High Street, Saltney, CH4 8SF
A small church dating from 1914, built to serve the industrial suburb of Saltney, just west of Chester across the Welsh border. It has a simple plan consisting of nave and apsidal sanctuary and is built of Ruabon brick with simple decorative work that is characteristic of the area. It has a modest presence on the busy High Street.
The parish was established in 1914 when the present church was built, but prior to that (from 1862) the community was served by the Franciscan friars from Chester. With industries established in the area from the late nineteenth century, a sizeable Irish population developed, and a school-chapel was built in 1878 on the south side of High Street, on land given by the Duke of Westminster (the building, designed by the Liverpool architect James O’Byrne, survives in altered form).
The Franciscans handed the parish over to the Bishop of Menevia in 1913, and the present church was built on the opposite side of High Street in the following year. The presbytery was acquired soon after the church was built and is one of a pair of semi-detached houses dating from about 1910. A small link connecting house and church was built in the late 1980s.
The church is slightly set back from the busy High Street behind a low brick wall with stone copings and triangular pediments to the gate piers. It consists of a five-bay nave with an apsidal sanctuary and a west porch facing the road. It is built of red Ruabon brick with minimal stone dressings and brick decoration in the form of herringbone and diaper patterns, stepped eaves and moulded architraves. The roof is slate.
The side windows have arched heads, and the gabled west end has a circular window surmounted by a carved stone cross. A small brick and stone porch with side entrances, rusticated brick pilasters and a stone-carved emblem of Christ represented by the crown of thorns and XP projects forward of the west end. A lean-to sacristy and confessional, possibly slightly later in date, are attached to the south side of the church.
The interior of the nave has a shallow barrel-vaulted ceiling with modillion cornice and rosette decoration to the cross beams. The walls are plastered and painted white except for exposed brick architraves to the windows and the semi-circular brick sanctuary arch. The windows in the nave have plain glass, while those in the sanctuary have early-twentieth century stained glass depicting the nativity and the crucifixion. The Gothic-style altar with tabernacle, probably brought in from another church, remains in place. Plaster statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Anthony of Padua, set in niches, flank the sanctuary arch. Carved timber Stations of the Cross are probably contemporary with the church.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1914
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed