The Consecration Story

A brief outline of the consecration of St Faith's on April 21st, 1901, features in the various histories of our church. This recently discovered fuller account, published a few days after the event in the now defunct Liverpool Mercury newspaper,
adds some interesting detail to what we already know, but also throws up some puzzling references which seem to contradict the published accounts. It also spells out in entertaining detail the first of a series of protests against our church...

An analysis of these discrepancies, and a commentary on other aspects of interest, will follow before long. Thanks to John Woodley for unearthing the newspaper account. The text that follow reproduces the exact punctuation and spelling of the 1901 account.

March 4th, 2013



On Sunday morning, in the presence of a large congregation, the Church of St Faith, Waterloo, was consecrated by the Archbishop of York (Dr McLagan). The new place of worship, which occupies a site in Crosby Road North, opposite College Road, has been built by Mr. Douglas Horsfall, of Mere Bank, Sefton Park, at an estimated cost of £18,000. This locality is rapidly increasing in population, and this elaborate building has been erected to meet a growing need.

The edifice is of the late Gothic style of architecture, freely treated. The external and internal walls are of red Accrington bricks, and the window dressings of red Runcorn sandstone. The church has been constructed to hold 800, the nave being 109ft long ad 30ft wide, with narrow aisles 74ft in length, The pews in the nave are of pitchpine. Owing to the size of the church, which is covered by a massive roof of Westmoreland slates, it has been thought advisable to place the pulpit, or red Scotch stone, in the nave.  The chancel is unusually large, with fittings of mahogany stained green, and the pavement is of rust mosaic. There is a fine reredos, made in Venice by Salviati, and designed by Mr H.B.Bryans, the centre panel representing the Crucifixion, with St John the Divine and the Virgin Mary. There are other panels depicting the Four Evangelists. Below the principal panel is a representation in mosaic of the “Agnus Dei”.

The dedicatory stone stands in the north wall, on a level with clerestory windows, and bears an inscription stating that the church is dedicated to the glory of God and as a thankoffering for the revival of Catholic faith and doctrine in the Church of England during 60 years’ reign of her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.

The church, which is lighted by gas and heated by hot-water pipes, has been built from the plans of Messrs Grayson and Ould, James-street, Liverpool, Messrs Roberts and Robinson being the contractors. The vicar of the new church is the Rev. Thomas H. Baxter, B.A., of London. The living, which Mr Baxter accepted some time ago, is worth £150 a year, and a like sum will be charged on the pew rents. Mr Baxter, who is in his 38th year, was educated at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, where he took classical honours in 1885. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of London in 1888, and priest by the Bishop of Bedford in 1889. He was curate of St. Mary’s, Upper Edmonton, London, N., under the Rev. E.M.Burney, from 1886 to 1892, and priest-in-charge of Christ Church Mission, Kensal, from 1892 to1900.

The service on Saturday morning was commenced at eleven o’clock. The archbishop was attended by the registrar (Mr. R. Farmer) and his private chaplain, the Rev. W. Pennyman. Amongst the large number of clergy present were Canon Armour, Canon Leigh, Canon Stewart, Canon Willis, Canon Jones, Revs T.H. Baxter, E.A. Duke, C.C. Elcum, F.O. Poole, G.W. Wall, R. Love, M.F. Bell, S. Firman, A. Markham, S.J. Sykes, E. Harding, T.K. Dickson, R.F. Herring, J. Bell-Cox, C. de B. Winslow, W.B. Taylor, R.F.G. Smithwick, F. Hoctor, F.W.T. Greenwood, and W.A. Reeves.

At the hour announced for the proceedings to commence the choir formed in processional order at the end of the church near the font, at which time his Grace was standing in the porch outside the entrance of the building. Having delivered a brief but appropriate blessing, he opened the main doors of the edifice, and, stepping inside, he made a suitable declaration, to which the choir responded. After an additional blessing, the hymn “All people that on earth do dwell” was rendered. During the singing of the hymn, the choir, with the clergy in the rear, walked slowly to the choir stalls, and the service of consecration was commenced. The choral portion of the service was of an interesting character. Mr. T.E. Lewis presided at the organ, and Mr. J.E. Stammers, organist of St. Agnes Church, Ullet-road, Sefton Park, officiated at the piano. In the organ loft was a full orchestral band, under the leadership of Mr B. Rowlands, of Waterloo. A portion of the consecration service was composed by Mr. Lewis, and the concluding hymn,, “Lord, amongst the White-robed Martyrs,” was composed by the Rev. C.C. Elcum. The Archbishop having declared the church to be duly consecrated, preached a sermon from the 4th chapter of Ephesians, 12th verse, “For the perfecting of the Saints”.

Canon Armour, while preaching last evening at St. Faith’s Church, Waterloo, was affected with giddiness. He was compelled to discontinue his sermon and retire to the vestry. We are glad to hear that the illness is by no means severe, and that the rev. gentleman was able to proceed to his home, which is near the church.


Amongst the congregation was Mr George Wise, whose name is prominently associated with the crusade against Ritualism in Liverpool and other places, who occupied a seat in one of the front pews. Just before the conclusion of the service, Mr Wise left the church and took up a position on a piece of waste ground immediately fronting the building. He proceeded to make a protest against what he described as the highest form of ritual which he had just witnessed in St. Faith’s. In the course of his address, Mr Wise said that the Archbishop of York, who had just consecrated the church, was wearing a gold cross and beads round his neck, and ought to be ashamed of himself. The reason the authorities of the new church had not wanted to have it consecrated by Dr. Chavasse, the bishop-designate, was that he would have done it with certain restrictions, but they had brought down the Archbishop of York to do it. The Roman Catholic clergy in the neighbourhood were glad the church had been erected, because it was the half-way house to the Church of Rome. He urged the people of Waterloo to keep a watch on St Faith’s, saying that as yet there had been no candles or confession, but predicted that by Easter they would have the confessional there. It would be a gradual process, but it would come about.

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