Building » Congleton – St Mary

Congleton – St Mary

West Road, Congleton, Cheshire CW12

The oldest Catholic church in use in Cheshire, designed along with its contemporary attached presbytery by Dr Hall, the mission priest. The church follows the common pre-Emancipation pattern in its plain, Nonconformist character. It retains its original marble sarcophagus high altar.

The Revd Dr Hall established a mission to Congleton in 1821 and land for a chapel was bought in 1825. The church was built to his design in 1826 and the presbytery, also designed by Dr Hall, followed in 1830 (Plumb states that it was built at the same time as the church). A cemetery was opened on the other side of the church but it was replaced by a school in 1856 enlarged on various occasions, including during the 1870s. The sanctuary was reordered in 1969. The school was replaced during the1970s and the old building converted to a club. The church was refurbished in 2000-01.

The list entry, below, describes the exterior but makes no mention of the interior. This has a west gallery of timber. The apse is rounded and is framed by Ionic columns. Ionic pilasters continue along the wall behind. The sarcophagus marble altar dates from 1826; it is supplemented by a modern forward altar. There is simple modern bench seating. The church also contains a brass memorial tablet to Thomas Swettenham of Swettenham Hall (d.1861) and a large modern canvas painting of St Margaret Ward, martyr (who was born in Congleton), by a local artist, Clare Barker.

Heritage Details

Architect: Revd Dr John Hall

Original Date: 1826

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: II