Church of England Diocese of Chester St. Luke Northwich

A brief history of St Luke's

<h1 style="text-align:center"><strong>THE BIRTH OF WINNINGTON CHURCH</strong></h1>

<strong>PARISH DEVELOPMENT</strong>


At the time of the Anglo-Saxons, this area was part of Mercia which appears to have had its centre of Christianity at Lichfield. However, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it once again became necessary for parishes to maintain records of baptisms, marriages and burials. At this point in time, St Helen's operated as a parish although it was always described as a chapel within the much larger parish of Great Budworth. The chapelry of Witton then emerges with four parts (called quarters) consisting of Hartford, Northwich, Witton and Lostock Gralam and would seem to have records of preaching ministers dating back to 1561 and registers from 1571, the latter of which suggest that previous records had been kept but were either decaying or lost.

On the opposite side of Witton to Great Budworth was the parish of Davenham which stretched almost to the centre of Northwich, with most of the area between the rivers Weaver and Dane being in that Parish.

In 1846 a new consolidated chapelry of Dane Bridge was formed from parts of the chapelry of Witton and the Parish of Davenham and contained much of the Northwich that existed at the time but was dissolved again in 1931.

Hartford had been an old manor and developed rather differ­ently from the other parishes, however the chapel of ease sub­scribed to in 1823 was dedicated to St John the Baptist on the 8th of December 1824 and finally became a parish in 1863.

The next new parish to be formed on the 7th of August 1900 was the District Chapelry of St Helen, Witton (otherwise Northwich) and consisted solely of the old Chapelry of Witton.

In 1842 we see the appearance of Holy Trinity Chapel, which was built by the trustees of the Weaver Navigation for its workers. The living attached to this church was a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Bishop of Chester and in 1929 was given its own parish taken from sections of St John, Hartford and St Helen's, Witton. The building stands proudly at the top of Castle Hill, its spire forming just one of the many local landmarks.

In 1930, further boundary changes began between Lostock Gralam, Witton and Davenham culminating in the last recorded change when the Chapel of St Luke's, Winnington, became an independent parish on December 31st 1931. This consisted of the portion of the St Helen's parish to the West of the River Weaver between Northwich, Barnton and Weaverham that remained after the changes of 1930 to 31.

As local churches began to feel the impact of a reduction in the number of available clergy, discussions took place with a view to forming a team ministry for Northwich. This appears to have failed but following the retirement of the last Vicar of Holy Trinity, (the Rev I.T. Wilson) in the early 1970s and to the surprise of the church, worship at Holy Trinity was suspended until in 1973, Holy Trinity and St Luke's Winnington became a joint benefice.




The first building was erected some distance from the present church as a mission church, being constructed of galvanised iron and was known locally as the "tin church". It was opened on December 20th, 1884 following a major increase in the local pop­ulation, generated by the arrival of the Brunner Mond (ICI) chem­ical industry.

In its original form, the structure occupied a site on Winnington Lane almost opposite the end of Appleton Street this would explain why the original vicarage (known as church house) was situated in Appleton Street at the time of the first incumbent (the Rev P.V. Tinkler) who was inducted on April 13th 1932. It should be noted that until this time, the ministry at Winnington was administered by various "Curates in Charge" under the control of Canon Binney from St Helen's, Witton. Canon Binney will always be remembered, for his name identifies one of the wards at the Northwich Infirmary, which the incum­bent of St Luke's and Holy Trinity visits regularly.

Following the consecration of the new church in 1897, the tin church was finally sold in 1898, becoming the property of a Pastor Hall and was re-erected in Whalley Road where it was known as Hall's Mission. After a period in Whalley Road, the building was acquired by the Baptists and removed to Hough Lane, Anderton as the Ebenezer Baptist Church. At the time of the 75th Anniversary in 1972, this building still remained but by this time had been encased in brick (as a Sunday School) with a new chapel built alongside.

St Luke's Church was eventually licensed for marriages in 1901. Also in that year a safe was given and the building fund paid off.


<strong>THE NEW</strong>


As Winnington continued to expand and flourish, it became apparent that a better church was going to be needed. Thus the present church of St Luke was constructed on land given by the Brunner Mond Company and now stands at the junction ofWinnington Lane and Solvay Road. The church is constructed on the side of a hill, which has result­ed in the main entrance being positioned on the level ground of Dyar Terrace, which is a quiet cul-de-sac off Solvay Road run­ning parallel to the main road. The original method of access to the church grounds was somewhat differ­ent from that oftoday. For example, the old pair of gates leading from Solvay Road were once positioned on the corner of Winnington Lane and Solvay Road. The original route of this path then ran towards the church to a point approaching the vestry steps. The end of the old path is still visible as a hollow in the lawn where it meets the exist­ing pathway. At that time, there was also a single gate on Dyar Terrace at a point that is currently the end of the high curved wall as it drops to low level and begins to straighten out into the ter­race. It was also once possible to gain access to the church from Winnington Lane by means of very steep steps.

The building itself was the design of an architect by the name of Mr Pearson R.A., who took maximum advantage of the sharp fall in the ground between Dyar Terrace and Winnington Lane, to the rear of the church. This has given St Luke's church it’s most out­standing and significant difference from many other churches, in that its hall is located underneath the main body of the building. This leaves a considerable amount of the grounds gently land­scaped with grass, available for the numerous church activities that take place today. For what it has gained from its hall, St Luke's is regrettably without a bell tower, although the main structure clearly shows the point at which this should have been attached, had the available finances not expired before it could be built. The point at which the internal access to the tower would have been, is clearly visible in the form of a sealed brick arch to the right of the chancel. With the exception of its giant West-fac­ing gable wall, containing a very large plain glass leaded window, the building is comparatively simple in design, having a central aisle and a capacity to seat some 300 people. Seating was origi­nally on chairs which were eventually replaced by the present wooden pews, obtained from the Central Methodist Church at the top of Timber Lane in Northwich.  At a final cost of £5,425.9s.6d, the church is constructed of red brick, supporting a heavily timber framed vaulted roof under a covering of slate. The red brick is continued within the church's interior and despite appearing a lit­tle dark on entering, gives out a reassurance of a quiet strength and yet an inward peace and tranquillity. This is further enhanced by the triple stained glass windows at the East end of the building and in particular, the North window next to the pulpit. All of the other windows are leaded but plain. In the absence of the tower, the church's single bell hangs in a louvered housing, high on the West gable to the rear of the church. This places the bell cord at a convenient point near to the main doors. The Choir and Vicars vestries are situated adjacent to the altar on the west side of the building, giving access to the body of the church and the choir stalls. The vestries and indeed the church can also be accessed by way of an external stone staircase to the rear of the building.

On 18 February 1976 the name of the district was altered from "St. Luke, Winnington" to "St. Luke, Northwich".

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