ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE …………
for the Art Appreciation group
The fine town of Cheadle in North Staffordshire is home to St Giles’ the finest Gothic Revival Church in England. This extraordinary structure was commissioned by John Talbot, the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury and is the work of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. The brief given to the architect was seemingly a simple one – Talbot wanted to build a church ‘that would have no rival’ and to this end a generous budget was allocated to the project. Pugin’s meticulous eye for detail was put to work in a preparatory visit to the early churches of Norfolk where his drawings (now in the V&A) included details of mouldings, tracery patterns and canopy work. He wrote “I will not let anything pass for Cheadle that is not the true thing. It must be perfection”. The degree to which he succeeded may be inferred from a letter written by the Earl to Pugin in which he mentions the proposed visit by a relative to Cheadle ‘to see the Gem’. Whether or not the Earl originated the sobriquet ‘Pugin’s Gem’ it has certainly stuck and remains the popular name for St Giles’ to this day.
A special thank you to John Christian for all photographs used.