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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wirral (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SJ 24731 84115



1755/4/299 STATION ROAD 15-NOV-62 THURSTASTON (South side) Church of St Bartholomew (Formerly listed as: CHURCH LANE THURSTASTON Church of St Bartholomew)

II* Anglican church, 1883-6, by John Loughborough Pearson, red sandstone, red tiled roof, ridge crest, ashlar interior, early Decorated style.

PLAN: Nave with north-west porch, chancel with crossing tower and broach spire over choir, vestry to south side, stair turret to south-west angle between nave and vestry.

EXTERIOR: Three-bay nave with stringcourse above base, sill course and continuous hoodmould above windows, eaves cornice. Most windows have tracery in an early decorated style. 3-light windows and short buttresses to north and south sides. West end elevation with gableted angle buttresses, high 3-light west window with roundel above containing sexfoil, head of window flanked by two gableted, blind windows with simple tracery, floriated-style cross finial to ridge. North-west gabled porch with angle buttresses and octagonal pinnacles, side returns lit by paired quatrefoils with leaded glazing. Entrance of 2 orders with niche above containing carved statue of St Bartholomew (1988), arched inner entrance with dog-tooth moulding and dedication inscription, which reads 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF JOSEPH HEGAN OF DAWPOOL THIS CHURCH IS DEDICATED BY HIS DAUGHTERS 1885', studded oak door with large, decorative strap hinges and square-panelled reverse face. Short 2-bay sanctuary with higher roof, gableted set-back buttresses, stringcourse above base and sill band, gable with gableted kneelers and floriated cross finial, roundel containing trefoil to gable apex. Large 5-light east window with paired sexfoils and quatrefoil traceried head flanked by blind lancets and colonnettes. Blind arcades to north and south sides of sanctuary incorporate two traceried, stained glass lancets. Tower set above choir with stringcourses and gableted buttresses, tall 3-light window to north side with paired quatrefoils and trefoil traceried head. Belfry stage with louvred Y-tracery windows, dentil cornice, broach spire above with louvred lucarnes and parapet incorporating corner spirelets. Gabled vestry and organ loft to south side of church beneath tower in style of shallow transept with short gableted buttresses, lozenge-shaped ridge stack, paired lancet windows with cusped heads and roundel above containing three trefoils. Raised arched doorway with keel-moulded jambs and studded oak door with decorative strap hinges, accessed by pale sandstone steps with red sandstone relief wall. Swept catslide roof to extension to east side with three small cusped lights to east return with pale stained glass. South-west stair turret set to angle between nave and vestry with conical stone roof, raised doorway with shouldered head and studded oak door with decorative strap hinges accessed by pale sandstone steps.

INTERIOR: Ashlar interior with numerous wall-mounted memorials. Quadripartite vaulting supported by corbelled wall shafts springing from stringcourse level; vaulting to chancel with dog-tooth moulding. Interior height increases in turn from nave through choir to sanctuary. Transverse arches to choir and sanctuary; that to choir contains stone chancel screen. NAVE: Geometric patterned tiled floor to central aisle, east and west ends, parquet floor to side seating areas. Dole cupboard of 1723 attached to north wall to left (west) of north entrance with carved inscription reading 'A.D.1732 Mary Ainsdale, late of Irby Mill Hill, left £5 to the poor of the Parish. The interest thereof to be given to them in bread yearly on the Sacrament Days for ever. S Mason CW'. Octagonal font below west window constructed of Mexican Onyx and supported by eight Blue John shafts with onyx capitals and bases, stepped marble base composed of three different types of marble. Alabaster pulpit to left (north) side of choir arch with pierced quatrefoil latticework panels, green marble shafts and St Anne marble base and steps. St Anne marble chancel step. Choir arch contains stone chancel screen with slender shafts supporting tripartite, trefoil-traceried, cusped arched openings; that to centre is wider than the outer divisions. Screen's outer divisions spring from low chancel wall with ornate, part-gilded wrought-iron gates. CHOIR: Geometric patterned tiled floor to choir stalls with encaustic tile border. Organ case of 1905 to south side designed by Richard Norman Shaw in memory of Thomas Henry Ismay with ornate gilded and painted side panels by Robert Christie, contains Willis organ with tin pipes. Panelled door to left (east) of organ leads into small vestry and organ loft. Circular bell opening with cover incorporating spy-hole to centre of choir's vaulted ceiling. St Anne marble sanctuary step. SANCTUARY: 2 narrow bays, marble and encaustic tiled floor incorporating stepped altar platform (tiles probably by Godwin of Hereford). Elaborate alabaster relief reredos below east window depicts resurrection and incorporates angels in niches. Stepped sedilia to south wall with Early Decorated arcade incorporating dog-tooth moulding and integral credence shelf. STAINED GLASS: Some by Clayton & Bell, including the west window, which depicts the childhood of Christ. East Window depicts the Ascension. Other windows include later window to south side of nave opposite north entrance depicting St Bartholomew, paid for by parishioners in memory of Reverend John Dodd, Rector 1922-34. VESTRY: Parquet floor in herringbone and square-basket patterns, vaulted ceiling to eastern end of room, timber choir loft forms ceiling over western half of room. TOWER: Stair turret contains stone spiral stair leading up to bell-ringing chamber. Bell-ringing chamber contains original clock and pulley mechanism housed in timber cases, spy-hole with later cover, ladder stair provides access into bell chamber above. Five original bells, sixth 'Jubilee Bell' installed in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, metal gantry and ladder access on to spire parapet.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Lych gate to north corner of churchyard constructed in 1900, designed by Richard Norman Shaw, in memory of Thomas Henry Ismay. Timber-framed with red sandstone ashlar to lower part of side walls incorporating bench seating, three unglazed lights to timber upper part of side walls with Decorated-style traceried heads, low timber gates to north entrance with Early Decorated panels to lower part. Gableted red tiled roof with decorative timber bargeboards and carved central pendants, crown post roof structure, dedication inscription to north face of central tie beam reads 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF THOMAS HENRY ISMAY, ERECTED BY MARGARET ISMAY, NOVEMBER 1900'. Attached low churchyard wall constructed of red sandstone re-used from previous 1824 church, raised triangular copings, partly stepped to eastern side, incorporates small decorative wrought-iron gate to western side of churchyard and small timber gate with Early Decorated panels (in same style as that of lych gate) to eastern side of churchyard.

HISTORY: The present Church of St Bartholomew replaced an earlier church that was constructed in 1824, but which was largely demolished in c1885-7 due to the encroachment of ivy. The church's tower still stands within the graveyard and is Grade II designated. This 1824 church had in turn replaced an earlier Anglo-Saxon church that was demolished in 1820. Stone from the 1824 church was used to build a wall around the present churchyard.

In 1871 it was proposed that the second church should be replaced. Mrs Grace Ellen Kennard and Mrs Agnes Kennard, the daughters of the late Joseph Hegan of a nearby house known as Dawpool, provided £4500 for a new church to be erected in their father's memory. Thomas Henry Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line and the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, and also the subsequent owner of Dawpool which he demolished in favour of a new house by Richard Norman Shaw, also provided substantial funding for the church's construction.

It was not until 1883 that John Loughborough Pearson (1817-97) was commissioned to produce a design for the church, and the completed building was consecrated on 7 January 1886 by the Right Reverend Dr William Stubbs, Bishop of Chester. A lych gate designed by Richard Norman Shaw was erected to the north of the church in memory of Thomas Henry Ismay in 1900.

John Loughborough Pearson was a pupil of Ignatius Bonomi, and later an assistant to Anthony Salvin and Philip Hardwick before establishing his own practice in 1843 designing and restoring churches (although Pearson's work concentrated on churches he also designed secular buildings, including numerous houses). During his career Pearson was architect to a number of cathedrals, including Lincoln, Bristol, Canterbury, Chichester, Exeter, Gloucester, Peterborough, Rochester and Westminster Abbey. He also designed Truro Cathedral in 1878-9. Pearson was elected a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1860 and was awarded the RIBA gold medal in 1880. He also became a Royal Academician in the same year.

SOURCES: Fawcett J, Seven Victorian architects: William Burn, Philip and Philip Charles Hardwick, Sydney Smirke, J L Pearson, G F Bodley, Alfred Waterhouse and Edwin Lutyens, (1976) Howell P & Sutton I (Eds.), The Faber Guide to Victorian Churches, (1989), 116 Pevsner N & Hubbard E, The Buildings of England Series. Cheshire, (2003), 361-2 Quiney A, John Loughborough Pearson, (1979) St Bartholomew, Thurstaston with St Chad, Irby. Various historical information available on HTTP: Accessed 22/2/10. Waterhouse P, rev. Quiney A. 'Pearson, John Loughborough (1817-1897)' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Available on HTTP: Accessed 22/2/10.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Bartholomew, Station Road, Thurstaston and Irby, an Anglican church constructed in 1883-86 to the designs of John Loughborough Pearson, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural quality: Its exterior design possesses an acute attention to detail and proportion; producing a church with a sense of monumentality despite its small size * Designer: It was designed by the nationally renowned architect, John Loughborough Pearson, one of the leading church architects of the C19, and is an excellent example of his work * Interior quality: The richly decorated, quadripartite-vaulted interior demonstrates Pearson's particular area of skill and expertise in vaulting, and achieves grandeur on a small scale with lofty proportions and a clearly defined progression of space * Interior features: The striking interior incorporates numerous high quality features, including a traceried stone chancel screen, ornate alabaster reredos, alabaster and marble pulpit, an encaustic tiled and marble sanctuary floor, and some stained glass by Clayton & Bell, using superior quality materials and craftsmanship * Historic interest: One of the church's principal patrons was Thomas Henry Ismay, founder and chairman of the White Star Line. Ismay's personal friend, the eminent late C19 architect Richard Norman Shaw designed later features for the church, including an elaborate organ case (1905) and a timber-framed lych gate (1900), both in Ismay's memory

Listing NGR: SJ2473184115


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 24 Aug 2000
Reference: IOE01/02200/06
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr F. Bryan Basketter. Source Historic England Archive
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