Christ Church - Laxey, Isle of Man
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Mike_bjm
N 54° 13.895 W 004° 24.305
30U E 408412 N 6010199
Christ Church in Laxey was built in 1856 to the designs of Ewan Christian.
Waymark Code: WM13X7R
Location: Isle of Man
Date Posted: 03/06/2021
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member razalas
Views: 1

Christ Church in Laxey was built originally as a Chapel-of-Ease given the somewhat remote location of the Parish Church, St. Adamnan and to serve the expanding village. The Church was granted parish status in its own right in 1917 by the Lord Bishop. It ‘has a simple interior with exposed timber roof and geometric and pleasing, diagonal-paned stained glass.’

The style of the architecture used by Christian has been described as stripped-down Gothic with narrow lancet windows in the early English style. ‘The steep pitch of the roof is characteristic of Ewan’s work from this period.’

Ewan Christian (1814-1895), ARIBA 1840, FRIBA 1850, PRIBA 1184-6, Royal Gold Medal 1887.
Ewan was a London-based English architect and ‘was part of the Milntown / Ewanrigg (Cumbrian/Manx) Christian family and he maintained links with the Isle of Man designing several Manx churches. He never lived in the Isle of Man but is buried at Maughold. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools, made several study trips to Italy and elsewhere and worked as an assistant in several practice before establishing his own practice in 1842. In 1850 he was appointed architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and this became a major part of his work. He undertook cathedral restorations and high-quality congregations as well a budget jobs for the Commissioners, completing, in all, some ninety new churches, and restored and extended 1,300 others as well as many parsonages. He also adjudicated several church and cathedral design competitions. This phenomenal workload led to a serious attack of erysipelas in 1874, a problem which recurred from time to time until his death.

His robust church style drew on his extensive travels in Italy, the Low Countries and France and, because it deviated from the mainstream Gothic, it was not widely admired, but he had many friends including John Loughborough Pearson who married Christian’s cousin. He took his Manx cousin Joseph Henry (always referred to as Henry Christian) into partnership. In 1887, Ewan Christian was appointed architect to the Charity Commissioners, undertaking a comprehensive survey of the surviving Wren churches in the City of London. His evangelical low-Church approach met with disdain from the architectural elite who were increasingly becoming Anglo-Catholic, but he had enough support to be appointed President of the RIBA. Opinion of his work would also have been affected by his need to churn out so many cheap churches for the Commissioners, but some of his restoration work and his sophisticated extension of the National Gallery to form the National Portrait Gallery were highly praised. The National Portrait Gallery opened in 1896, after his death. He designed five churches on the Isle of Man and also worked for William Fine Moor of Cronkbourne (his brother-in-law), designing part of the interior of Cronkbourne and the schoolroom and church hall beside Cronkbourne village, which operated as a chapel-of-ease to Kirk Braddan. Four of the Churches date from within a decade, the fifth at Ballasalla is from forty-years later and was completed the year after his death. It is either in his mature style or, more probably, by an assistant in his office.
His Manx Churches are St. Thomas, Douglas, 1849-1859; the Chapel of Ease Cronkbourne (now offices), 1850; Christ Church, Laxey, 1856; Christ Church, Dhoon; the new St. Runius, Marown, 1859; and the Arbory Church, Ballasalla, 1896.’
source: An introduction to the Architecture of the Isle of Man by Patricia Tutt (ISBN:978-1-907945-10-6)
Architect: Ewan Christian

Prize received: RIBA Royal Gold Medal

In what year: 1887

Website about the Architect: [Web Link]

Website about the building: [Web Link]

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