceals the ringers from the view of the congregation. The west, or tower window, is of stained glass, the subjects being scriptural. It was the gift of Mr. R. O. Orton, churchwarden. A stained glass window, representing scenes in the life of Christ, is placed at the south side of the tower and is the gift of Mr. J. Stevens and pupils. The nave is divided from each side aisle by four arches springing from pillars. The roof of the nave is supported by four principals, which, as well as the rafters, are of varnished pitch pine. The nave roof has been raised about ten feet from those of the side aisles, and in the intermediate walls, on each side four clerestory windows have been pierced. This alteration not only adds greatly to the appearance of the building, but throws a large increase of light upon every part of the interior. The windows on each side of the aisles have been thoroughly renewed. The old box pews have been replaced with open ones (a portion of which only are free), which are calculated to accommodate 500 persons. The walls not pulled down were re-dressed in the interior. The font and pulpit are both of carved Minera stone. The fomer is the gift of the Rev. James Smith. The organ chamber and vestry are on the north side of what was formerly the chancel, and form a sort of north transept, while a similar transept called the Lady Chapel, is on the south side. The new chancel is raised, and in the centre is paved with encaustic tiles. The foremost pews are more decorated than the others, and are reserved to the families of the rector and Mr. R. Barbour, of Bolesworth. The space inside the communion enclosure is again raised, and is also paved with encaustic tiles. At present, no reredos has been erected. The eastern window has been presented as a memorial of the late rector, the Rev. F. Ould, by his friends. It is of stained glass and the principal subjects it illustrates are the crucifixion and scenes in connection therewith. In a window at the south of the chancel the stained glass which was formerly in the east window re-placed. It contains an effigy of St Alban and the arms of the unfortunate Lord Audley, lately refered to, by whom the window was presented. The principal monuments in the interior are a hatchment and two marble tablets to the memory of members of the Davie family, and a brass, in a curiously carved slate frame, to the memory of John Bird, of Broxton, gentleman, his three wives, and their children. The comfort of the congregation has been secured by the laying down of a heating apparatus and the introduction of gas.

The new porch at the south-eastern end of the church has been given by Mr. Brodbelt, merchant, of Liverpool and Tattenhall, and is most unique. Panels of parian are framed around by oak beams crossing one another, and in some places richly carved. Each side of the porch is pierced for three gothic stained glass lights. In this, as throughout the whole of the restoration, the character of the perpendicular style of gothic has been tastefully preserved in a manner not always attained in buildings of this character. The cost of the restoration is about £3500, of which over £3000 has been already subscribed. Mr. R. Barbour gave the sum of £1000 towards the building fund, Mr. R. O. Orton gave £250, and Mr. William Harding, coal merchant, of Liverpool gave £220. 

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