Building » Stockport – St Ambrose

Stockport – St Ambrose

Adswood Road, Adswood, Stockport, Cheshire SK3

A plain, robust example of a medium-sized church built to serve an inter-war suburban estate. Its blocky Romanesque design is similar to other churches designed by Hill Sandy & Norris in this style. The aisled interior retains some original fittings such as pews and an attractive set of late 1930s Stations of the Cross.

Inside, the lofty nave has an eight-bay king-post roof with exposed timbers and plain semi-circular headed aisle arcades. The walls are plain plastered above a brick dado and the floor is laid with teak blocks. The spacious re-ordered sanctuary is enclosed with wrought iron parclose screens to north and south.  Other 1930s fittings include a pair of carved and gilded wooden statues to the Sacred Heart and Our Lady, the nave pews and in the narthex, wrought-iron grilles and baptistery gates. The low relief Stations of the Cross are from the Tyrol and were set up in February 1939. The post- Conciliar forward altar is carved and painted oak, probably by Heys & Finch. The sacristy has oak fittings.

After Vatican II, the sanctuary was re-ordered in the mid 1970s by removing the high altar, low walls and rails. The basement hall was used for fund-raising social events such as dances until the late twentieth century.

The church building is orientated with the sanctuary to the west and the entrance front facing the road to the east; for this description the former will be referred to as the liturgical east end. The church is constructed of brown brick laid in Flemish bond, with  blue  brick  dressings  and  a  slate  roof.  The  church  is  raised  above  a  large basement hall, with steep concrete steps to the west doorway; the plan consists of aisled nave, shallow sanctuary and transepts and rectangular west tower. The semi- circular arched west doorway is recessed in a stepped brick surround, with double panelled doors and above, a mosaic tympanum depicting the pelican in her piety.

Above the door is a ceramic figure of St Ambrose, and a six-light wheel window. The tower has a blocky profile with semi-circular headed openings to the upper stage. The basement level is faced in blue brick with paired steel windows. The lean-to aisles and transepts have round-headed steel windows, in pairs but the clerestory is blind. The sacristies and confessionals along the north side are flat-roofed.

Adswood was developed as an early 1930s estate to the southwest of Stockport. The site off Adswood Road was bought by Canon Bernard Bell from Edgeley parish for £450.  The church was built at a cost of £15,000, by contractors G. and J. Seddon of Bolton, from designs by Hill Sandy & Norris (the church is exactly contemporary with their St Edward, Macclesfield, qv). The church was opened at a Mass on 1 January 1939 by Bishop Moriarty. The sloping site allowed the church to be built over a basement parish hall.

Heritage Details


Original Date: 1939

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed