St Michael's Church, Ditton

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St Michael's Church, Ditton
Widnes St Michael.jpg
St Michael's Church, Ditton, from the northwest
St Michael's Church, Ditton is located in Cheshire
St Michael's Church, Ditton
St Michael's Church, Ditton
Location in Cheshire
Coordinates: 53°21′45″N 2°45′40″W / 53.3625°N 2.7610°W / 53.3625; -2.7610
OS grid referenceSJ 494 853
LocationDitton, Widnes, Cheshire
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusParish church
Founder(s)Lady Mary
DedicationSt Michael
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade II*
Designated31 October 1983
Architect(s)Henry Clutton
Bartlett and Purnell
Architectural typeChurch
StyleGothic Revival
Construction cost£16,000
(equivalent to £1,600,000 in 2018)
Length120 feet (37 m)
Width60 feet (18 m)
Spire height120 feet (37 m)
MaterialsRed ashlar sandstone
Slate roof
Priest(s)Fr A. Fleming

St Michael's Church is in St Michael's Road, Ditton, Widnes, Halton, Cheshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.[1] It is an active Roman Catholic church.[2]


The church was founded when German Jesuits expelled from their own country (1872) settled in Ditton. They were victims of Bismarks Kulturekampf which tried to reduce the influence of Catholicism in Germany. The Jesuit students of Theology formed a community at Ditton Hall and between 1876 and 1879 built the church.[3] It was designed by Henry Clutton.[1] The cost of the church, £16,000 (equivalent to £1,600,000 in 2018),[4] was met by Lady Mary Stapleton-Bretherton of Ditton Hall. In 1979 the interior of the church was reordered by Bartlett and Purnell.[5]



The church is built in red ashlar sandstone with a slate roof. Its plan is cruciform, with short transepts and a west tower. It has an eight-bay arcade which takes in the nave and the chancel. The tower is in three stages with a steep saddleback roof. The entrance to the church is through the west door of the tower, above which are three lancet windows. Above these are three-light louvred bell openings and a balustrade. The windows in the gables of the chancel and transepts are rose windows containing stained glass. Elsewhere the windows are lancets.[1] At the east end are two lancets separated by a large shaft.[5]


The ceiling is barrel vaulted, boarded with hardwood, running through the nave and chancel. In the north transept is an organ and confessionals are in the south transept. The chancel has a yellow sandstone wall and a marble floor; the walls of the nave are plastered.[1] The altar and lectern are made from Clipsham stone, and the stained glass comes from Cologne.[5] The organ was built in 1879 by Gray & Davison.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Historic England, "Church of St Michael, Ditton (1325926)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 20 July 2012
  2. ^ Widnes, Archdiocese of Liverpool, retrieved 19 March 2008
  3. ^ Diggle, Rev. G. E. (1961), A History of Widnes, Widnes: Corporation of Widnes, pp. 67–68
  4. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Pollard, Richard; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2006), Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 657, ISBN 0-300-10910-5
  6. ^ Widnes St. Michael, British Institute of Organ Studies, retrieved 15 August 2008