Holy Trinity, a Grade II listed building, was built in 1846, using a £400 grant from the Church Building Commission. Designed by Samuel Howard, an architect from Disley, the church is in the Gothic style, as was popular in the Victorian era. It was constructed by John Mellor of Kerridge End on land kindly donated by Joseph Harding and, following the usual conventions, consists of a chancel, nave and tower with one bell.
The foundation stone was laid by the then Rural dean, Revd. Thorneycroft, and the first incumbent was Rev. George Harrison who lived in the Old Vicarage on Pedley Hill. In 1958, the present vicarage was built, next door to the Church.
Over the years, the church has been modified to accommodate the different needs of the church and village community including the addition of a Church Centre in 1990. An ambitious and exciting modernisation scheme is about to start, which will ensure the future of the church in Rainow.
St John’s, also a Grade II listed building, is situated on the corner of an old Roman road in Saltersford. In the eighteenth century, this was the wealthiest part of the parish, and in 1733, the population built a small chapel at the meeting place known as Jenkin Cross to serve the scattered farmsteads in the area.
The building was constructed in the cottage style they knew, working for sixteen hours a day for one penny per hour. The nave has a row of cottage windows on each side, and inside are the original box pews, chancel arch and octagonal pulpit. In the small chancel, there is dark panelling and a small, modern window, and at the west end is a gallery and tower, which was added in 1755.
The parish records hold the deed of consecration for the chapel which notes the “ease and convenience” of this church. Thirty names occur in the early papers, receiving the sacrament four times a year. Today, the church holds monthly services, attended by locals and visitors, many of whom come from all over the world. It has also been used as a location in the 2006 BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre.
St. Stephens Church was first built in 1673, then rebuilt in 1834. Though it originally only served the local hamlet, in 1906 it became the church for the combined parish of Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough.
The interior is very simple in its design with Victorian furnishings and a stone floor. Nestled among the hills and valleys of Cheshire with Wildboarclough below and Macclesfield Forest in the distance, however, the setting is spectacular.
The church holds regular services, including a series of popular special worship events for different groups and occasions. Forest Chapel is famous for its annual rushbearing ceremony, which takes place annually on the first Sunday after August 12th. A review of this service can be found on the Ship of Fools website.