St. Margaret’s church was commissioned by George Harry Grey, 7th Earl of Stamford and designed by architect William Hayley. The building was dedicated in memory of Lord Stamford’s sister Margaret; construction began in 1851 and was completed in 1855.
St. Margaret’s is grade II* listed. The building’s architectural style is perpendicular and it is brick built with Yorkshire stone wall-facings. The interior is most impressive, including a hammer beam roof with carved angels, modelled on Westminster Hall in London. A large reredos, modelled on the Henry VII chapel in Westminster Abbey, and an elegant plaster sanctuary ceiling are other notable features. The tower has a peal of ten bells cast in 1854 by John Taylor.
Notable clergy & congregation
- The Rev Hewlett Johnson, who later became the’ Red Dean’ of Canterbury, was the incumbent from 1908 – 1919. His unconventional views on war caused him to be rejected as an army chaplain but he officiated at prisoner of war camps in the parish. He left St Margaret’s to become an honorary canon at Chester Cathedral in 1919 and subsequently Dean of Canterbury in 1935
- The Rev Geoffrey Studdart Kennedy better known as ‘Woodbine Willie’ in the first world war, regularly preached at St Margaret’s. He was famed in WW1 for giving Woodbine cigarettes and spiritual sustenance to injured and dying soldiers
- The Emperor of Ethiopia , Haille Selassie, worshipped here whilst in exile in Bath following the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and during the second world war. He was a friend of the last Earl of Stamford, Roger Grey and was a guest of the Earl in 1938, remaining a life-long friend
Our own vicar, Rev Jerry Sutton, left for pastures new in September 2019 and we are now in an interregnum period whilst we await the appointment of a new vicar
The office of Churchwarden dates back to the 14th Century when the Wardens were, and still are, the chief liaison persons between the parish and the Vicar, and the chief administrative assistants of the parish.
Churchwardens have many legal duties, such as keeping up to date an Inventory and Terrier of the church’s property, but very high on the list of our wardens’ priorities is demonstrating that St. Margaret’s is a warm, friendly and inclusive place of worship.
Our church warden of 20 years, Dr Sue Elves, has been appointed Sequestrator during the interregnum.
Dr Jane Hobbs has been appointed to work alongside Sue deputising as warden, until the Parochial AGM which has been postponed until September .
We say thank you to Christine Armstrong who has retired as warden after 20 years dedicated and much valued service . Her successor will be appointed in September
You will always be warmly welcomed at St Margaret’s by our Wardens.
Music is a strong tradition at St Margaret’s and our magnificent Johannus Rembrandt 4 manual organ is used to great effect in magnificent church surroundings.
We have hosted many musical events. The famous Alteri choir have been regular performers here and Christmas concerts, organ recitals and many other musical performances have been held in this beautiful building.
Our director of music Terence Crolley MSc, FRSA, FLSM composes for our services, most notably our sung Eucharist which is unique to St Margaret’s and penned by him. Terry plays as a guest organist at Oxford University and we are privileged to call him our own.
St Margaret’s car boot sales are marked by Terry playing personal requests (for a small fee !!) all contributions going to the fund to maintain our building and the service we provide to our parish.
Family services are often marked by songs by our ‘Hot Chocolate Club’, accompanied on the guitar by our vicar, much to the delight of all.
Maintaining our beautiful churches as a place of worship and service to our community is a costly business. We are dependent on funds for repair and maintenance and to pay for all the routine bills. If you feel you can give regularly please join our giving programme by setting up a standing order to either of our churches or you can join our envelope scheme. If you are a tax payer we can claim the charity tax relief.
If our churches have played a part in your life, whether it be baptism, marriage or the funeral of a loved one, please consider donating to help maintain our churches. You may also wish to leave a charitable gift in your will. Legacy gifts are vital in helping us to continue our work.