A History of the Church

A chapel was founded on this site soon after the borough was established around 1220. This was extended or rebuilt, as All Hallows or All Saints, around 1278 by Queen Eleanor, the wife of King Edward I. It has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1901. However a number of important additions remain from earlier times, especially the Legh and Savage chapels, and several memorials.

The Legh chapel was built around 1442 to receive the body of Sir Piers Legh who fought at Agincourt and died later in the same campaign. The Savage Chapel, a much larger chantry chapel,, was built between 1505 and 1507 by Thomas Savage, Archbishop of York. At this time also a Grammar School was founded, with buildings at the back of the church, whose first schoolmaster was the priest of the chapel. This Grammar School later became the King's School, Macclesfield (on another site) and still has close connections with the church.

In and near these chapels and in the Chancel there are a number of fine medieval monuments. Also there is a large monument to Thomas, third Earl Rivers (d. 1694). This is by the famous Stuart sculptor William Stanton and considered to be one of his best.

The first extant Parish Register began in 1572 and the old registers are deposited at Cheshire County Record Office. http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/recoff/home.htm

The church was rebuilt in Georgian style in 1740, following a long period of neglect.

A final rebuild took place from 1898 to 1901, this time in Victorian Gothic, except for the still surviving chapels. This present church was designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and built of local stone from Teggs Nose, except for the tower which was partly rebuilt from the stone of the previous church.

A further reordering, known as “Open Door” Phase 1, took place between June 2003 and May 2004 to provide a welcome area (Narthex), meeting rooms and an office at the West End. A second phase is planned in which the room to the South East of the building will be equipped as a Youth Centre.

For a detailed history of the church please read: “The Church in the Market Place” by Jane Laughton. This is a major historical study of the church, set in the context of local and national history. It is Softback, with 168 pages and over 60 illustrations including many historic documents. Copies of the book are on sale, priced £11.95 plus £1.65 UK post and packing, and are available from: Macclesfield Team Parish Office, St Michael & All Angels Church, Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1HW. All proceeds to Open Door.