A visit to the Maghull Community Facebook page earlier today brought me some sad news as I learned that St Helen’s Parish Church (known more as Sefton Church locally) had been visited by thieves who had stolen stone flags from a path at the rear of this historic Grade I Listed Building.
I’ve blogged about this magnificent church a number of times before, not least because I was once a choir boy there for about 3 years around 1970. The fact that I now consider myself to be an atheist does not take anything away from my regard for this historic church which, being in the village of Sefton, our present Borough is named after.
Theft from churches is nothing new of course as miscreants have been stealing lead from church roofs for as long as there have been churches. But never the less it always causes an outcry when it happens and when you add to the sad story that this is the only Grade I Listed Building in Sefton Borough it’s hardly surprising that locals are up in arms.
I consider this church a part of my personal history not least because I met some lovely people associated with it during my time in the choir. What’s more our daughter Jen studied the building during her university course and the church authorities were very helpful to her.
I wonder where the stone flags will turn up? If you’re getting some laid any time soon please think about where they may have come from. It would be nice if the thieves were caught but my guess is that’s probably unlikely. However, if the church needs to raise funds to get them replaced I for one am willing to chip in.
St Helens Church – Sefton Village in model form – Crosby Library
I took the photo above during a visit to Crosby Library a few months back. It’s of the historic Church of Saint Helen in Sefton Village where once this old atheist was a choir boy. It really is a beautiful scale model of the Grade 1 listed building. Here’s a link to previous posting of mine about the church:-
This note was on display with the model
Note on the base of the model stand.
St. Helen’s Church, Sefton Village, where the Borough gets its name from.
The Liverpool Echo has the story on its website – see link below:-
This sounds great but as a resident of one of Sefton’s East Parishes (Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree Village, Sefton & Lunt Villages & Melling) I had to have a sigh as unsurprisingly, at least from my perspective, there’s no light show planned for our part of the Borough.
It takes me back to my time as a Sefton Borough Councillor when I always felt I had to fight to gain recognition for my part of Sefton as you could almost guarantee that whatever was being planned it would only encompass the coastal communities of the Borough.
And it’s not as if the most historic building in the Borough, from which Sefton gains its name, is in the Borough’s coastal communities – It’s Sefton Church in Sefton Village and what a back drop to a light show that would make.
I came across this great video on You Tube and thought it was worth sharing – access it via the link above
The other day Sheila and I had the opportunity to visit and have a guided tour of St Cuthbert’s Church in Halsall, which is over 700 years old and in the same historic league as nearby Sefton Church in Sefton Village which, if I recall correctly, is a little bit older being over 800 years.
Modern stained glass in St Cuthbert’s – Halsall
We heard about Cromwell’s troops being billeted there and the damage that was seemingly done by them to stone carvings – knocking off noses and carving their initials on carved Knights gave slabs!
But what we found fascinating was that there is a close connection between St Cuthbert’s and Lydiate’s own St. Catherine’s Chapel, otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey. This connection is via the Ireland family.
St Catherine’s also known as Lydiate Abbey
St. Cuthbert’s is pre-reformation so whilst a C of E Parish Church now it was originally a Roman Catholic place of worship. We were told that folks living in Maghull & Lydiate would have travelled all the way to St Cuthbert’s on a Sunday, despite St. Helen’s Church in Sefton Village and Christ Church in Aughton being nearer for them. Seems in those days you had to and were expected to attend what was designated to be your parish church – no issue of choice back then for the poor in particular.
The stained glass photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:- www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/
Click on the photo to enlarge it
I came across a 2017 calendar the other day and this was the January picture. I took to it straight away and it turned out that the calendar was of the paintings of Harold S Scott.
Of course Sefton Parish is now in Sefton Borough, indeed the Borough takes its name from the historic village, but it was in West Lancashire until local government reorganisation in 1974.
What a lovely painting of a church that is close to my heart because I was choir boy there around 1970 when it was lit by candles and oil lamps.