1861 – St. Alban’s Church, Rochdale, Lancashire

Architect: Joseph Clarke


“The church of which a view of the interior appears in our present number, was erected two or three years ago; but through the liberality of Mr. Jonathan Nield, of Dunster House, in the parish of Rochdale, constant additions are being made to the building, decoratively or structurally. Mr. Nield is now about to undertake the entire decoration of the chancel, in a manner corresponding with his former munificence, and with the character of the church.

The building was designed and carried into execution by Mr. Joseph Clarke, F.S.A.; and the additional decorations are designed by him, and are being executed under his superintendence by artists of a high class. It is proposed, for the reredos, to paint a trypticb, after the manner of the early Florentine painters, the subjects to be ” The Lord’s Supper/” with others supplementary. The east wall, above the string-coarse, will be painted in fresco, adopting the new water-glass process, with subjects from the Incarnation of Our Lord; whilst the lower part, in a line with the reredos, is proposed to be enriched with Algerian onyx marbles, and ceramic work. A series painted similarly in fresco, “”the subjects taken from the miracles or parables of Christ, or from the lives of the saints,””will occupy the upper part of the north and south walls. The lower part of these walls will be coloured, in diaper or otherwise.

The roof, which is panelled in wood, will be richly coloured throughout, and painted with a representation of a choir of Angels. The stone-work of the arches, &c, will be slightly enriched with colour. At the sides of the chanccl-arch, the Commandments will be written; and above, will be the seven Acts of Mercy, or other subjects. The present tiles will be removed and a more appropriate floor relaid. The whole of the enrichments are Intended to be of a very costly character; and when completed, they will probably attract much attention.

This description, it may be observed, includes some details of a high-art class which do not appear in the view. Both view and description, of course, are founded on data supplied to us; but we may infer, that since the engraving was commenced, the decoration in the design has expanded in richness and quantity of details.” From The Builder, August 28 1863.