Repairs at St Anne's Church in Chasetown near completion
Published: Friday, May 29, 2015
A project to undertake extensive repairs to save St Anne’s Church in Chasetown for future generations is nearing completion, with funding support from the National Churches Trust.
In 2014, the National Churches Trust was proud to support St Anne’s Church in Chasetown, Staffordshire with a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant, to help repair the roof, rainwater goods, masonry, pointing, and bell frame.
The original timetable for the project at St Anne’s would have seen the work completed by October 2014, but several unexpected issues delayed progress, including the discovery of three pipistrelle bats in the roof space when they stripped off the first row of old roof slates, requiring bat surveyors to come in to carry out reports. Nevertheless, despite these delays the works have progressed well, and the congregation is looking forward to seeing their Church restored to its full glory in only a few weeks’ time.
The Miners' Church
In the late 1850s George Poole began holding Sunday evening services in a carpenter's shop in Chasetown. With a burgeoning population in the early 1860s forcing the congregation to move to the Cannock Chase Colliery School, the need for a proper church became apparent, and St Anne’s Church was built in 1865.
St Anne’s Church owes a great debt to the McClean family, who owned the local Cannock Chase Colliery Company. John Robinson McClean, Director of the Company, funded the new church, as a place for his miners to worship. His nephew D. S. McClean was its first Minister. When John died in 1873, the patronage of St Anne’s passed to his son Frank – and when that patronage transferred to the vicar of Burntwood in 1888, the McClean’s Company provided a house for the new incumbent. In 1876 Anna McClean, John’s widow, donated £1,000 to provide an income for keeping the church in good repair.
St Anne’s Church was designed by Edward Adams of Westminster. He was an industrial architect who devoted most of his time to designing railway stations, and the church’s symmetrical design reflects the style of the Romanesque Revival. St Anne’s was built from polychrome brick with a slate roof, and consists of an apsidal chancel and an aisled nave of four bays. There is a bell in a cote over the west end. The interior of the apse has marble panels. The chancel is laid with Minton tiles, while the sanctuary is of stone inlaid with alabaster.
A Pioneering Building
In 1883, St Anne’s became the first church in England to be supplied with electricity, when its close association with the local colliery led to an electricity cable being laid between No. 2 Pit and the Church. A piece of the original cable still exists, and is on display. In 1938, it is also believed that the church became the first to have been fitted with an electric bell rung.
St Anne’s also boasts fine First World War monuments. On the conclusion of the conflict, it was decided to commemorate the local miners who had fought and lost their lives. Four memorial plaques were dedicated to the miners from No. 2 Pit, No. 3 Pit, No. 8 Pit and No. 9 Pit, which were originally located at No. 2 Pit in Church Street. When No. 2 Pit closed down, the plaques were transferred to the exterior wall of St Anne’s Church.
Anne Terry, Churchwarden at St Anne’s, said:
“There was great excitement once we could see the slates going back on the roof as from ground level it was hard to see the progress being made after the initial stripping back had taken place. In the last few weeks there has been a noticeable reduction in the amount of heat we have been losing from the building as a result of the work carried out to date. The congregation is pleased to be warmer and the PCC delighted as the fuel bills will now start to come down!
All told, it’s been an interesting year and thankfully our roof project is almost complete. We can pass our baton on to future generations who worship at, or just visit St Anne’s, pleased that that we have done our bit to help preserve a pretty unique building that can continue to be used and enjoyed well into the future. Thanks again for the grant we received - without this and without all the help and support we've had form other grant providers, our congregation, friends at other churches in the area, local businesses and friends and relatives we wouldn't have managed to get it done.”
Help us to help more churches like St Anne's
The National Churches Trust relies solely upon the generosity of our supporters to fund our work. Last year we helped to rescue over 140 churches, chapels and meeting houses across the UK, but sadly we currently receive far more requests for help than we can possibly answer, and are forced to turn down three out of every four places of worship that apply for a grant.
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