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Church of St John the Evangelist and Parish Hall including boundary walls and railings, gates and gateposts, and lychgate

A Grade II Listed Building in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.2734 / 53°16'24"N

Longitude: -2.9362 / 2°56'10"W

OS Eastings: 337667

OS Northings: 375562

OS Grid: SJ376755

Mapcode National: GBR 7ZYL.49

Mapcode Global: WH87T.WZ0G

Plus Code: 9C5V73F7+8G

Entry Name: Church of St John the Evangelist and Parish Hall including boundary walls and railings, gates and gateposts, and lychgate

Listing Date: 23 June 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1438484

Also known as: Church of St John the Evangelist and Parish Hall including boundary walls and railings, gates and gateposts, and lychgate

ID on this website: 101438484

Location: St John's Church, Great Sutton, Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire, CH66

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Electoral Ward/Division: Sutton

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Ellesmere Port

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Tagged with: Church building

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Little Sutton


Anglican church and a round bell tower with conical stone roof, including former school of 1879 now used as a parish hall, by David Walker of Liverpool, together with their boundary walls and railings, gates and gateposts and lychgate.


Anglican church of 1879, and former school now used as parish hall, by David Walker of Liverpool.

MATERIALS: the buildings are constructed of coursed, rock-faced sandstone with slate roofs.

PLAN: the church has a chancel, SW turret with spire, and nave. The school is T-shaped in plan.


EXTERIOR: set back from the Chester Old Road with surrounding churchyard, the church is designed in a free adaptation of the C13 Gothic style. Openings all have ashlar quoined surrounds. The single-bay chancel is lower and narrower than the nave, with a low-level buttress towards the E end of each side, and a vestry on the N side. The vestry is entered by a door on the E wall with steps. The E end of the chancel has corbelled and gableted kneelers. The E window is a tall pointed arch with portrait hoodmould stops. It is of four equal lights separated by slender chamfered mullions, with simple geometric tracery in the arch. The vestry has a two-light mullioned window in the N wall, and the S wall of the chancel two adjacent windows; one plain with a shouldered pointed arch, and one of two similar lights with a quatrefoil above.

The three-bay nave has mid-height buttresses and gableted coping kneelers. A boiler-house* and enclosure* have been erected against the N side. The windows are of two and three lights with mullions and trefoil and quatrefoil tracery. A SW porch clasps the square base of the slim stone turret, which is cylindrical with a conical ashlar roof, slender belfry lancets, and lucarnes. The porch has buttresses, a Gothic-arched doorway with delicately-carved imposts, and a late-C20 gate*. The W window has a hoodmould with portrait stops, and is tripartite with octagonal columns, a central mullion and pointed heads with geometric tracery. Rainwater goods are cast-iron, supported on curlicued brackets.

INTERIOR: the chancel is separated by an arch and a screen in the Perpendicular style with openwork panels, niches and statues of SS Mary, Peter, John and Mary Magdalene. The E window is by the Mayer company and depicts scenes in the life of Christ. The chancel S window shows Christ healing Peter's wife's mother. The roof is barrel-vaulted with moulded timbers, and the floor has patterned encaustic tiles, partly concealed by carpets*. The altar, altar-rail, reading-desk and choir pews are all of oak. The octagonal stone pulpit with Purbeck marble shafts is in the same style as the font, which is still in its original location at the W end of the nave. The nave has a wood-block floor and retains simple pews. The roof is exposed, with queen-post trusses (supported on moulded stone corbels) with two collars, struts and arched braces. The nave S window by H G Hiller depicts Christ blessing little children, flanked by scenes of the 'New Order' as described in the Gospel of St John. A second window on the S wall shows local scenes, including the Stanlow oil refinery and the Manchester Ship Canal. The W window is by Henry Holiday, possibly manufactured by Clayton and Bell and depicts Old and New Testament scenes on the themes of faith, hope and love.

On the N wall are an alabaster tablet with portraits of Peter Owen and Stanley Owen beneath Gothic canopies, and matching alabaster memorials to two grandsons of Peter Owen who were killed in conflict, one surmounted by the insignia of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment; and the other by that of the Red Cross. The W wall hosts the carved oak parish war memorial, flanked by the battlefield crosses of four Great Sutton men who died in Flanders. The porch floor is laid with polychrome tiles and the roof has scissor-brace trusses.


EXTERIOR: in an ecclesiastical Gothic style in coursed rock-faced stone matching the church, the hall is orientated E-W. It is surmounted by a tall, slated fleche which is diagonally set and has timber louvres. The red clay ridge tiles have holed crests. The S wall has a projecting, shouldered chimney breast to the right with two octagonal flues and replacement pots*. Either side of this are paired lancet windows, all linked by a projecting sill band. At the left is the projecting porch, with a central gothic doorway with original timber door beneath a gable, flanked by outshuts under catslide roofs. To the right is a concrete ramp* with galvanised steel handrails*. Modern rooflights* have been inserted. On the left return, the main wall in the centre is buttressed and gabled, while the W walls of each porch have a pair of small windows. The large W window of the hall is of four lights, with stone mullions, and transoms to the two taller central lights. Quatrefoils decorate the ashlar tympanum above the outer lights. Each junction of the metal glazing bars has a floral boss. The N side is similar to the S, but with a chimney stack behind the porch rather than offset, and a longer eastern outshut to the porch. To the left of the N door, a stone-coped boundary wall projects towards the road; this is faced with stone to the W, but brick to the E, with a later brick end quoined in. To the left of the outshut is a three-light window with later rooflights above, and further left a single-light window; these are linked by a projecting sill band. The sill band returns along the E wall, rising in the centre to meet the higher sill of the E window. This is similar to the W window but of three lights, and with a plain tympanum. The E walls of both porches have two-centred-arched doorways.

INTERIOR: a cross-wall* with large triangular window* divides the hall in two, with a mezzanine floor* to the W, and modern finishes* throughout. A brass plaque records the dedication to Eleanor Owen.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: a lychgate with stone walls and oak roof and gates stands at the SW corner of the churchyard. Stone walls topped with iron railings run along the western and southern boundaries; railings of a similar design run along the eastern boundary, as far as the path along the S elevation, where there is a gate. A wrought-iron gate with cast-iron posts leads from the churchyard to the parish hall, which has a stone boundary wall in the NE corner.

*EXCLUSIONS: pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the aforementioned items are not of special architectural or historic interest.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 16 August 2017.


The Church of St John the Evangelist was built on land donated by RC Naylor, Liverpool banker and owner of the large Hooton estate. Two local families, the Owens of Great Sutton Manor, and the Shallcrosses of Capesthorne Grange were the major benefactors. Rev Charles Mayall became the first vicar of the parish. The church was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on 24 November 1879.

In addition to the church, the commission included a school and vicarage. A drawing hanging in the school, now the parish hall (since 1972), shows the original design, with the three buildings fronting Chester Old Road. Although the full scheme was realised, in the early C20 the vicarage and land were sold for development. The ‘Eleanor Schools’ was built at the same time as the church, at the expense of Peter Owen, in memory of his wife Eleanor, and was gifted to the church in 1913. Despite the name and the two entrances, the building was originally a single open space. A cross-wall and mezzanine floor were inserted in the late C20. The churchyard was consecrated for burials in 1908, and in 1913 the present stone wall and railings were erected together with the lychgate, which were memorial gifts of the widow and sisters of Stanley Owen.

The E and W windows of 1879-80 were given in memory of Elisabeth Shallcross and Eleanor Owen respectively, wives of the founders, and the pulpit and font were given by friends as a joint memorial to them. The nave S window of 1908 was given in memory of Thomas Shallcross. The chancel screen dates from 1909 and was designed by the Liverpool architects Charles Deacon and WP Horsburgh, and carved by Harry Hems. It was given in memory of Peter Owen by his sons and daughters. The chancel S window and the altar rail are also in memory of Peter Owen, given by friends and parishioners. A memorial tablet to Peter Owen and Stanley Owen is of 1914, while both memorials to two grandsons of Peter Owen appear to post-date the death of the second of these, in 1936. Four wooden crosses were brought back from the graves of Great Sutton men who died on the battlefields of Flanders, probably in the 1920s, and perhaps at the same time the adjacent parish war memorial was erected. A separate wooden memorial records the names of the Fallen of the Second World War. A window on the S wall showing local scenes is by Ray Coomber and was installed in 2004.

David Walker of Liverpool (1840-1892) was a pupil of William Hardie Hay and James Murdoch Hay, who practised in Edinburgh before also setting up in Liverpool with their elder brother John, who died in 1861. This Scottish link might be behind the choice of the round tower, which is more common in Scotland (see, for example, the church of St Matthew and St George, Oldmeldrum of 1863, Category B listed, by Ross and Joass, to which St John’s bears considerable resemblance). Walker entered partnership with John Wilkes Poundley, practising as Poundley and Walker with offices in Liverpool and Kerry (Montgomeryshire) until 1867. After 1867, Walker continued to work extensively in Wales and specialised in ecclesiastical work, adopting a scholarly interest in mediaeval church carpentry and writing articles for antiquarian journals.

Stained glass makers the Mayer company had its origins in the Institute for Christian Art Works, founded in Munich in 1847 by Josef Gabriel Mayer (1808-1883) to revive and promote the church building trades of the Middle Ages. It started to manufacture stained glass in the early 1860s, meeting with such success that in 1865 it opened a branch in London. A New York branch was opened in 1888. The firm is still active and managed by descendants of the founder.

Henry Holiday (1839-1927) was an artist at the heart of the Arts and Crafts movement, being a founder member of The Fifteen, the Art Workers' Guild and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. In a career devoted primarily to applied decorative art he exhibited paintings and sculpture at the Royal Academy and became an influential force in British stained glass, rejecting mediaevalism in favour of modern aesthetic design. He also illustrated Lewis Carroll's 'Hunting of the Snark'.

Reasons for Listing

The church of St John the Evangelist at Great Sutton, a parish church of 1879, and the parish hall, a former school of 1879, together with their boundary walls and railings, gates and gateposts and lychgate, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural Interest
* Design quality: as a good example of mid-Victorian Gothic ecclesiastical design on a small scale, with a circular bell tower reminiscent of Irish monastic towers and of Scottish Gothic-revival church towers;
* Fixtures and fittings: for the good quality fixtures and fittings, in particular (in the church) the screen carved by Harry Hems, the stained glass by the Mayer company, Henry Holiday, HG Hiller and Ray Coomber, and the wall monuments to members of the Owen family, and (in the school) the unusual decorative cast-iron windows;
* Degree of survival: due to the little-altered appearance and arrangements in the church, enhanced by sensitive re-ordering, and the limited interventions in the school;
* Group value: of the church with its Sunday school, by the same designer;

Historic Interest
* Architect: for the association with the notable architect David Walker of Liverpool who designed numerous listed buildings in England and Wales.

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