(With thanks to Martin Chapman!)
Pearson Thompson gave the land on which Christchurch is built. He was an enterprising landowner, for whom the Montpellier Rotunda Spa (now Lloyds Bank) was built. The church foundation stone was laid in 1837 by Francis Close, then incumbent of Cheltenham Parish Church and later Dean of Carlisle. Dean Close School bears his name. The church was consecrated in 1840. The architects were R W and C Jearrad, you also architects for the Queens Hotel. Thomas Newton, the builder, was lost at sea in 1849 when on his way to South Africa. His memorial plaque is at the west end.
Cheltenham expanded rapidly after George III came and took the waters in 1788. Most unusually, Christ Church was built before the surrounding houses – it was there before the people. Stone from Whittington was used and the cost of £17,000 was raised by the sale of shares. Two thousand sittings were provided, one fifth of them being reserved for the poor. Some of the alterations in 1865, 1875, 1887, 1966 and 1976 caused the seating to be reduced.
In 1888 land was conveyed free of charge by Mr A Bruce-Pryce in order to build an apse and dome at the east. In the dome Christ is portrayed surrounded by angels and flanked by the Apostles. The text reads, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst the fountain of the water of life freely.” Note the water gushing out under the throne. The book Christ holds reads “I am the light of the world”.
This information is taken from the late Roger Whiting's "Christ Church 1840/1990". The illustrated pamphlet was commissioned on the occasion of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the church’s consecration.
These windows were added as part of the church reordering between 1888-9 and 1893. The church was transformed from a plain preaching box of a church to an attractive building with an ornate apse.
The windows, left to right, show St. Paul, the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and St. Peer. In the centre partly obscured by the reredos, is “Salvator Mundi” (“The Saviour of the World”). The first window on the left is in memory of a former vicar, Archibald Boyd (1842-59).
These windows were added, mainly as memorials to congregational members, between 1903 and 1918. The Rev. Alfred Peachy Cox, Vicar during that period, persuaded people to donate them.
Starting from the front on the South side, they show the trial of Jesus, Jesus receiving the children, Jesus greeting Mary on the day of His Resurrection and the presentation in the Temple. On the North side, Jesus “breaks bread” with His disciples, Lydia at Philippi listening to St. Paul, the Risen Christ appearing to His disciples by the Lake of Galilee, and the Baptism of Jesus.
This relative modern memorial window is self-explanatory.