Bentinck Road, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14
A fine building designed by Edmund Kirby, incorporating Early English and Decorated motifs and Continental Gothic forms and displaying the architect’s trademark interest in texture and decorative brickwork. The interior is little altered and retains early twentieth century furnishings of note, including the high altar and side altars. The church makes a positive contribution to the Devisdale Conservation Area.
Mass was said in private houses in Altrincham from 1847 and in the 1850s a pair of cottages was bought and converted. A school was later added. The facilities became inadequate to meet the needs of the Catholic population and were replaced in 1904-05 by the present church, designed by Edmund Kirby. A presbytery was completed a little later. Sanctuary furnishings of marble were installed in 1910 and a pulpit in 1911. The Lady Chapel altar followed in 1912. The sanctuary was reordered in 1985, when the floor level was raised and the furnishings reset. Other work undertaken at the same time included new floors, decoration and lighting. Built in 1904-05 to the design of the noted Liverpool architect Edmund Kirby, the church is executed in red brick and red terracotta and in its design incorporates Early English and Decorated motifs as well as Continental Gothic forms. The west frontdisplays raised brick decoration favoured by the architect. The plan consists of an aisled nave with clerestory, canted apse and short transepts. The west front incorporates a wide, heavily moulded entrance arch, tall lancets, flanking pinnacles and gable with vesica opening. Windows are generally lancets, the clerestory with pairs of lancets. The east end, which has Decorated style windows, is arranged in a picturesque manner, with counterpoint between the differing roof shapes and vertical elements. This end was apparently not finished as intended owing to lack of funds. A modest red brick presbytery is attached.
The interior has arcades of alternating circular and octagonal columns of red sandstone, except the two in the sanctuary which are of polished granite. There is an ornate hammer beam roof over the nave. The two-bay transepts have confessionals. The high altar and reredos are ornately executed in alabaster and marble with carved scenes. The forward altar is a modification of the original high altar. The side altars also have ornate alabaster and marble altars and reredoses, as well as rails of alabaster with metalwork gates. Other similar furnishings include a pulpit and font. There is good stained glass, probably of early twentieth century date, in the sanctuary and chapels. The south chapel also has glass of mid-1960s date, in traditional style. At the west end is a pitch pine gallery with an open stair on the south side.
Architect: Edmund Kirby
Original Date: 1905
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed