History and Buildings
St Bridget’s Church is usually OPEN on Monday to Friday afternoons from 2:30 to 4:30.
Do come in to look around, to pray, to find peace in the presence of God.
It is hard to pinpoint how old St Bridget’s Church is, since it has been altered and added to over many centuries. Though we know that Christians worshipped here at the time of the first Millennium, the earliest parts of the building surviving and visible are the VESTRY DOORWAY and some of the masonry north wall of the Lady Chapel which are of the early 14th century. For a technical architectural description, click here and search for “West Kirby”.
There is a ring of 8 bells, 4 of them over 200 years old – a skilled team ring for Sunday morning services as well as weddings and other occasions.Much of the EAST WALL of the chancel and chapel is of 15th and 16th century date, although the window tracery (the stone divisions within the window) is a Victorian renewal of old work.
There was a major restoration of the church in 1869/1870 by the architects Kelly and Edwards of Chester. They rebuilt the aisle walls and replaced the arcades (the arches) which had been removed in the 18th century. At the same time, and in the years afterwards, a number of very fine fittings were added, including the stained glass and ironwork.
The “Hogback” stone is of Anglo-Norse origin, and dates from the early eleventh century, and the Norse (or “Viking”) settlement of Wirral. It represents evidence of Christian burial and the use of this site for Christian worship at the last Millennium. It is a powerful reminder of the long Christian inheritance of the worshipping community at St Bridget’s. It is appropriate that one of the oldest artefacts in this area is one which can witness to the vitality and continuity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is “the same, yesterday, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Read Professor Williams account of the Hogback Stone by clicking here
The tracery of the EAST WINDOW behind the High Altar is almost identical to that at Shifnal Church in Shropshire, but otherwise unique in design.The STAINED GLASS is almost all to the design of Charles Kempe, thought by many to be the premier Victorian designer. It spans almost his whole career, from the Chapel east window of 1870 through to the dormer windows in the roof of 1906/7.Click here for more detailed images of the East WindowClick for Kempe’s Annunciation window
The FONT, though it dates from the restoration of the Church, is based on a Norman design and is wide and deep, allowing in theory for baptism of children by total immersion (and for adults to sit in it and have the baptismal water poured over them !). We have yet to find any parents willing to have such an immersion baptism for their child!. However administered, Baptism is the sign of the new beginning God offers to us in Jesus Christ, washing away all that is wrong, showing his forgiveness, and raising us up to new life
The North Porch
Exterior showing the North Porch
St Bridget (or Brigid, Bride) was a contemporary of St Patrick, born about the year 455, traditionally to a pagan father and a Christian mother. She founded a religious community at Kildare, and became Abbess. Religious communities in the Celtic Church were often centres of study and evangelism, and Bridget is thus one of those responsible for the spread of the Gospel in Ireland. God’s grace in Bridget was remembered throughout the Celtic world – hence the dedication of this church.
West Kirby Museum
The West Kirby Museum is in St Bridget’s Centre, and contains exhibits showing the history of the fabric of St Bridget’s Church over the last thousand years. Please click here for more information on the West Kirby Museum.
For a technical architectural descriptions of Caldy Church, click here.Caldy Church was consecrated as the Church of the Resurrection and All Saints on All Saints Day 1907. There had been no public church in the village prior to then although Elizabeth Barton, our benefactor, had built a chapel in the grounds of the Manor, in memory of her late husband Richard and called Chapel of the Resurrection. The new Church was converted from St Agnes’s School which had closed because there were only 9 children registered there in March 1903. Many of the furnishings from the Chapel in the Manor were moved into the new church continuing the strong links between the Manor and the church. Elizabeth also provided in her will, finance for a priest for the Chapel or ” any new chapel to be provided”.One of the important items she provided was a chalice into which her diamond engagement ring was set, but this was sadly stolen when the church was burgled in 1987.
In 1893 the Manor passed to the Rev E A Waller, who added the north aisle and a saddle back tower. The building and its decoration – windows, reredos, screen and other fittings – has an attractive unity of style, mainly from this single period. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the parishioners have continued to care devotedly for the church. It was refurbished in the 1960s, when the stalls and screens were painted in the present grey, white, gold and crimson.
Caldy Church Hall
Elizabeth Barton had provided in 1883 a “reading room” for the villagers and this was purchased by the church in 1964 and converted into a church hall which we now see as the black and white building adjacent to the church.
Records of baptisms, marriages and burials are transferred to the Diocesan Record Office. Enquiries should be directed to:The Diocesan Archivist, Chester Diocesan Record Office,Duke Street, Chester, CH1 1RL01244 602 574e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Church of England’s Family History
The Cheshire Parish Register Project
The Cheshire Parish Register Project is in the process of transcribing the records from the years 1571-1871 onto an internet database. Click here for more info.