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Christ Church Sketch 2.jpg

Christ Church is constructed of local dark red brick with decorative stone quoins in a classical style.  The main body is composed of seven bays with two tiers of unusual parabolic arched windows framed out in stone with springers and keystones and interlaced Gothic timber windows within.


The chancel is inset slightly and the two levels distinguished by a stone 'string course'.  The building is finished with a mansard slate roof set behind a brick parapet and according to this early lithograph, stone urns once stood atop each of the stone plinths.

An elaborate Palladian tripartite window lights the Chancel at the east end with pairs of double doors and lunettes above either side allowing access and light to the stairwells.  The doors and lunettes are copied on the west side, but the lunettes are false.  The arches above the doors are all semi-circular rather than parabolic.


The former principal doorway on the north side is a two-storey pedimented stone aedicule with unfluted ionic columns.  Wealthier patrons came through this way, lower classes came in the east and west and went straight upstairs; it was also where coffins were taken out down 'the long carry' to their final resting place.  The doorway is described as 'disused' in faculty papers of 1908 and was subsequently blocked up.


The tower at the west end has four diminishing stages, each separated with a stone string course and according to the lithograph, was once topped with stone obelisks above a battlemented parapet.  The tower is unusually tall at 38.4 m (126 feet) and local legend has it that this was a result of Roe’s desire to compete with St Michael’s.  It might simply have been so the tower was visible from the town centre above the rooftops and through the smog of industry.


The top-level of the tower has paired Gothic ogee-headed openings on each side, each louvred to allow the peal of 10 bells to be heard far and wide.  The height and slenderness of the tower meant it shook when the heavy bells were rung so, at Roe's behest, their number was reduced.  His last will and testament read:


“I do hereby particularly request that no Peals exceeding six Bells are rung…and that the same be rung with the greatest care and with the entire consent of the officiating Minister and wardens.”


The full peal of 10 was eventually reinstated following the installation of a new steel bell frame and the bells were lowered by 27 feet to the void below the clock.  The tower still rocks when the bells are rung and eerie creaking can be heard inside when in process.  The level below this is the ringing chamber where the bell ropes hang and where access to the roof void over the rest of the church is found.  The level below houses the twin staircases of the tower that lead up from the doorway and stone steps to the west.

The architect of the church is not known and early records are scarce. It has been suggested that Roe himself was responsible for the design, others suggest Peter Perez Burnett a mathematician, surveyor and cartographer.  Architecturally, the church has the look of being designed by a non-professional utilising widely available pattern books of the day.

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