Lawrence Lew’s pictures of Cheadle

Cheadle polychrome, originally uploaded by Lawrence OP.

Lawrence OP has posted some fantastic pictures of A W N Pugin’s masterpiece, the Roman Catholic church of St Giles, Cheadle in Staffordshire. The church was built between 1841 and 1846 for Pugin’s principal patron the sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury. Built in the ‘middle pointed’ style the church is a wonderful romantic medievalist vision, a dark mysterious interior with soaring pillars covered in rich polychromy and a profusion of detail in metalwork and encaustic tiles. The church was also intended to express Pugin’s liturgical ideal that the newly emancipated Catholic church would adopt the English medieval use of Sarum. So he incorporates objects such as an Easter Sepulchre (see below) that had fallen out of use in continental Roman Catholicism. Anyway Lawrence’s photos speak for themselves and as always he includes an excellent commentary on each photo.

2 thoughts on “Lawrence Lew’s pictures of Cheadle

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  1. These are the finest shots I have seen of St Giles, which I have never visited. Beautiful. Thanks to Fr. Lawrence and to you. The painting inside the Easter sepulchre looks more Prince Albert’s taste (tho’ perhaps he would have gone for a better artist?) than Pugin’s. Apparently contemporary with the church, but part of Pugin’s scheme?My first year in the US, the librarian of St. Louis Public’s architecture library asked if I could help with the cataloguing of a copy of “Contrasts”. She had a copy of the then recently-published Leicester U Press facsimile, and a slim, small 4to volume bound in early Victorian morocco. Almost their only point in common was the title. The Victorian volume was a hand-drawn prototype “Contrasts”, prepared by Pugin as he worked towards his final, published version. There was also a book of ink drawings of an idealized medieval parish church (not published in any form), a volume of reproduced metalwork designs, identical, as I recall, with the published work, and another title which now slips my mind, identical with the published book.Scans from the St Louis Public “Contrasts” are now on line:


  2. The juxtaposition of the sepulchre and it’s decoration with the emotional romantic pieta is, I think, a perfect exposition on the essence of AWN Pugin – forget not his experience as a theatrical set designer and his emotional and romantic personality. We are indeed indebted to Br Lawrence’s excellent photography which perfectly captures the Cheadle I’ve seen in person in a way I’ve not seen in photographs before.


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