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Saint Paul

History - the old church

old church

St. Paul's succeeded one of the same name in Liverpool, a massive stone edifice that once stood in the middle of St. Paul's Square. The exterior as seen from the river resembled its great namesake in London, but on closer inspection the resemblances ceased. It had a cross-surmounted dome supported by eight great stone pillars; it had two large high backed pews for the Mayor and Councillors, and seating accommodation for 1,800 people.
Liverpool already had five churches in 1763 when King George III ordered that two more should be built there. These two churches were to be dedicated to St. Paul and St. John respectively. On 4th April 1763 the Mayor of Liverpool, William Gregson esq., laid the foundation stone of St. Paul's Church.
In 1769 the building was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Edmund Keene D.D. the Lord Bishop of Chester. (The Liverpool Diocese was not founded until 1880). It had two ministers, one for high church service on Sunday mornings, and one for the evening service, which was low church, for a different class of worshippers. Up till 1845 the old Church of St. Paul enjoyed the status of being a Corporation Church, in that the rates then helped to pay the incumbent's salaries, and the Corporation appointed two incumbents to serve the Church. A rather strange situation, which ceased before the end of that century.
After that time a certain George Ramsden Esq. bought the patronage for 630. It had days of prosperity, to be succeeded by adversity. A correspondent to the Church Times on 9th May 1884 complained that only about 22 adults and the same number of children attended Matins there. By the turn of the 20th Century the building and its Churchyard had fallen into such disrepair that the Corporation of Liverpool ordered its closure as a dangerous building unsafe for public use. Eventually the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company bought it for 15,000. The site was left unused until 1931 when it was demolished.
All that remains of this former church is its altar silver (this was sold to Liverpool Museum for 17,500 in 1997), organ case, two bells and a small metal plaque recording the laying of the foundation stone.

The present church