Have you found Marple’s Hidden Gem yet?
Maybe you have walked past it, or by it many times without realising it?
The gem is St. Martin’s Church, Low Marple on Brabyns Brow, next to Marple Station. This church, quite modest from the outside has many wonderful windows and artefacts designed and made by eminent artists and architects.
In 1866 Ann Hudson inherited Brabyns Hall. She decided to have a church built nearby and chose an upcoming young architect, John Dando Sedding to draw up plans in the Gothic style. Sedding commissioned the William Morris firm – a group of artists in the Arts and Crafts Movement – including Gabriel Dante Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown, to design stained glass windows. St. Martin’s was founded in 1867.
The Trust continues to research the building and artefacts and it was recently discovered that the processional cross was designed by the celebrated silversmith Omar Ramsden.
Ann’s daughter, Maria Ann commissioned the Lady Chapel, choosing Henry Wilson to design it and Christopher Whall to paint “Our Lady of the Goyt Valley.” With passing years styles had changed and the Art Nouveau influence is seen in the Lady Chapel.
The Christopher Chapel houses a huge statue of St. Christopher – so large that the outside wall had to be built out three feet to accommodate it. The chapel was built in 1909 in memory of Maria Ann Hudson who died in 1906.
St Martin’s Low Marple Heritage Trust
The Trust is a registered charity set-up to preserve and make known the artistic heritage of St Martin’s church, a Church of England church in Marple, which lies within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport in the Greater Manchester area.
St Martin’s is a parish church in the liberal Catholic tradition of the Church of England. It was founded in 1870 by a local family who, influenced by the Oxford Movement and the ritual revival in the Church of England, wished to establish a church where Anglo-Catholic ceremonial would be observed. To create a worthy setting for this, the church employed prominent architects and designers over a period of fifty years. The church now stands as a treasury of work by artists in the English Arts and Crafts Movement. It is a Grade II* Listed Building, and thus of national significance. The Trust hopes to gain wider recognition of the artistic worth of the church, and to make it more accessible to the local community.
The Trust invites supporters to join up as Friends – anyone in Marple and Marple Bridge interested in art and architecture is welcome to join. It is the Trustees’ plan to provide events throughout each year – talks and visits – and to raise funds for the conservation of our wonderful treasures. For more information visit: www.stmartinsheritagetrust.org.uk