Visit this impressive red-bricked Anglican church that was the first to be built for the Church of England in Macclesfield. When Charles Roe, the industrialist, received permission to build this ‘house of God’, the government insisted the church be up and running within a year. Charles Roe built it in 8 months between Easter and Christmas in 1775 at a total cost of £8,000.
The church was an engineering marvel in its time as Roe used cast iron columns to support the galleries. In 1777 the 126 foot tall tower and its ten bells followed. The tower now contains a clock that was made by Smith of Derby in 1902.
On each side of the altar you can see panels of grey marble from 1875 which show the Ten Commandments, and to the left of the altar on the wall there is a memorial for Charles Roe. It shows a lady named ‘Genius’, the bust of Charles Roe and a cog wheel with missing teeth. Genius mourns the death of Roe and the death of industry, hence the broken cog wheel.
The altar to the right of the memorial dates back to 1883 and the communion rails are original. The original three-decker pulpit is no longer there, but a picture of the pulpit can be seen next to a model of the pulpit which was created by students of the Manchester Polytechnic Department of Architecture & Landscape.
As you walk along the aisle, see how the floor is paved with Macclesfield stone flags and admire the high wooden box pews where many members of the congregation would sit. It was also possible for church-goers (up to the 1940s) to buy space in the box pews and they often built a drawer under their seat for their belongings. Nobody else could sit there. There are also some fine example of stained glass windows as well as a large organ to view.
You can even see some original sermon pamphlets from 1875.
The church was declared redundant in 1983 and is now looked after by the Church Conservation Trust, a group of enthusiasts who were instrumental in saving the church in the 1980s and who still work hard to ensure that the building continues to play an important role in Macclesfield’s busy town.
If you would like more information about the church, for £1.00 can buy in the church an information booklet called ‘Christ Church – Macclesfield, Cheshire’ written by Tim and Julie Brinton. The historical research in the book is by Dorothy Bentley Smith.
There is always a friendly guide on site to give you some interesting facts and information about this historic church.
Opening Times: April to September on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 10.00am to 3.00pm and every second and fourth Saturday from 10.00am – 1.30pm.
October to March on Mondays from 10.00am to 3.00pm
For further information please visit: http://www.visitchurches.org.uk