Upon entering the Church visitors are struck by the size of its interior. Measuring 38.1 m long by 20 m wide, with the peak of the main roof reaching 19.8 m, the Church as it was constructed is 9.1 m shorter in length than the original design—a detail rumoured to have greatly disappointed the then Lord Meath.
Upon completion in 1863 the Church was unadorned. Described in the Church records as “tiling throughout … of the plainest kind,” decorations were added in accordance with the architect’s original plans, but over a period of many years.
For 10 years after its completion, the octagonal drum and spire of the Church tower remained empty. It is said that the impetus for a collection for a peal of bells came in a visit by Prime Minister William Gladstone, during which he remarked: “So noble a Church tower as this should not be silent.”
Made in England by Taylors of Loughborough at a cost of £1,100 the bells vary in weight from 356 kg to 1,416 kg. Hung between 1880 and 1881, the bells have been rung regularly ever since, barring a sojourn to England in 1950 for tuning.
In an age of automation, our bells are still rung manually every Sunday morning by the Bell Ringing Team and occasionally by visiting teams of bellringers from further afield.
Each year at midnight on 31st December, the bells are rung to welcome in the New Year.
Described as one of the finest peals in the whole of Great Britain and Ireland, the ringing of bells at Christ Church would impress the most discerning campanologist.
The distinctive woodwork in Christ Church is of special importance as its origins reside in a wood carving class for choir boys run by the Messrs Faulkner in 1887. The pupils were so successful that they soon began winning prizes and selling their work.
The first effort for the Church was the Celtic Alms Box at the North door. In 1902 four members of the class—by then a men’s carving class—carved the Bishop’s Chair, a reproduction of one found in the church of San Pietro in Perugia, Italy.