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 by a pupil of E. W. Pugin, 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 1878-79 through the patronage of 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. A chapel for the Stanley family on the north side of the church was extended in matching style in the 1880s, possibly 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 details of the building, see the listed 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 and includes windows in the chapel by Mayer of Munich. 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.

Heritage Details

Architect: E. J. Tarver

Original Date: 1879

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: II