Saturday, 7 February 2009

Macclesfield and a Fine Church.

In the background you can see Shuttlingsloe, a hill tramped up a number of times by your scribe, often followed by a meal in the Crag Inn in nearby Wildboarclough. The barbed wire you see tops a four foot tall drystone wall, which explains why I was not doing so much of the tramping today, but instead running errands and enjoying lunch in the refurbished Sutton Hall, which nestles at the bottom of the valley, where snow is all but vanquished.

Wildboarclough is near Macclesfield, where you can find the Church of Saint Alban the Martyr, a Roman Catholic church designed by AW Pugin. I hope you like the pictures of this remarkable place, which was surprisingly open.

In the Lady Chapel they were having exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour, hence the church being open. The exposition was to foster prayers for the religious life in this country, which has taken a battering recently like most good things.

The beautiful sanctuary is in remarkably good condition, probably due to the fact that it is not used, save for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. The stencilling on the walls looked as though it had been recently restored, which is admirable.

My favourite detail is this sedilia, with the 'job titles' of the Sacred Ministers above which reminded me of the golf club car park. We will gloss over its new use as a flower display stand and concentrate on the polychroming.

The Sacred Heart shrine. I wonder if it was originally polychromed as well? I would guess so, given the architect's track record.

A long view of the church, showing the sensitively incorporated pulpit and a new altar and sedilia. Sometimes I wonder if the architects who designed the reordering of so many Churches had seen the buildings of if they just had standard, size to fit designs? Anyway, shouldn't grumble, the church was open, was encouraging prayer to Our Lord and was well-maintained and warm.

Finally, a view from the outside. I am unsure if the tower is unfinished, awaiting a spire which proved too costly.