Building » Middlewich – St Mary

Middlewich – St Mary

King Street, Middlewich, Cheshire CW10

A small church by Edmund Kirby, its materials, use of contrasting brickwork patterning, vesica motifs and elaborate roof timbering all typical of Kirby’s ecclesiastical work. However, the church lacks the elaboration and strong character of many of his other commissions and has been reordered, with loss of original chancel furnishings.

A mission was established at Middlewich in 1865, with a school-church in an old salt building in Wych House Lane. The building and plot had been acquired at auction for £160, and the building adapted for church use by Edmund Kirby of Birkenhead. The Tablet (16 September 1865) described the building as ‘of brick, with excellent roof of pine timber, well slated and fitted with new iron spouts; the windows are quite new and of an ecclesiastical pattern, and are much admired; the flooring is of wood, and the vestry partitioned off in same material at east-end of the chapel. There is accommodation on the ground floor for 200 persons.’

The present church was built in 1890-1 on land given by Col. Charles Hosken France Hayhurst, High Sheriff of Cheshire. The architect is said to have been again Edmund Kirby. The presbytery was added in 1894. In 1939 the church floor was replaced, a gallery erected and a new high altar and outer door added. More recently there has been a reordering of the chancel, which could itself be a later addition.


The church is of red brick with red terracotta dressings in free Early English style with lancets, and the front is embellished with brickwork diaper patterning in brighter red brick. There is a south porch, two small projecting chapels towards the east end, and small canted apse, which could be a later addition, or may be original, subject to later remodelling.

The interior has an open timber roof rising from internal wall posts and a west gallery with an openwork screen below dividing the nave from a narthex. Two small chapels towards the chancel open from the main body of the building. The chancel has been reordered  in  recent years with simple modern furnishings and a forward altar. Stained glass in the south Lady Chapel appears to be of early to mid-twentieth century date and shows the Virgin and Our Lady of Lourdes. Other glass includes small panels with signs of the Evangelists at the east end. Seating is a mixture of simple benches with upholstered chairs at the front.

Amended by AHP 08.02.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Edmund Kirby

Original Date: 1891

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed