St. Michael’s – Kirkham

St Michael’s Church is in the town of Kirkham, Lancashire, England. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Blackburn, the archdeaconry of Lancaster and the deanery of Kirkham.

The earliest evidence of a church on the site is in 684 AD. Kirkham was one of the oldest foundations in Lancashire and one of only three listed in the Doomsday Book as existing in Amounderness. This hundred was part of the vast possessions of Roger earl of Poictou and the church was held by the Priory Church of St. Mary, Lancaster. William of York (died 1154) issued a charter to return the church to Shrewsbury Abbey. In a later charter, dated 5 December 1280, King Edward I conveyed the advowson of Kirkham to the abbott and convent of Vale Royal Abbey which held the church until the Dissolution in the reign King Henry VIII. It was then given to the dean and chapter of Christ Church, Oxford.

The fabric of the present church dates from 1822 when the nave, designed by Robert Roper, an architect from Preston, was built. The cost of the nave was £5,000 (equivalent to £460,000 in 2015). In 1843–44 the steeple, designed by the Lancaster architect Edmund Sharpe, and built in Longridge stone, was added at the west end.

The foundation stone for this was laid on 21 November 1843 by Thomas Clifton of Lytham Hall. In 1853 the chancel was rebuilt, probably by Joseph Hansom, to make the altar visible from the nave. The north and south galleries were removed in the middle of the 20th century and the area under the west gallery has been turned into a separate room.

In 2004 it was discovered that the spire had developed structural problems because the iron ties reinforcing the stones had corroded. An appeal to repair the spire was launched.

The church is built in sandstone ashlar with slate roofs. Its plan consists of a six-bay nave without aisles, a three-bay chancel with aisles which are now used as vestries. To the north and south gabled porches project slightly from the second bays from west. The other bays have lancet windows between gabled buttresses. The nave is in Early English style and the chancel is in Decorated style.

The steeple is in Perpendicular style. It has angle buttresses and is in four stages. The parapet is embattled and pinnacles rise from the corners. The octagonal spire is recessed and rises to a height of 150 feet. It is crocketed, has three tiers of two-light lucarnes and is supported by four flying buttresses.

Unfortunately when I arrived the Church was closed to the public. There seems to be a considerable amount of work going on to the left side with Scaffolding covering it. Although I did take pictures of that I have decided not to share them as they make the Church look awful.

Click any image to enlarge.