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Church windows spark an unholy row
UNSAFE, unsound and unreasonable.
That is the belief of a Knutsford heritage group which is against plans for a town centre church to relocate five 19th century stained glass windows from the ground floor to the first floor, dispose of a 150 year-old font and replace the Victorian pews.
Knutsford Conservation and Heritage Group believe permission for the changes at the listed St John’s Parish Church on Church Hill should not be given.
The windows that the church hope to move were made by the English firm Heaton, Butler and Bayne – whose work can also be found at Westminster Abbey.
Andrew Malloy, group chairman said the group was disappointed that after meeting with the church its ideas had been ignored.
“We’ve been looking at this for an awful long time as a group,” he said.
“We’ve examined in great detail the artefacts in the church and how the windows came about and what works have taken place over the years.
“We put some suggestions to the church in July but they don’t seem to have taken any of them onboard.
‘We’ve got members of the congregation in our group, and don’t believe there has been as much consultation as there should have been. For a landmark building in the town we feel there should be much more consultation, and that’s why we are bringing this up.”
The earliest stained glass window dates back to 1888, while one is dedicated to Eleanora Muriel Standring who ‘fell asleep aged four’. One was made in 1918 dedicated to a soldier of the First World War, and another is dedicated to former reverends.
The Venerable Ian Bishop, the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, told the Guardian on behalf of the Diocese of Chester the refurbishment would open the church up to the town.
“A substantial refurbishing of this church has been proposed to make it suitable for modern ministry and to make the building more open to the community,” he said.
“As is normal in these matters a very thorough consultation process is under way, and we will listen very carefully to anything that the Knutsford Conservation and Heritage Group have to say.
“The usual public notices about this process have been posted, and there is still a week or so for views to be sent to us. To find out what is proposed interested parties should contact the parish office at St John’s.”
What do you think about the church's stance on its redevelopment? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.