Church of St Paul


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

Stockport (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Anglican church. Erected 1880 with extensions of 1893 and 1912. Gothic style pre-fabricated tin tabernacle supplied by Mr J C Hawes of Wandsworth Common, London. Paid for by Thomas Henry Nevill, owner of Strines Calico Print Works.

Reasons for Designation

* Architectural Interest: as a good example of a Gothic Revival tin tabernacle with bellcote, porch, vestry, traceried east window and pointed lancet windows, a construction technique which only originated in the C19 following the invention of corrugated and galvanised sheet iron; * Rarity: dating from the later C19, St Paul's is an increasingly uncommon ecclesiastical survivor of this particular construction technique due to the economical, pre-fabricated nature of such buildings; * Intactness: though typically modest, the church survives substantially intact externally, and internally it retains many of its original fixtures and fittings including the timber chancel screen, altar and timber reredos, pulpit, and 1893 organ, comparing favourably with other listed examples; * Historic Interest: paid for by Thomas Henry Nevill, paternalistic owner of Strines calico print-works around which the village had rapidly expanded over the course of C19; eventually bequeathed to the Anglican Church by the Nevills in 1914.


In 1792 William Wright and other businessmen started a calico print-works at Strines Hall, and subsequently the village of Strines developed around it; by 1851 the works employed 350 workers. Anglican services began to be held at the print works in 1854. By 1880 the print-works was owned by Thomas Henry Nevill in partnership with his son, Charles Henry Nevill. TH Nevill decided that the village should have its own church and leased, and later bought, a plot of land from Lord Egerton of Tatton, building four houses, called Springfield Villas, for senior employees and erecting a corrugated iron church, which he paid for. Although neither the Cheshire 1:2500 OS map of 1885 nor the Derbyshire 1:2500 OS map of 1894 show the church or houses, the opening of the church in 1880 is recorded in the church service book; an article on the church's opening was also published in the Stockport Advertiser on Friday 3rd September, 1880. The building was described as 60 feet long, 21 feet and six inches wide and 23 feet to the ridge, with the builder and designer identified as Mr J C Hawes of Wandsworth Common, London. The article mentioned stained glass to all the windows with figures of the Magi and other characters or scriptural subjects and a crucifixion to the east window. The first edition of the St Paul's Church Magazine appeared in January 1881, which stated that the church was capable of seating 200, and also that it was opened for divine worship on Sunday 29 August, 1880.

On Christmas Eve 1881 the church caught fire, probably caused by Christmas decorations hung too close to the stove. Though 'the building had been thoroughly repaired and restored in every detail' by 23 April 1881, the stained glass windows were lost.

The church was originally equipped with a harmonium, though it is not known if this survived the fire. In 1892 a decision was made to raise £250 to buy an organ, with Mr Nevill agreeing to build an organ chamber to house it on the opposite side to the vestry. The organ was ordered from Wadsworth and Bros, Manchester, and installed in 1893 in the newly-built brick chamber, which also included a boiler house.

Minutes of a 'church officers' meeting in 1912 show that a decision was made to enlarge the vestry, with the tender of J Scattergood of New Mills later being accepted, paint the exterior black and white, renovate the organ, and publish a magazine.

Though the church had been habitually used by Anglican ministers, the building remained in the ownership of the Nevills until 1914, when it was transferred to the Chester Diocese to be used for Church of England services and Sunday School. In 1934 parish boundaries were moved and St Paul's Church was transferred from High Lane parish to Marple parish under the jurisdiction of All Saints' Parish Church, Marple.

In 1973 a meeting room and kitchen room were built attached to the rear west corner of the original church. In 1987 the cast iron hot water heating system was replaced by overhead electric heaters in the church.


MATERIALS: Exterior walls and roof of corrugated iron. Wooden windows. The interior is boarded throughout. Brick-built organ chamber and boiler house.

PLAN: Aligned north west-south east, parallel to the road (simplified for the description to north-south), the church comprises a nave and chancel under a single roof with a bellcote at the south end, a south gable porch, and a vestry to the north-east corner with paired double-pitched roofs; doubled in size in 1912. Attached to the north-west corner is organ chamber and boiler house dating from 1893.

EXTERIOR: The Church and vestry gables have decorative wooden bargeboards. The square bellcote has lattice sides and a square needle spire surmounted by a stainless steel cross. A ventilator to centre of the ridge lacks the original cap (now disused). The windows are pointed-arch lancets with wooden trefoil-headed frames, with the exception of the large pointed-arch north window (liturgical east) with intersecting bar tracery, and a circular window over the south porch. The projecting porch is flanked by a lancet window on each side. It has a double-pitched roof and a pointed-arch doorway with a plank door with decorative ironwork hinges. The east side elevation has three lancet windows and the vestry at the right-hand end. The vestry has a pointed-arch doorway with a battened plank door with a thumb-catch in its south side wall and two lancets in its paired east gable walls. The west side elevation has the projecting boiler house at the left-hand end. It is roofed at right-angles to the church with a west gable wall with a brick gable stack and central segmental arched window, presently boarded, and a flat-headed doorway with a plank door in the south side wall. The church has a single lancet window, the right-hand end of the building being covered by a modern, single-storey, flat-roofed extension.

INTERIOR: Pine board cladding to the walls and ceilings, with three roof trusses with collars and metal ties; the south truss has a tie beam also. The windows have diamond leaded clear glass with a border of red glass; the circular window is glazed with modern stained glass. The chancel is differentiated by an open timber screen with cusped arcading supporting a rood beam with the carved and painted inscription SANCTUS SANCTUS SANCTUS. It retains original pine oak stalls and pierced bench fronts, a timber reredos of five carved panels and a timber altar with three pointed arches with cusped heads. On the west side is an organ with a carved timber case, and on the east side is a doorway through to the vestry, which also has pine cladding throughout. Nave has a Gothic wooden pulpit with turned balusters, brass memorial plaque commemorating local fallen of First and Second World Wars; pews have been replaced by modern chairs. Two doorways towards the south end of the west side wall provide access into the modern extension.

The modern extension built against the south-west corner of the church is not of special architectural interest.


Books and journals
Smith, I, Tin Tabernacles. Corrugated Iron Mission Halls, Churches and Chapels of Britain, (2004)
Taylor, R, Where Two Or Three Are Gathered Together, (2001)
Thomson, N, Corrugated Iron Buildings, (2011), 12, 26


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

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