St Bride’s Church Liverpool
Not many people would connect this famous Classical style church in Percy Street, Liverpool with rural Whitley in Cheshire. The architect was a Samuel Rowland but until now very little has been known about his life. Samuel was born to Samuel and Ellen Rowland at Fogg’s Farm in Higher Whitley on 9 July 1789, and baptised at Lower Whitley the following month. He was the eldest of nine children, and married Ann Hodgson of Liverpool at the age of 25 at St. George’s, Everton, Liverpool. He lived in fashionable Canning Street and became a well-known architect.
The other buildings he designed include:
- Pleasant Chapel Scotch Secession Church (1827) – Mount Pleasant Chapel was opened in 1827 as a Scotch Secession Church. Its members were Scottish immigrants who had met, since 1809, in Gloucester Street Chapel, on the site of Lime Street station. The Chapel became a United Presbyterian Church in 1847 and, in 1877, a Presbyterian Church of England. The Chapel was closed in 1939 and destroyed by enemy action in 1941. The site was sold in 1945
- North Dispensary, Vauxhall Road (1829)
- The Royal Bank, Liverpool (built 1837-38), Dale Street, Liverpool for The Royal Bank
- Deane Road Cemetery, Liverpool (oldest Jewish cemetery), the most striking feature of which is the Grade ll Listed entrance façade: http://www.deaneroadcemetery.com/
- St James’s Church, Latchford, Warrington, 1829 and is still in use today.
- Bootle National School, the foundation stone of which was laid on 28 August 1835,
Rowland’s influences included his uncle William Byrom, the brother of Samuel’s mother Ellen. the brother of his mother Ellen. He was born in Moore, Cheshire in 1768 and baptised at Daresbury church. William was also an architect from Liverpool, and designed Renshaw Street Unitarian Chapel. William Byrom was married to Sarah Hope, the daughter of John Hope, architect (1734 – 1808), and was a witness to the wedding of Samuel and Ann Hodgson.
Another one was John Hope – the father of his aunt Sarah, wife of William Byrom. John Hope designed Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree in 1794 which is considered to be Liverpool’s best Georgian church. He also worked on Rode Hall for Randle Wilbraham III and Enville Hall, Enville, Staffordshire. Sarah’s sister, Elizabeth Hope was married to William Lowndes of Ramsdell Hall (near Rode Hall).
Samuel died on 26 December 1844 at 31 Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, at the age of 55 after a “long and severe illness”. In his will he left detailed instructions as to his burial: ‘my body may be buried in Duke Street Cemetery or in Everton Church yard at Liverpool aforesaid and in a dry vault to be build there and I direct that the same vault shall be enclosed with iron railings and that the body of my dear wife Ann Rowland on her decease may be buried in the same vault and that the body of no other person shall at any time be buried therein.’ He was buried on 2 January 1845 at St George, Everton, Liverpool.
In his 22 page will, Samuel Rowland left detailed instructions as to the establishment of a trust fund. He also made a number of legacies: to his cousin David Rowland, his sister in law Mary Elizabeth Hodgson he left an annuity of £150 pounds a year. To his nephew James Stelfox, and niece Elizabeth Rutter (nee Rowland) he left £25 a year. His Godson was Charles Rowland Goodson, and he was left £250. Samuel left £500 to his brother-in- law Henry Hodgson, and he was particularly generous to his brother Peter Rowland leaving £2,000 (approximately £230,000 today).