Stockport Road, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8
A good example of an urban 1930s church designed in Italian Romanesque style. The distinctive exterior is simple but well-detailed and the lofty interior retains its historic spatial character and some original furnishings, but not those of the sanctuary.
Fr Abram from Edgeley parish, Stockport established a mission to Cheadle in 1900, saying Mass in the coach house at Cheadle Hall, owned by the Gillow furniture manufacturing family. A corrugated iron chapel-of-ease was opened on Stockport Road in 1904, dedicated to St Chad, partly named after the place name Cheadle, which means Chad’s Hill. Fr Peter L. Pears was appointed Cheadle’s first parish priest in 1928 and initiated the building of the present church. The new church cost £3,450 and the foundation stone was laid on 24 August 1930 by Bishop Singleton. The presbytery was provided at the same time. Reordering in response to the Second Vatican Council involved the removal of a baldacchino and the bringing forward of the altar; later on the altar rails and pulpit were removed.
The church is designed in a crisp north Italian Romanesque style with an arcaded loggia serving as a west porch. The church is orientated with the entrance front facing the road to the south and the sanctuary to the north; for this description these will be referred to respectively as the liturgical west and east ends. The building is faced in stretcher red Buckley brick, with a tiled roof with deep eaves on brackets. The west entrance is up steps (now ramped), with a three-bay west loggia on stone columns with a semi-circular brick arcade; the central panelled doors have a moulded stone architrave with a circular window over. The north and south elevations of the nave have five tall round-arched recessed windows with steel frames, plain glazing and hopper ventilation. The sanctuary is apsidal, lit by three lancets. A single-storey part-glazed link connects the narthex to the modern hall.
Inside, the church has a lofty interior; the aisleless nave has an exposed seven-bay roof of painted king-post trusses. The floor is laid with wood blocks and the brick walls are plain painted. The semi-circular apse contains a carved grey stone altar, said to be copied from an eighth century Ravenna altar. The sanctuary floor is laid with marble and the east lancet window contains late nineteenth-century stained glass depicting St Chad, brought here from an Anglican church in Birkenhead. Flanking the sanctuary are statues to the Sacred Heart and Our Lady, both good examples of 1930s carved wooden sculpture. The oak pews are 1930s, while the sanctuary lectern and clergy chairs were introduced in 2010. At the west end, the narthex is divided from the nave by a post-war part-glazed screen; the baptistery was formerly to the south end and confessional was to the north, now removed for the link to the hall. A cast-iron spiral stair provides access to the organ loft above the narthex; the pipe organ is disused.
Architect: W. B. Edwards
Original Date: 1931
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed