AN HISTORIC church with links to one of Britain's greatest soldiers has been put up for sale in Wirral.
Officials from the Chester Diocese say dwindling congregation numbers and massive repair bills made St John's Church, Wallasey, where Field Marshal Montgomery's brother was a vicar, too expensive to maintain.
Now the Grade II listed building on Liscard Road, which had to be restored after being bombed during the war, has gone on the market.
The 170-year-old church, believed to have the widest nave in the UK, was built on land provided by former Mayor of Liverpool and shipping magnate Sir John Tobin.
The Rev Colin Montgomery became vicar in 1932. His brother Lord Montgomery, was the commander best known for helping turn the tide of World War II with his defeat of the Germans in North Africa in 1943.
Richard Mortimore, executive secretary of the diocesan advisory committee which looks after church maintenance, said he was keen to ensure the building was preserved.
He said: "This is an extremely impressive and striking building.
"In 1903 it would have had a congregation of 1,500 and it was built to house that number. However, faced with a lot of repair work and with numbers falling over the years, we could no longer sustain the church."
Liscard Labour councillor Dave Hawkins said: "It is a real shame this church had to close. It is such a lovely building, like a mini St George's Hall. We have got to make sure it goes to good use."
Bids have been invited for the church, church hall and around one and a half acres of land.
The church's historic contents including the organ, fittings, and many valuable paintings will also be sold.
In 1902 the original organ was rebuilt and The church had to be restored after its windows and roof were damaged in a German bombing raid.
Viewing days will be held until Thursday between 2pm and 3.30pm with the deadline for informal tenders December 9.