A W Pugin, probably best known for his work on the Houses of Parliament, was also the architect of a number of churches. He described one of these, the Catholic church of St Giles in Cheadle, Staffordshire, as 'perfect Cheadle - my consolation in all afflictions.' Built for John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and consecrated in 1846, it is certainly an incredible building whose amazing interior has survived intact:
An extraordinary building. Have you read Rpsemary Hill's biography of Pugin, which came out a couple of years ago? It's an outstanding account of the man behind the buildings and his short but highly productive life.
I haven't read it yet, but it's definitely on my list.
Even considering the Cambridge Camden Society, High Anglicanism and the move towards gothic architecture and gothic piety, this church is initially a bit of a shock.
Historians suggest that many really believed in the superiority of the High Anglican Church and were perfectly comfortable with Gothic revival in piety and in architecture. But perhaps the majority adopted it solely for some romantic, idyllic notion of British history.
However Augustus Welby Pugin became a Catholic and he enjoyed a very fruitful professional relationship with John Talbot, 16th Earl of Shrewsbury, who
also became a Catholic. Clearly St Giles shouldn't shock us at all!
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