The Church Building



Vicars of St. Michael's

Built in the early nineteen hundreds, the church was opened for worship in 1908.  The front of the church faces south, and the church hall - a separate building, is located to the west.  The hall was built first, in 1904, and was used for worship whilst the church was being constructed. The hall is nowadays used by the church and the wider community which it serves, for various functions and recreational activities.

Outside, St. Michael's church looks rather plain, but inside is a different story and many interesting features can be found.  Set into the outside of the east wall of the church is a foundation stone dated 15 June 1907, inscribed with a plain cross and the wording 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD'.

The main entrance to the church is by the south-west porch, (which contains a holy water stoup), and leads into the rear of the nave.

St. Michael's chapel and the Baptistery.  A small chapel is immediately to the left of the main door, and is dedicated to St. Michael, the church's patron Saint.  The baptistery, with its stone font, is at the west end of the nave.  The little St. Michael's Chapel was once the baptistery, housing the font, (see picture to the left), but the font was moved to its present location at the rear of the nave to allow more people to be in attendance during a service of Holy Baptism.  The font has an octagonal bowl with oak lid, and is set on an octagonal pedestal with moulded plinth. All are made of limestone.

The chancel.  At the east end of the nave stands a nave altar, behind and above which an oak carved rood screen marks the entrance to the chancel which, in turn, leads to the sanctuary.  High up on the south side of the chancel is a loft housing a three-manual Norman and Beard pipe organ, overlooking oak choir benches in the chancel.  The rood screen is of unpolished oak, and of classic design.  It was given by Father Charlesworth in memory of his parents.  Within the frieze at its centre section is the inscription 'So Go loved the World' (based on the opening words of the 16th verse of the 3rd chapter of St. John's Gospel) incised into the surface of the timber.  Above this stands a full-relief figure of Christ on the cross, flanked by Our Lady and St. John.

On the wall to the north side of the rood screen, by the entry to the Lady Chapel, can be found a brass memorial plaque bearing the names of 39 of the fallen in two World Wars.

The sanctuary.  The high altar is built of polished oak.  The south wall of the sanctuary contains a stone-built sedilia set into the wall, with a brass plaque commemorating the east window.  Before the north wall of the sanctuary stands the bishop's chair, which was renovated in 2006.

Behind the high altar is a reredos of painted timber, which comprises a centre section flanked by lower sections on either side, and which is bounded by a deep, moulted frame with inserted carved rosettes and symbols.  The reredos contains a series of figures carved in bas-relief, except for Christ on his cross with Mary his Mother at his feet, and a Roman soldier, each of whom are presented in full-relief.  The whole assemble comprises a series of five scenes with the crucifixion as the focal point in the centre; each scene surmounted by an elaborately carved canopy.

The Lady Chapel.  To the north side of the chancel is the Lady Chapel. Set into the south wall of the Lady chapel is an aumbry in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.  An open confessional is at the north wall.  The Altar in the Lady chapel is the one which was originally used in the Hall when services where held there while the church was being built, it was a gift from St. Andrews, Stockwell.

Floors, roof.  The floors of the sanctuary, chancel and Lady Chapel sanctuary are paved in green mosaic with multi-coloured borders.  The remainder of the church flooring is of pine woodblocks laid in herring bone pattern.  Congregational seating is provided by elm chairs in the nave.  In the north-east of the nave stands an octagonal oak pulpit.  The nave interior is a high lofty place and the roof supports are quite magnificent, built in a traditional arrangement symbolic of an upturned 'ark' or boat.

Stained glass windows.  A small stained glass window is set in the rounded part of St. Michael's chapel, and depicts the font at the centre of a baptism gathering.  The window is dedicated to Fanny Thompson, who died in July 1931. The west most window of the south aisle contains stained glass which depicts St. George and the Dragon, and St. Luke, and is in memory of Percy Walker Thompson, 1924.  A stained glass window by Kempe graces the East wall of the church, above the high altar.  Its centre shows Christ in glory and flanked to the sides and above by angels and saints.  The Lady Chapel contains two stained glass windows.  The East window is by Kempe and comprises three lancets.  The centre shows the Blessed Virgin Mary with Child, and the sides depict angels and saints.  The window on the North wall shows the Annunciation.

One of our congregation recently visited St. Vincent in the West Indies.  The guide book suggested that the Cathedral had windows by William Kempe who also designed our East and Lady Chapel windows.  On investigation they found them readily recognisable as the whole colour scheme is so similar.

Page last updated 22-07-17