Building » Ellesmere Port (Hooton) – St Mary of the Angels

Ellesmere Port (Hooton) – St Mary of the Angels

Welsh Road, Hooton, Cheshire CH66

A distinctive church, designed with great care and attention to detail. The interior displays imaginative and unusual touches, such as the sparing use of contrasting stone, a vaulted canted apse and good stained glass. The slightly later Stanley chapel may be by Edmund Kirby; it is in matching style and adds to the special interest of the building.

Hooton Hall was an old centre of recusancy, but ceased to be in Catholic hands in 1850. A mission was re-established in 1865 (Plumb says 1866) and a room in the newly-built priest’s house used for saying Mass. The present church and attached cemetery were made possible in 1878-9 through the patronage of Sir John Stanley Errington (Lord Stanley) of Hooton Hall, who also provided the furnishings and vestments. Cottages beside the church were built in order to generate income through rents. The church was built from designs by E. J. Tarver, a pupil of Benjamin Ferrey. It opened in August 1879, and The Tablet (6 September 1879) provided the following account:

‘The beautiful new church of St. Mary of the Angels, Hooton, Cheshire, which was opened last month by the Bishop of Coricum, Auxiliary to the Bishop of Shrewsbury, was built and entirely decorated and furnished by Sir John Stanley Errington, Bart. It is a handsome structure, consisting of a nave and chancel. The red stone of which it is built was obtained from the estate of Sir John Stanley Errington at Puddington. The style of architecture is the Early Decorated. The roof over the nave is of open Ditch pine; that over the chancel is groined and vaulted, and faced with yellow Stourton stone. The chancel terminates in a semi-octagonal apse, in which are seven painted windows of beautiful design and workmanship. The high altar and side altars are exceedingly rich and costly. These, together with statues of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, one of Our Lady, and one of St. Joseph, were selected by Lady Errington, and brought from Paris. The whole of the beautiful needlework in the sanctuary was wrought by Lady Errington and her friends. The church will accommodate about 200 worshippers. Mr. J. Tarver, of Charing-cross, London, was the architect, and the stained-glass windows were executed by Messrs. Heaton, Butler, and Bayne, of Garrick-street, London.’

A chapel for the Stanley family on the north side of the church was added in matching style in the 1880s, possibly from designs by Edmund Kirby (whose involvement here is mentioned in the Kirby catalogue in the Liverpool archives; information from Fr Peter Phillips). An archive photograph in the presbytery shows the original high altar with a stepped reredos incorporating candlesticks. The sanctuary was reordered at the end of the 1990s and new furnishings introduced. At the same time the north baptistery or chapel was sealed off with a partition for use as a confessional. A parish hall was attached to the presbytery in 2003.


For further details of the building, see the list entry, below. To this account the following can be added: The building adopts thirteenth century Gothic style with plate traceried windows and lancets. It is built of red sandstone ashlar using coursed masonry blocks of varying size and thickness. The apse is canted and there is a chapel and semicircular chapel on the north side of the apse with a semicircular pyramidal roof. Inside, the apse is vaulted in contrasting buff stone. There are sets of sedilia on each side of the apse with backs also in contrasting stone. The chancel arch springs from foliated corbels and has nailhead decoration on the underside. On each side of the chancel arch are niches, one with a trefoiled head, the other simply arched, formerly containing statues. The open timber roof is scissor-braced. The Trafford Chapel contains a large stone table tomb. Stained glass is generally of high standard, with windows in the chapel by Mayer of Munich as well as those by Heaton, Butler & Bayne mentioned above. Other glass includes a Noakes memorial of circa 1886 with unusual cut glass roundels, perhaps a reference to Noakes’s profession as a jeweller. There is a forward altar and pulpit of white and brown polished stone introduced at the end of the 1990s.

List description


Roman Catholic Church, 1879 by E J Tarver. Red sandstone. Nave, apsed chancel, round apsed north chapel, vestry/sacristy; a small open belfry on ridge; narthex under pentice roof has 5 carved panels with the symbols of the evangelists. Rose west window of 4 trefoils; nave windows have plate tracery; lancets to chancel; the west window of the north chapel forms a spherical triangle over 3 lancets containing glass by Mayer of Munich. Listing NGR: SJ3629578238


Amended by AHP 19.02.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: E. J. Tarver

Original Date: 1879

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II