Churches and religious bodies: Modern parish churches

A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2005.

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J S Barrow. J D Herson. A H Lawes. P J Riden. M V J Seaborne, 'Churches and religious bodies: Modern parish churches', in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, (London, 2005) pp. 159-162. British History Online [accessed 27 May 2024].

J S Barrow. J D Herson. A H Lawes. P J Riden. M V J Seaborne. "Churches and religious bodies: Modern parish churches", in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, (London, 2005) 159-162. British History Online, accessed May 27, 2024,

Barrow, J S. Herson, J D. Lawes, A H. Riden, P J. Seaborne, M V J. "Churches and religious bodies: Modern parish churches", A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, (London, 2005). 159-162. British History Online. Web. 27 May 2024,

In this section


All Saints, Hoole

A mission room was opened in Hoole in 1855, when it was still within the district of Christ Church. (fn. 1) After the building of a new church there in 1867 the area was served by a curate, maintained by congregational offerings, pew rents, and a small stipend from the incumbent of Christ Church. (fn. 2) The new church was consecrated in 1871, and a district comprising Hoole township was taken from Christ Church parish and assigned to it in 1872. (fn. 3) It became a fully independent parish served by a vicar in 1880. (fn. 4) The parish was extended east to the Chester bypass in 1989. (fn. 5)

The advowson was initially vested in a board of trustees composed of the incumbent of Christ Church, the 2nd marquess of Westminster, and local gentlemen, (fn. 6) but by 1900 had passed to the Simeon Trustees, with whom it remained in 2000. (fn. 7) The benefice's income came largely from endowments provided in 1872 and 1884. (fn. 8) A vicarage house south of the church was built in 1885–6. (fn. 9)

From the first All Saints was of a Low Church or Evangelical persuasion and the principal Sunday services were always morning and evening prayer. (fn. 10)


The church of All Saints was built of stone in 1867 to designs by Samuel Dawkes, (fn. 11) and was enlarged with a south aisle and vestry in 1911–12 by J. Walley to designs by the late John Douglas. (fn. 12) As completed it consisted of a chancel with north organ chamber, aisled nave of five bays, south vestry, north porch, and southwest tower with spire. The detail of mouldings throughout is in the Decorated style.

Christ Church, Newtown

The church was opened in 1838, and in 1843 a district was assigned to it, covering the northern suburbs of Chester and formed from parts of the parishes of St. Oswald, St. John the Baptist, and Plemstall. (fn. 13) Reduced in size by the creation of a separate district for Hoole in 1872, it became an independent parish in 1879. (fn. 14) Thereafter the incumbents, originally styled perpetual curates, were known as vicars. (fn. 15) The benefice, whose patron was the bishop, was incorporated in the new parish of Chester in 1972, the church remaining in use. (fn. 16) The yearly value of the living rose from £150 in 1858 to £252 by 1874. (fn. 17) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners made grants towards providing a parsonage house in 1864 and 1881, and a house was built by 1887. (fn. 18)

Throughout the 19th century incumbents had the assistance of stipendiary curates. (fn. 19) In the 1870s Christ Church had between 25 and 40 communicants at the monthly eucharist and more at Easter. (fn. 20) By 1900 a weekly early celebration had been introduced at which communicants still numbered c. 20–40; Easter communicants, however, had risen steeply to over 400 and rose further to 640 in 1909. (fn. 21)

At about the same time the work of the church was extended into other parts of the populous and largely working-class parish. In 1895 the Revd. J. F. Howson bought a disused chapel in Back Brook Street from the pastor of one of the Welsh-speaking Congregationalist churches, Ezra Johnson, who had moved his flock to better premises the previous year. Around 1905 it was known as the mission church of the Atonement and provided a Sunday school and Sunday evensong, and c. 1930 evening services on three weekdays as well. Services were probably discontinued in 1934 or 1935, and the vicar let the building for other purposes from 1936. It was apparently demolished c. 1960. (fn. 22)

Howson also built the corrugated-iron St. Luke's mission church on land next to the vicarage house in Brook Lane, beginning services there in 1899. In 1905 the vicar or one of the two curates held morning service every Sunday and communion twice a month and on Thursdays in the summer. Services continued at St. Luke's until 1969, and the building was removed after 1971. (fn. 23)

At Christ Church itself a weekly, early morning, sung eucharist had been introduced by the 1930s, and under C. F. Leeper (vicar 1947–53) it replaced matins as the principal morning service. (fn. 24)


As first built in 1838, to designs by Thomas Jones, Christ Church comprised chancel, transepts, and aisleless nave. (fn. 25) In 2000 it consisted of a chancel with south chapel and north vestry, and an aisled nave with porch, the chancel and its chapel being of ashlar and the remainder of red brick with stone dressings. John Douglas was brought in as consultant in 1869, and the enlargement of the chancel dates to then or 1876. In 1893, to Douglas's revised designs in an Early Pointed style, the chancel was extended to the east, and between 1897 and 1900 he rebuilt the nave. (fn. 26) The porch was added in 1936. (fn. 27) The church contains a notable assemblage of Arts and Crafts fittings and glass, mostly by Douglas, Sir Charles Nicholson, and C. E. Kempe. (fn. 28)

Holy Ascension, Upton

In 1853 the rector of St. Mary's issued an appeal for funds to build a church in Upton to serve the large detached portion of his parish north of the city. The marquess of Westminster offered £1,000 as an endowment and £1,000 towards the building, and the church was consecrated as a chapel of ease to St. Mary's in 1854. The clergy were initially appointed by the rector of St. Mary's and held two Sunday services, administering communion monthly to 20 or 30 people in the 1860s. In 1882 Upton became an independent parish, with the patronage in the hands of the patron of St. Mary's, the duke of Westminster, (fn. 29) with whose descendants it remained in 2000. (fn. 30)


The church of the Holy Ascension was built to designs by James Harrison based on the medieval work surviving and conjectured at Aldford. As originally built it consisted of a chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, nave with south porch, and tower with spire, all in the Decorated style of Aldford. A south transept and vestries were added in 1958 and a north transept in 1967, making the church cruciform. (fn. 31)

Holy Trinity without the Walls, Blacon

The replacement for the medieval parish church of Holy Trinity (above, pp. 133–6).

St. Mark, Saltney

A chapelry known as Lache cum Saltney was formed in 1855 from the western part of St. Mary on the Hill parish within the liberties, the township of Marlston cum Lache (also previously in St. Mary's), and part of Saltney (previously in Hawarden parish, Flints.). It was extended eastward to Selkirk Road in 1923. The bishop of Chester was patron. (fn. 32) Services had been held in a barn at Corporation Farm, Saltneyside, since 1851, and in 1853 the marquess of Westminster gave a site for a church at Lache Eyes. (fn. 33) The church of the Holy Epiphany at Lache Eyes remained in use until 1893, when a new building, dedicated to St. Mark, opened in Hough Green. (fn. 34) Services were also held in a school at Mold Junction (in Saltney, Flints.) from 1891, and in 1911 a mission church dedicated to St. Matthew was opened near by in the hamlet of Saltney Ferry (Flints.). In the 1990s St. Mark's and St. Matthew's both remained in use and services were also held by the parish's team of incumbent and two curates at a 'family church' in Sandy Lane. (fn. 35)


The parish church of St. Mark was designed by T. M. Lockwood in a 13th-century style. Of red Ruabon brick with a roof of Westmorland slate, it comprises a chancel with north vestry and south chapel, and a nave with north porch and south organ chamber.

The mission church of St. Matthew, Saltney Ferry, is of red Ruabon brick with a slate roof and consists of a chancel with south vestry, and a nave with western baptistery.

St. Mary without the Walls, Handbridge

The replacement for the medieval parish church of St. Mary on the Hill (above, pp. 142–6).

St. Michael, Plas Newton

A church hall within the parish of All Saints, Hoole, opened in Devon Road, Newton, in 1965 and was used for evening services. It was rebuilt as a church with attached meeting rooms in 1982, when a parish was formed for it from all that part of All Saints north of the railway line, and a vicar was appointed. The patron, as at All Saints, was the Simeon Trustees. Services were Evangelical from the start and in 1996 the parish had a number of house-church groups. St. Michael's is a plain building of yellow brick, the church being simply a large rectangular room. (fn. 36)

St. Paul, Boughton

The church was opened in 1830 as a chapel of ease to St. John's. (fn. 37) In 1846 a district was assigned to it, formed from Great Boughton township in St. Oswald's parish, the extra-parochial place of Spital Boughton, and a section of St. John's parish bounded by the canal, Steven Street, and the river. (fn. 38) The district became a parish in 1879, when its boundaries were extended at the expense of St. John's. (fn. 39) Its boundaries were altered in 1973, when territory was exchanged with Christleton and acquired from Bruera. (fn. 40) The vicar of St. John's remained patron until 1972, when the advowson was vested in the rector of the new united benefice of Chester. (fn. 41)

The curate's annual income, originally derived largely from pew rents, was c. £80 in 1831 but had risen to £150 by 1860. (fn. 42) The vicar continued to receive income from pew rents until 1915 or later. (fn. 43)

Congregations in 1851 averaged 330 on Sunday morning and 350 in the evening. (fn. 44) Incumbents were assisted by stipendiary curates throughout the 19th century and a mission church operated in Hoole Lane from 1887 to 1933 in a corrugated-iron and weatherboarded building still standing in 1996. (fn. 45) At St. Paul's an early celebration of holy communion every Sunday had been introduced by the 1870s, and by 1933 there was a weekly sung eucharist. (fn. 46) The sung celebration, which was made monthly in 1957, had again become the principal Sunday service by the 1970s. (fn. 47)


The church of St. Paul, which is of brick and timber in John Douglas's distinctive local revival style, comprises an aisled nave terminating in a wide apse, a south-west baptistery, and an outer south aisle, added later. (fn. 48) The first church, which was built in 1830, was of stuccoed brick in an Italianate style with round-headed windows and a north-west campanile. The architect was William Cole the younger. (fn. 49) In 1876 the church was virtually rebuilt to the designs of John Douglas. The exterior was refaced, lancet and plate tracery windows were inserted, and an elaborate open timber roof topped by a spirelet was made. Inside there are timber arcades. (fn. 50) In 1900 a south aisle, designed by Douglas and Minshull, was added. (fn. 51) In the 1930s it was furnished as a side chapel. (fn. 52) The church contains notable glass by C. E. Kempe, Edward Frampton, and especially Morris and Co., all dating from between 1881 and 1925. (fn. 53)

St. Thomas, Parkgate Road

The replacement for the medieval parish church of St. Oswald (above, pp. 149–53).


  • 1. C.C.A.L.S., EDP 153/4.
  • 2. Ibid. P 161/8/9.
  • 3. Ibid. P 161/5/6; Lond. Gaz. 13 Aug. 1872, pp. 3618–19.
  • 4. C.C.A.L.S., P 161/9/1; S. C. Scott, Hist, of St. John the Baptist Church and Parish, 253; Chester Dioc. Year Bk. 1996/7, p. 44.
  • 5. Lond. Gaz. 28 Jan. 1989, p. 564.
  • 6. C.C.A.L.S., P 161/6/1.
  • 7. Ibid. EDP 69/1; P 161/9–10; Chester Dioc. Year Bk. 1999/2000, p. 45.
  • 8. C.C.A.L.S., P 161/6/2; P 161/8/9.
  • 9. Ibid. EDP 153/5; P 161/6/4.
  • 10. Ibid. P 161/15/1–41; P. & G. Dir. Chester (1878/9), 22.
  • 11. C.C.A.L.S., P 161/5/1.
  • 12. Ibid. EDP 153/2; P 161/5/10–11; E. Hubbard, Work of John Douglas, 203–4, 277.
  • 13. C.C.A.L.S., EDA 2/19, p. 18; P 17/10/1; P 17/18/3; Lond. Gaz. 29 Sept. 1843, pp. 3174–6.
  • 14. C.C.A.L.S., P 17/21/1–23; Chester Dioc. Cal.
  • 15. Chester Dioc. Cal.; C.C.A.L.S., P 17/10/1.
  • 16. Lond. Gaz. 30 June 1972, p. 7865.
  • 17. Bagshaw's Dir. Ches. (1850), 65; Morris's Dir. Ches. (1874), 8.
  • 18. C.C.A.L.S., P 17/8/1–4.
  • 19. Ibid. EDP 69/1; P 161/8/9.
  • 20. Ibid. P 17/4/1.
  • 21. Ibid. P 17/4/2–3.
  • 22. Ibid. P 17/12/20A–B; P 17/18/35, ff. 2–3; P. & G. Dir. Chester (1905/6), 34; (1927/8), 53; (1933/4), 48; not listed in (1935/6), 50; Kelly's Dir. Chester (1938), 6, and later edns. to (1958), 6; (1960), 6; (1962), 6.
  • 23. C.C.A.L.S., P 17/6/10; P 17/8/7; P 17/10/2–4; P 17/19/1–4; P 17/20/1; P 17/3912/1; C.P.S., Brook La. (neg. AJAW 4/2).
  • 24. C.C.A.L.S., P 17/4/4–7.
  • 25. White's Dir. Ches. (1860), 89; E. Hubbard, Work of John Douglas, 131.
  • 26. Hubbard, Work of John Douglas, 131, 200, 246–7, 262–3, 268–9, 271–2; C.C.A.L.S., EDP 69/2; P 17/6/1; P 17/6/3–5; P 17/6/14; Chester Dioc. Gaz. (1901), 110–11.
  • 27. C.C.A.L.S., EDP 69/2; P 17/6/25B.
  • 28. Ibid. EDP 69/2; P 17/6/6; P 17/6/14; Chester Dioc. Gaz. (1897), 118; Pevsner, Ches. 150; Kelly's Dir. Ches. (1906), 213; Chester Dioc. Cal. (1910), 149; (1911), 149.
  • 29. C.C.A.L.S., P 176/4/1, items inserted at front; P 176/7/1.
  • 30. Chester Dioc. Year Bk. 1999/2000, p. 47.
  • 31. C.C.A.L.S., P 176/4/1, items inserted at front; P 176/5/1 (1965); P 176/5/14, 21; P. Howell, 'The Other "Harrison of Chester"', J.C.A.S. lxiii. 90.
  • 32. Ormerod, Hist. Ches. ii. 824; Lond. Gaz. 16 Oct. 1855, pp. 3796–7; 12 Oct. 1923, pp. 6854–6.
  • 33. C.C.A.L.S., P 98/4/1; O.S. Map 6-inch, Ches. XLVI (1880 edn.).
  • 34. C.C.A.L.S., P 98/4/2, 4.
  • 35. Ibid. P 98/13/1; P 98/14/1–2; Chester Dioc. Year Bk. 1996/7, p. 45; 1999/2000, p. 46.
  • 36. All Saints' Parish Church, Hoole and Newton, Chester: Centenary, 1871–1971, 11 (copy at C.H.H.); Chester Dioc. Year Bk. 1996/7, p. 45; 1999/2000, p. 47; inscriptions and leaflets at church; inf. from Mrs. Val Powell, who is thanked for opening the church.
  • 37. C.C.A.L.S., P 51/26/1.
  • 38. Ibid. P 51/26/2–4; Lond. Gaz. 10 July 1846, pp. 2532–3.
  • 39. C.C.A.L.S., P 51/26/5–17; Lond. Gaz. 22 Aug. 1879, pp. 5123–4; S. C. Scott, Hist. of St. John the Baptist Church and Parish, 253.
  • 40. C.C.A.L.S., P 162/10/6–8.
  • 41. Scott, Hist. St. John's Church, 253; Chester Dioc. Cal.; Lond. Gaz. 30 June 1972, p. 7865.
  • 42. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 1828–31 [67], pp. 230–1, H.C. (1835), xxii; White's Dir. Ches. (1860), 89.
  • 43. C.C.A.L.S., P 162/4/1–2.
  • 44. P.R.O., HO 129/459/68.
  • 45. C.C.A.L.S., EDP 77/1; P 162/7–8; Chester Dioc. Cal. (1888–9).
  • 46. P. & G. Dir. Chester (1933/4), 50; (1935/6), 52.
  • 47. C.C.A.L.S., P 162/10/3.
  • 48. The ritual positions are given; the church is in fact aligned north-south, with ritual east to the south.
  • 49. C.C.A.L.S., EDP 77/4; White's Dir. Ches. (1860), 89; Scott, Hist. St. John's Church, 249; H. Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of Brit. Architects (1978), 229–30.
  • 50. C.C.A.L.S., EDA 2/25, p. 762; EDP 77/2; T.L.C.A.S. lvii. 121.
  • 51. C.C.A.L.S., EDA 2/29, pp. 905–7; EDP 77/2; T.L.C.A.S. lvii. 124.
  • 52. C.C.A.L.S., EDP 77/2.
  • 53. Ibid.; EDA 2/28, p. 305; EDA 2/29, p. 746; Pevsner, Ches. 173; A. Sewter, Stained Glass of Morris and Co.