St Martin's Low Marple Heritage Trust
St Martin’s Low Marple Heritage Trust exists to preserve and make known the artistic heritage of St Martin’s church, a Church of England church in Marple, which lies within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport in the Greater Manchester area.
St Martin’s is a parish church in the liberal Catholic tradition of the Church of England. It was founded in 1870 by a local family who, influenced by the Oxford Movement and the ritual revival in the Church of England, wished to establish a church where Anglo-Catholic ceremonial would be observed. To create a worthy setting for this, the church employed prominent architects and designers over a period of fifty years. The church now stands as a treasury of work by artists in the English Arts and Crafts Movement. It is a Grade II* Listed Building, and thus of national significance. The Trust hopes to gain wider recognition of the artistic worth of the church, and to make it more accessible to the local community.
The older part of the present church was consecrated on Friday 11 November 1870 (St Martin's Day). We had hoped to commemorate the occasion with various events, but sadly we cannot now celebrate during lockdown. The service which we had intended to hold on Wednesday 11th November at 6.30 pm will not now take place. But we hope to find an opportunity for commemoration at some point in the remainder of our anniversary year.
St Martin’s church originated with a family who lived at Brabyns Hall in Marple Bridge. This, a farm-house which had grown into a gentleman’s residence in its own park-land, passed in 1866 by inheritance to a distant relative of its previous owners: Mrs Ann Hudson, who then lived in Pau in south-west France. In her seventies, she came to live at Brabyns, accompanied by her unmarried daughter Maria Ann (in her late forties) and a teenage grand-daughter, Fanny Marian. It was reported that ‘immediately on taking up their residence at Brabyns Hall’, the family set up ‘a small wooden chapel, zinc-cased’. The first service was held there on 6 October 1867, and preparations were made for a more permanent church.
We hope during 2021 to follow through the events which we proposed for 2020, our ‘year of William Morris’. Dates will be fixed as soon as possible.