History of the Parish

The Origins of All Saints

There’s been a Christian community worshipping in the Ringway and Hale Barns area since at least the 16th Century. The earliest reference is in 1515  when “Ringey Chapel” is described as a small “chapel of ease” for the convenience of local residents who found the then parish church at Bowdon too far to travel.

This chapel shifted allegiance on several occasions during the 17th century between the Church of England and the Presbyterian congregations. In 1721 the building reverted permanently to Church of England use and the Presbyterian congregation built their own chapel at Warburton Green, which is now the Unitarian Chapel on Chapel Lane, Hale Barns. A new chapel of ease was built at Ringway in 1723 and a separate parish was created in 1863.

St Mary’s Ringway

In 1895 the chapel was demolished and replaced by St Mary’s Church (sometimes known as St Mary and All Saints), built to the designs of the Manchester firm of architects, Preston and Vaughan. This building still stands in its churchyard, which remains open for burials.  It is in the characteristic style of this firm, with a mixture of common brick and terracotta.  There is some half-timbering on the west front and originally a wooden spire, now removed for safety reasons.

A daughter church was built in the growing area of Hale Barns in the early 20th Century and the new Parish church of All Saints was built on that site in 1967.  St Mary’s Church was declared redundant in 1970 and sold, being subdivided and used as offices until 2010.   In 2010 it was sold to the Seventh Day Adventist congregation in Wilmslow and once more is in use for Christian Worship.   Despite the proximity of Manchester Airport the church and churchyard remain a quiet and rural spot.

All Saints Church

As Hale Barns grew in the 1950s and 1960s it was clear that the small daughter church was less than adequate in terms of size and facilities, and under the leadership of the Rev Albert Cox, the then Vicar, a new church was planned for the site. Designed by Brian Brunskill, All Saints Church was consecrated in 1967.

Outside it can seem a rather stark building, of brown brick, set back from the busy Hale Road but inside it is full of light and space.  The influence has clearly been that of the French architect Le Corbusier, and there is a wonderful interplay of curved and straight walling.  At first there was no stained glass, but in the early 1980s glass by the Japanese artist Sumiko was installed in the north windows.  This includes a stylised tree-of-life design. In the baptistry there is some Victorian glass brought from St Mary’s Church.

In 2009 a radical and daring re-ordering of the building was completed. The church was carpeted and new furniture of high quality, designed and made by Treske, woodcarvers  of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, was installed.  The tree-of-life design in the 1980s glass has been echoed in the glass inserts to the Lectern and High Altar and also in the metal uprights of the Altar Rail.  All the fittings are moveable, giving a flexible space.  This flexibility give opportunities to explore how the building itself can enrich worship at different seasons of the Church’s year.  The church has a sound system and facilities for projecting images.    It has been good to discover how multi-media resources can give worship a new perspective.  Currently the church is open on weekdays when the Parish Office is open (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) and of course for Daily Prayer, the weekday Eucharists, and the Sunday worship.  The building is used for an increasing number of concerts, exhibitions and other events.

A Living Church

The community of faith that meets in All Saints is lively and growing, in the catholic Anglican tradition.    Eucharistic worship is at the heart of the community week by week.  The reading and studying of the Scriptures is also an important element of growing in faith.  A significant number of the congregation meet in Home Groups, and there is strong children’s work.

There is a good relationship with friends across the road at Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church.   All Saints continue to seek ways to share our faith in Jesus Christ in an affluent and increasingly multi-cultural community.  We regularly meet with Jewish friends from the two synagogues in Hale Barns and from the Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association to build on common ground and to get to know each other better.