Holland for the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the Diocese in 1991. In the chapel there are memorial plates to Major Eric Johnson and his wife Violet, The two stained glass windows are also in memory of Major Johnson, one from his fellow parishioners and one from his brother.
In the sanctuary, at the bottom right of the large stained glass window is in inscription in memory of Ernest Johnson from his child men. The two small stained glass windows are in memory of William Atkinson and his wife Elizabeth. The communion rail extension is a memorial to the Reverend Canon E. H. Barnes.
Other memorials in the church are two wooden alms dishes in memory of Walter and Florence Carter and a small lectern in memory of Stuart Patterson and Christopher Parker, two small boys who drowned in the parish in 1973. A plate in the clergy vestry records its carpeting and curtaining in 1978 in memory of Maude Craven.
The two candlesticks, altar cross and processional cross in the sanctuary were carved locally in 1937. The alms dish on a stand on the window-sill to the right of the altar was carved by the same men, Thomas and Walter Carter of Mouldsworth. There are twelve segments of different kinds of wood all grown locally and intended to represent the twelve apostles, one called Judas because it has a flaw in it.
With the building of the church William Atkinson also gave Communion plate, and further plate was given by the Johnson family when the memorial chapel to Major Johnson was built.
In May 1987 Ashton Hayes Primary School presented the church with a flower pedestal.
The Church Surroundings
On the east side below the large window is the Johnson family vault. It was constructed with the church and intended for William Atkinson, who did not foresee his move to Southport.
Across the road is the church school built in 1847 and licensed for divine service in April 1848. Services were taken there until the church was ready in March 1849. The school was used during the week as a day school for 105 girls and 150 came to the Sunday School.
In 1969 a new school was opened, built because of the increase in parish population. The old school continued until 1980 then closed when the roof was thought to have become unsafe. In 1984 it was leased for use as a village hall and after roof repairs and other work it was reopened for this purpose, under the management of the Ashton & Mouldsworth Village Hall Association.
On the south side of the church, just beyond the car park, is the Women’s Institute hall which was a gift to the village from Mrs Violet Johnson in 1924. The war memorial was moved to its present position in 1964 from a site on the left side of the entrance to West End, opposite the Golden Lion public house. The car park was laid in 1973 on land which was previously the school garden. At the west end of the car park is a border of shrubs and trees planted in 1986. At the invitation of the vicar, people donated these as memorials.
On the west side is the vicarage, built at the expense of William Atkinson and enlarged in 1928 by the generosity of the patron Major E Johnson. He also increased the value of the living.
The majority of the graves are on the north side of the church and, the original graveyard having been used up, the church bought the field beyond. In 1932 and again in 1972 additional 40 foot wide strips were consecrated as burial grounds. There are now about 1370 people buried in the churchyard, more than the present population of the parish. Three former vicars are among those buried in the churchyard, the Reverend J. Godson and the Reverend F. T. C. Stubbs on the south side and the Reverend A.W. Webb on the north side.
Several bombs fell in 1940, one only missing the church by about 50 yards. Fortunately it landed in an unused part of the churchyard.
A faculty was granted in 1971, giving up 274 square yards of the churchyard to allow Cheshire County Council to widen the road and remove overhanging trees. This involved exhuming 58 bodies from 14 graves and re-interring them in a communal grave, which can be seen in the north east corner. The work was done in 1972/1973.
The Parish and its Priests
In the first half of the last century, while the population of England and Wales doubled, the land which was to become the parish of Ashton Hayes increased in population by about 25%, The 1841 census, the last before the building of the church, shows the area had a population of 615. It seems remarkable that a church said to accommodate 280 persons should have been built here. The Bishop of Birkenhead, in an introduction to the church’s 1985 Restoration Appeal, said, “People in your village used to worship in Tarvin. Most of them would have to walk, in all weathers, the three miles or so to the church there. At funerals the poor people would have to carry the coffin that distance, pausing for a rest whenever there was a stone cross by the roadside. And what about weddings: imagine the bride on a wet and windy day trying to keep her shoes clean as she walked the muddy lanes!”