The Future for St John's Church
The planning application to develop St John's Church into 13 apartments
was approved by Cheshire East Council Northern Planning committee on 20th
October 2010. Work started by clearing that part of the graveyard that
is to become the car park. Then all work ceased for many months.
On 2nd December 2011 the Simply Group made the following announcement
regarding commencement of building work ...
"Unfortunately once the floor was removed it became apparent
that there was significantly more subsidence than originally
anticipated and so new Structural Engineers had to be drafted
in to redesign the sub structure. This meant that after receiving
the original tender quotations back, we then had to re-tender
which considerably delayed our start on site. I am pleased
to now [advise] that the project will be beginning at the start
of January 2012 although site preparation works will begin
3rd February 2012 they blogged
on why there is no progress on any of their local sites.
Celebratory final peal of St John's Church
There was a final chance to ring the bells at St John's
Church on Saturday and Sunday 15th/16th January.
The Vicar of Bollington, Revd Veronica Hydon, suggested
that the peal be rung in honour of St Agatha, who is the
patron saint of bell foundries and also of people suffering
from breast diseases: so the proceeds of the event, a wonderful £424!,
have been split between the Stockton Heath church funds
towards the re-homing of the bells (£212) and the
Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity (£212).
St Agatha's feastday is actually 5 February, but the final
peal had to be before that as the bells are being removed
in the week beginning 17th January 2011.
The church was crowded with those who wished to hear this
historic peal one last time.
video of ringing
video of removal
During the following week the eight bells have been dismounted
and lowered to the ground. They have been taken, together
with their metal hanging frames, to the J
Taylor & Co Foundry in
Loughborough where they were cast 130 years ago in 1880.
There they will be stored until the church in Stockton
Heath, near Warrington, is ready to hang them once again.
was in Spring 2003 that an article appeared in Bollington Live!
about the threatened closure of St John’s church on Church
Street. Our worst fears came to pass and the building
has remained empty and unused since the end of May 2003. That
article ended with the suggestion that the future of the church
and the graveyard was a project that the Civic Society should
Various rumours circulated about the 1834 building, with views
ranging from its potential to be developed for flats, as a heritage
centre, as a larger location for the Bridgend Centre or its partial
demolition to produce an attractive open space with a better
managed and improved graveyard. We are sure that many have thought
of other ideas, but whatever they were they would have to have
been financially viable. In 2003 a brief was prepared for a thorough
feasibility study to look into the options, but nothing was progressed
at that time. (Look
at the brief)
Bollington Civic Society considered that it was time for the
local community to come together to try to formulate a plan of
action that would resolve the issues, before the building deteriorated
further, or was vandalised, was the subject of a fire or was
developed by a private developer in a way that the community
did not want.
By 2010 we have been unable to find any satisfactory financially
viable use for the building and are supporting the proposal by
the Simply Group to converting it for residential use. The Church
Commissioners now have one offer which proposes just that and
have approved their Pastoral
Scheme procedures to enable a sale.
Interior view - the chairs
have been removed but much else remains
The dark mark to the right of the ceiling is undecorated plaster
at a point where damp had damaged the building. The leak was
repaired and the damp plaster replaced but never decorated.
The Grade II listed building of St John's church stands on a
steeply sloping site on the easterly side of Bollington. This
is a Commissioner's church built 1832-4 by Hayley and Brown on
land given by local MP William Turner of Shrigley Hall. The basic
style is simple and consistent.The walls are pierced by large
regularly space pointed lancets and splayed reveals. It comprises
a five bay nave with a shallow projecting sanctuary and west
tower. The parapets are continuously embattled around the church
and, the typically small, three stage west tower. Externally
the building is unchanged but the interior has been altered on
a number of occasions during the church's history and little
of the original interior survives.
A notice published in the Macclesfield Express, 15th December
2010, says ...
A Pastoral (Church Buildings Disposal) Scheme dated the ninth
day of December 2010 authorised the Church Commissioners to
sell the closed church building of Bollington St John and part
of the churchyard for residential purposes.
There are burials in the churchyard. The Secretary of State
has been asked to make an Order lifting the requirement to
remove human remains buried in the building and land, and they
will remain undisturbed. The Bishop of Chester has directed
that the tombstones, monuments and memorials in the building
and land affected by the Scheme shall be removed to a new location
within the retained churchyard.
You can obtain details of these arrangements and the rights
of personal representatives or relatives of deceased persons
interred in these graves or commemorated by the tombstones,
monuments or memorials from the Commissioners (contact details
below) or inspect them at Bollington Public Library until 21
If you wish to exercise such rights you must give notice to
the Commissioners at the address below by 21 January 2011.
(Signed) on behalf of the Church Commissioners
020 7898 1776
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3AZ
- Based on Church Commissioners, in their Pastoral Scheme