Christ Church, Wharton
|Christ Church, Wharton|
Christ Church, Wharton, Winsford
|Location||Winsford, Cheshire, England|
|District||Diocese of Chester|
|Province||Province of York|
|Year consecrated||1843 (chapel of ease); 1849 and 1913 (church)|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Parish church|
|Leadership||Revd Tim Hanson, vicar|
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival Perpendicular|
|Completed||Rebuilt 1849, with later additions|
|Construction cost||£1,574 10s 7d (1849 building)|
|Capacity||350 (1849 seating capacity)|
|Materials||Brick with red sandstone facing
Christ Church, Wharton, is in the town of Winsford, Cheshire, England (grid reference ). It is an active evangelical Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Middlewich.
Christ Church, Wharton, traces its origins to an unconsecrated chapel of ease built c.1835 at the instigation of John Furnival, a curate of Davenham. This was the first Anglican religious building in Wharton, and was built to be a challenge to the growth of Methodism in the district. The chapel was located at Wharton Bridges. Its exact location is unknown, but Wharton Bridges was the original name of the road bridge on Wharton Road, crossing the London and North Western Railway.
When the parish of Wharton was created in 1843, initially as a district of Davenham parish (it was not until 10 March 1860 that Wharton became a separate ecclesiastical parish), the Wharton Bridges chapel was replaced by a new chapel of ease. It was built by James France-France, of Bostock Hall, Bostock, on Crook Lane, at its junction with School Road. The new chapel, called Christ's Church, was consecrated on 26 June 1843 by the Bishop of Chester, John Bird Sumner. A vicarage was built in 1848, formed from two cottages, at a cost of £673 14s.
During the 1840s the population of Wharton increased by approximately 27 per cent, from 1,400 persons in 1841 to 1,775 persons in 1851, and Christ's Church chapel of ease was soon considered too small for the parish. With money raised from public subscription, including gifts from Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld the Queen Mother (mother of Queen Victoria), John Bird Sumner (the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury) and grants from the Church Building Societies, the chapel was substantially enlarged with a nave, chancel and bell tower. The old chapel of ease became the north and south transepts of the new building (called Christ Church), which provided seating on benches for 350 persons. The cost of the rebuilding was £1,574 10s 7d, and the church was consecrated on 20 December 1849 by the Bishop of Chester, John Graham.
The church is built in brick with a red sandstone facing and a slate roof. It is a small cruciform ("cross-shaped") building in the Gothic Revival (Perpendicular) style of Christian church architecture. At the north-west is a square bell tower, originally surmounted with four slender pinnacles (removed at some time between 1874 and 1892). The main entrance to the building is at the foot of the tower. A single bell was installed in the bell tower in the 1849 scheme, but was replaced with eight tubular bells prior to 1914, the gift of Mrs Lea of Winsford Lodge, Wharton. The tower clock, made by the Shropshire company of JB Joyce & Co at a cost of £50 and installed in 1849, was the gift of saltworks proprietor John Dudley of Wharton Lodge, in memory of his wife, Elizabeth (a Latin inscription on the clock face records the gift).
Fittings and furnishings
The church has a number of memorial windows in stained glass, most notable of which are the east window (to Revd John Lothian, died 1859 after being thrown from his horse), and the west window (to Revd John Samuel Bage, died 1873). The north and south transepts contain large metal panels overpainted with the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. The painting is in the Gothic Revival style, and the panels are probably contemporary with the building of the church. The church has had three organs. The first, installed in 1849, was replaced by the second organ, c.1874. This was replaced in 1920 by the present organ, the gift of Mrs Marion Newell in memory of her son, Sub-Lt Jack H.M. Newall, killed in action 13 November 1916, on the outskirts of Beaucourt-sur-l'Ancre, France, during the Battle of the Ancre. His medals are on display next to the organ. At the west end of the nave is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone to Senior Aircraftsman Ian Shinner, killed in a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) shooting at Roermond, the Netherlands, in 1988. The interior was lit by gas until electric lights were installed in 1937.
On the approach to the main entrance is a war memorial, an oak crucifix on a stone base erected in 1920 at a cost of £280. It records the names of 78 Wharton parishioners killed in action during World War I. The churchyard contains the war graves of five service personnel of World War I, and four of World War II.
Christ Church is a growing church with a congregation of more than 250 adults and children. Two services are held on Sunday mornings, and a Communion service is held each Wednesday morning. The church employs a children's worker and a youth worker, and supports missionary groups Open Doors, Gideons International, and AICMAR (African Institute for Contemporary Mission and Research).
Clergy in the parish of Christ Church, Wharton
|Minister||Years in office||Office|
|William Charles Dudley BA||1838–1840||Curate|
|John Echlin Armstrong BA||1843–1845||Perpetual Curate|
|John Lowthian||1845–1859||Perpetual Curate (died in office)|
|John Samuel Bage MA||1859–1873||Perpetual Curate (died in office)|
|Thomas Davis||1873–1876||Perpetual Curate|
|Christopher Cay LL.B.||1876–1891||Perpetual Curate|
|Robert Eden Henley MA||1891–1933||Vicar (died in office)|
|William Alfred Edwards BA||1892–1893||Assistant Curate|
|Eric Medder Baden Southwell MA||1933–1938||Vicar|
|Duncan Baird||1938–1945||Vicar (Chaplain to the Forces 1940-45)|
|Kenneth Ashworth BA||1940–1947||Curate in Charge|
|William Alfred Edwards||1941||Assistant Curate|
|Idris Michael Evans||1941–1946||Curate in Charge|
|Kenneth Ashworth BA||1945–1946||Vicar|
|Thomas David Coleman Harrison||1947–1952||Vicar|
|Archibald Sholto Douglas MA||1952–1955||Vicar|
|Thomas Albert Clarke||1962||Vicar (died in office)|
|John Leslie Higgins BA M.Ed.||1972–1974||Vicar|
|John Alfred Minns||1974–1985||Vicar|
|Timothy David Herbert BA M.Phil.||1985–1993||Vicar|
|Dennis Tillotson||1986–1988||Assistant Curate (died in office)|
|Michael Leslie Eaman||1989–1993||Assistant Curate|
|Mark Andrew Pickles BA||1993–2000||Vicar|
|Timothy David Hanson BA||2000-||Vicar|
|Thomas Annesley Watts MA M.Th.||2008-2012||Curate|
Notes and references
- Back For The Future: Christ Church, Wharton, 1843-1993. Pamphlet published by Christ Church, Wharton, on the occasion of the Church's 150th anniversary. 1993.
- George Ormerod: History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, 2nd edition, Routledge, 1882
- Township Pack series no. 76, Wharton, Cheshire County Council Libraries and Archives, 1997, quoting census data
- Kelly's Directory, 1939
- Bagshaw's Directory, 1850
- Morris & Co's Directory, 1874
- Kelly's Directory, 1892
- Kelly's Directory, 1914
- Robert Curzon: Winsford and Wharton in Times Past (Chorley: Countryside Publications, 1986, p30)
- WHARTON (CHRIST CHURCH) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 4 February 2013