Chester Road, Stretford, Manchester M32
An interesting and important design by E. W. Pugin, deploying favoured motifs to impressive effect. The church was built by the Catholic de Trafford family of Trafford Hall, which stood nearby. Its design is related to that of nearby All Saints, Barton-upon -Irwell (now owned by the Franciscans), widely regarded as Pugin’s masterwork and likewise the result of de Trafford patronage. Pugin also designed the presbytery.
Stretford was a small township which grew with industry during the nineteenth century and established public and civic buildings along Chester Road. The area included Trafford Park, owned by the de Trafford family, which became an industrial park after the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal and sale of the Trafford holdings in 1897. A Catholic mission was started in 1858 when a small building was erected on Herbert Street. The present church was built from designs by E. W. Pugin through the patronage of the de Trafford family, who supported the Catholic Church and church building in the area with great generosity during the nineteenth century. Sir Humphrey paid for the church and his wife Lady Annette gave the high altar. The church opened in 1863 but the complex was not completed until 1867, at a cost of £24,000. A detailed description of the church appeared in The Tablet on 28 November 1863.
Repair and redecoration was undertaken in 1895, using the firm of John Hardman, with murals by the noted artist J. A. Pippett. The appearance of the interior at about this time is shown at figure 1. A major phase of restoration was undertaken from 1930. Furnishings by Stuflesser were introduced, including new altar rails.
A programme of restoration and alteration was undertaken in 1962-3 by Greenhalgh & Williams. Terrazzo flooring was laid, a screen inserted to form a narthex and a minor sanctuary reordering undertaken, with relocation of the pulpit and painting over of the murals. Side altars were dismantled and rebuilt. A link between presbytery and church was replaced with a structure incorporating sacristies and confessionals and the presbytery was extensively renovated and extended.
In 1975 Chester road was enlarged and the church’s boundary walls and part of the land at the front were removed. In 1977 a further sanctuary reordering took place. The high altar was removed, the pulpit dismantled and a new forward altar by Ormsby’s of Scarisbrick installed. Exterior stonework was cleaned in 1984. In 1987 the altar rails were removed and parts of them used to make a lectern. About the same time a stencilled scheme was painted in the chancel by Edward Booth. In 2000 some of the original furnishings were restored to the sanctuary.
A description of both church and presbytery is given in the respective listed building descriptions (below). This makes little mention of the interior features and predates more recent alterations. The elaborate reredos of Caen stone shows the Adoration of the Lamb with angels and the east windows and west rose window have glass designed by Hardman & Co. under the supervision of E. W. Pugin. Brasses in the chancel commemorating Sir Thomas de Trafford (d. 1852) and Henry Tempest (d. 1860) are probably also by Hardman. The present stencilled scheme in the chancel dates from about 1998, and is by Edward Booth.
Roman Catholic Church. 1862-7. By Edward Welby Pugin. Rock-faced stone with slate roof. Nave, aisle passages, north-west tower and small polygonal apse. 9-bay nave and aisles with projecting plinth, weathered buttresses, 2-light aisle windows with Geometrical tracery and circular clerestory windows with carved stops to hoodmoulds. Apse below continuation of nave roof has similar windows to aisle on each face but below gablets. Plain water spouts. West rose window incorporates a Crucifixus. West door. 3-stage tower with north door, tall lancets, quatrefoil windows, arched belfry openings below gable hoodmoulds and plain pinnacles at each corner of the spire. The donors of the church, Sir Humphrey and Lady Annette de Trafford, are depicted in a carved panel at the base of the church, kneeling and holding a representation of the church. Interior: moulded nave arcade arches on circular columns with delicately carved foliated capitals. Scissor-braced roof trusses. Elaborately painted vault to apse. Sculpted reredos and figures below canopies to either side of the chancel arch.
Architect: E.W. Pugin
Original Date: 1862
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed