Building » Stalybridge – St Peter

Stalybridge – St Peter

Off Castle Hall Close, Stalybridge, SK15

A stone-built design of 1838-9, in a thin pre-Puginian Early English Gothic. It was designed by the noted architect Matthew Hadfield, who went on to undertake many important commissions for the Catholic Church. Although the building has been altered it retains a good altar and reredos designed by the well-known architect Edmund Kirby.

A ‘night school’ was established in Stalybridge in 1834 by a Catholic priest. Building work on the church started in 1838, the foundation stone being laid by Matthew Ellison, agent to the Duke of Norfolk’s northern estates. The building was an early work of the noted architect Matthew Hadfield, nephew of Matthew Ellison, who with his various partnerships undertook many important Catholic commissions. The church cost £5,000 and opened in 1839.

In 1869 a new high altar and reredos were added from designs by Edmund Kirby, with carving by T. R. E. Williams and metalwork by Hardman. The relief arches framing the chancel were later adorned with elaborate stencilled decoration but this has now been painted over. The church was refurbished in 1929 when various works took place and confessionals were rebuilt. The altar was brought forward as part of a reordering in the mid-1980s. At the same time a pulpit of 1891 was dismantled and used as parts of an ambo and a font.


A stone-built church in Early English style, with an attached presbytery on the south side of the building. The west front is symmetrical, with a triplet of lancets above the entrance  flanked  by  single  lancets  and  framed  by  pinnacles. There are tall, slim lancets on each side, and an east end with a blocked triplet of lancets and pinnacles at the centre and on each side.

Inside, the chancel is framed internally by three relief arches, continued with one arch on each of the north and south sides. This may be original but it may be an alteration associated the blocking of the east windows. This was probably done to accommodate Kirby’s altar and reredos of 1869. These survive, though the altar was brought forward as part of a reordering of the 1980s. Various other alterations have taken place, including reglazing of most windows, alteration of the gallery and repairs after a fire, and creation of an external ramp.

Update: The church was listed Grade II in 2014, following Taking Stock. List description at:

Heritage Details

Architect: M. E. Hadfield

Original Date: 1939

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II