The parish of Ashton-under-Lyne: Church and charities

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'The parish of Ashton-under-Lyne: Church and charities', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 347-352. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section


The church of ST. MICHAEL is at the present day of greater historical than architectural interest. The site is ancient; the church stands at the east end of the town in what was formerly a picturesque situation on rising ground on the north side of the River Tame, and consists of chancel with north vestry, nave with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower. The present church is entirely modern, but is the direct descendant of a building which appears to have been erected at the beginning of the 15 th century (c. 1413), and which was repaired and enlarged about a hundred years later, in the lifetime of Sir Thomas Ashton (died 1514), when a new tower was built. In January 1791 this tower was struck by lightning and great damage was done, necessitating a general repair of the structure in the following year. In 1817 the tower was taken down and a new one erected (1818), and soon after the whole of the north side of the church was rebuilt as at present. Whilst the work was in progress (March 1821) a fire occurred, doing much damage to the original building, which was only partially repaired, the south side continuing in a more or less ruinous state till 1840, when a general rebuilding began, and in the course of a few years the whole fabric underwent a complete restoration and reconstruction, assuming its present aspect (1840–4). The work is of a very elaborate description, with rich ornamentation in wood and plaster, and is a good specimen of the florid Gothic of the period. The east end of the chancel was rebuilt in 1883, and three years later the tower, which was in a dangerous state, was pulled down and a new one built (1886–8). The new tower, the total height of which is 139 ft. 6 in., is 19 ft. higher than the former one, and 3 ft. longer from east to west.

The arcade is of seven bays with a clearstory, and there are side galleries and one at the west end containing the organ. A highly-placed arch structurally separates the two eastern bays from the others, but the ritual arrangement of the chancel is confined to the parts of the church east of the seventh bay, in the fashion of the time in which the building was erected. The roof is flat and panelled and of oak richly decorated with the arms of those who have identified themselves with the building or patronage of the church, and the chancel arch bears the royal arms. (fn. 1)

There is some very good ancient stained glass in the three windows of the south aisle, and in the west window of the north aisle, belonging to the latter part of the 15th century (c. 1460–70). It appears to be only a small portion of the glass belonging to the older church, (fn. 2) and was till 1872 in the east window of the chancel, when it was removed to its present position in the south aisle. The glass now in the north aisle was at that time put up in the tower window, and there remained till the tower was pulled down in 1886. It remained packed up till 1890, when it was re-erected in its present position. The first window from the east on the south side contains figures of Sir John Ashton (d. 1428) and his three wives, Sir Thomas Ashton and his three wives, and the four sons and seven daughters of Sir John Ashton, (fn. 3) in the lower part of the lights. The subject of the windows is the life of St. Helena and the legends connected with her history, and though much mixed up in places, and with many pieces missing, the story is tolerably clear, and a very fine piece of 15th-century work, the colours being particularly rich. The window at the end of the north aisle has figures of Kings Henry VI and Edward IV. (fn. 4)

In the vestry is an oak chest dated 1776, and in a glass case near the pulpit is a black-letter Bible with hook and chain. Near the north door is a mural monument to the 'memory of John Postlethwaite who sustained the highest orders of masonry without becoming proud, and died 2 February 1818, aged 70 years, preserved from indigence by the bounty of his friends.'

All the fittings are modern.

The arrangement of the forms in the church in 1422 has been preserved. (fn. 5) On the north side of the church seven forms at the upper end of the church were appropriated, and six at the lower end; on the south side only six forms were allotted, the remainder being for strangers and others.

There is a ring of twelve bells, (fn. 6) six belonging to the year 1779, one to 1790, and three to 1818. The other two were added after the completion of the new tower in 1888. (fn. 7)

The plate consists of two patens of 1735, inscribed 'The gift of Emmanuel Smith, late of Taunton, gentleman, to the Parish Church of Ashton, July 25th 1735;' two embossed chalices of 1753, inscribed with the names of the churchwardens and the date 6 October 1753, and bearing the marks of William Shaw and William Priest; a large paten of 1755, 'The gift of Edmund Harrop, yeoman, late of this Town Deceas'd to the Church of Ashton under Line 1755,' with the same makers' marks; two large flagons of 1764, one inscribed 'Mrs. Tabitha Smith daughter of Emanuel Smith, gent, formerly of Taunton, in the Parish of Ashton underline, gave £20 towards this Flaggon AD. 1764'; and a modern chalice, paten and flagon presented by Emma Hulme, June 1893.

The registers of baptisms and marriages begin in 1594 and those of burials in 1596, with blanks as follows: baptisms from 1641 to 7 December 1655 inclusive; marriages from 1641 to November 1653, and from April 1661 to 1668; burials from 1641 to 3 October 1653.

The accounts of the churchwardens begin with those for 1639 (the first leaves are torn out), and continue uninterruptedly till the end of 1657, when a break of twenty-six years occurs, the next accounts being those presented 1 April 1684. (fn. 8)


The church of St. Michael is in Domesday Book recorded to have shared with the parish church of Manchester an ancient endowment of one ploughland. (fn. 9) On the formation of the manor of Ashton the advowson of the church was reserved, and was granted with that of Manchester to the Grelleys. (fn. 10) As late as 1304, however, the rector of Manchester claimed to present on the ground that Ashton was merely a chapelry belonging to his church. (fn. 11) A century later the reversion of the patronage was transferred by Thomas La Warre to Sir John Ashton and his heirs, (fn. 12) and the advowson has since that time descended with the manor of Ashton. (fn. 13) The trustees of the late Earl of Stamford are now the patrons. The value of the benefice was reckoned as 20 marks or £20 in 1282, (fn. 14) but the Taxation of 1291 did not allow it to exceed £10, (fn. 15) and fifty years later the ninth of sheaves, wool, &c., was only £5 15s. 6d. (fn. 16) In 1535 the value was recorded as £26 13s. 4d., (fn. 17) and by 1650 it had risen to £113 6s. 8d. (fn. 18) At present the rector's income is recorded as £730. (fn. 19)

The following is a list of rectors :—

Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
c. 1262 Clement (fn. 20) Thomas Grelley ——
oc. 1282 William de Gringley (fn. 21) —— ——
oc. 1292 William (fn. 22) —— ——
16 Mar. 1305–6 Nicholas de Ardern (fn. 23) Thomas Grelley ——
4 April 1308 Adam de Leighton de Ardern (fn. 24) " " ——
26 June 1322 Simon de Cranesley (fn. 25) John La Warre d. Adam de Ardern
12 June 1331 Ralph de Benningholme (fn. 26) —— exch. S. de Cranesley
? July 1332 Gregory de Newton (fn. 27) —— exch. R. de Benningholme
18 Jan. 1351–2 Thomas de Rodeston (fn. 28) Joan La Warre d. Gregory de Newton
oc. 1356 Thomas de Wyk (fn. 29) —— ——
12 May 1362 Thomas son of Thomas de Wyk (fn. 30) Roger La Warre ——
13 Oct. 1372 Thomas La Warre (fn. 31) Lewis de Clifford d. T. de Wyk
1 Nov. 1373 John de Marchford (fn. 32) John La Warre res. T. La Warre
18 May 1374 Henry de Nettleworth (fn. 33) —— exch. J. de Marchford
c. 1400 John Huntingdon (fn. 34) —— ——
22 Nov. 1424 James Skellington (fn. 35) T. La Warre res. J. Huntingdon
12 June 1425 John Huntingdon (fn. 36) " " res. J. Skellington
16 Nov. 1458 Lawrence Ashton (fn. 37) Sir Thomas Ashton d. J. Huntingdon
31 May 1486 Gervase Ashton (fn. 38) Thomas Ashton d. L. Ashton
Edward Molyneux (fn. 39) —— d. G. Ashton
2 Oct. 1535 William Thomson (fn. 40) A. Radcliffe, &c. d. E. Molyneux
11 Aug. 1554 William Rogerson (fn. 41) Sir T. Stanley d. W. Thomson
12 June 1557 Hugh Griffith, D. Decr. (fn. 42) King and Queen d. last incumbent
29 Jan. 1563–4 Robert Braboner (fn. 43) T. Hoghton d. H. Griffith
— 1605 Robert Parker, M.A. (fn. 44) Exors. G. Parker d. R. Braboner
15 Mar. 1618–19 Henry Fairfax, D.D. (fn. 45) Sir T. Fairfax d. R. Parker
c. 1646 John Harrison, B.A. (fn. 46) Parliament ——
25 Sept. 1662 Thomas Ellison, M.A. (fn. 47) Lord Delamere ejec. J. Harrison
14 Jan. 1662–3
3 May 1700 John Simon de la Heuze Earl of Warrington d. T. Ellison
3 Mar. 1726–7 John Penny, M.A. (fn. 48) " " d. J. S. de la Heuze
9 Sept. 1758 Sir George Booth (fn. 49) T. Hunt d. J. Penny
1 Dec. 1797 Oswald Leycester, M.A. (fn. 50) Earl of Stamford and Warrington d. Sir G. Booth
5 Apr. 1799 Hon. Anchitel Grey, M.A. (fn. 51) " " res. O. Leycester
7 May 1810 John Hutchinson, B.A. (fn. 52) " " res. A. Grey
16 May 1816 George Chetwode, M.A. (fn. 53) " " res. J. Hutchinson
May 1829
31 Dec. 1870 Thomas (Thompson) Eager, M.A. (fn. 54) " " d. G. Chetwode
13 Feb. 1893 George Augustus Pugh, M.A. (fn. 55) The Stamford Trustees d. T. Eager
1909 Frederick Robert Chapman Hulton, M.A. " " d. O. A. Pugh

The rectors do not call for special notice. There does not seem to have been any chantry or chapel of ease in the parish before the Reformation, but the list of 'ornaments' existing in 1552 names three altars as fully equipped. (fn. 56) In 1542 the rector had two assistant clergymen, one paid by himself and the other by Sir Richard Ashton. (fn. 57) In 1554 there was one curate, who remained till 1565, though 'decrepit' in 1563; (fn. 58) and a new curate occurs in the Visitation list of 1565. In 1559 it was presented that the rector did 'no service in the church,' nor did he distribute to the poor as former parsons had done. (fn. 59) There was probably no curate as a rule, unless when the rector was non-resident, (fn. 60) and the recommendation of the surveyors of 1650 that a new parish should be formed in the northern half of Ashton was not carried out. (fn. 61)

There was a school, but of no settled foundation, in 1717. (fn. 62)

In consequence of the growth of population a large number of places of worship have been erected in the parish-township since the middle of the 18th century. The following belong to the Established Church:—St. John the Baptist's, Hey, 1742; (fn. 63) St. George's, Mossley, 1757, rebuilt 1882; (fn. 64) St. George's, Stalybridge, 1776; (fn. 65) St. Peter's, Ashton, 1824; (fn. 66) the second or new St. George's, Stalybridge, 1840; (fn. 67) Holy Trinity, Bardsley, l844; (fn. 68) St. Stephen's, Audenshaw, 1846; (fn. 69) Christ Church, Ashton, 1848; (fn. 70) St. John the Evangelist's, Hurst, 1849, (fn. 71) enlarged 1862; St. James's, Ashton, 1865; (fn. 72) and Holy Trinity, Ashton, 1878. (fn. 73) In addition there are a number of mission churches and rooms, including St. James's and St. Matthew's at Leesfield, and St. Augustine's at Mossley.

The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel in Ashton in 1782; (fn. 74) now they have churches in Ashton, Mossley, Woodhouses, and Audenshaw. The New Connexion had a chapel as early as 1798; they have now four churches in Ashton, (fn. 75) and others in Hurst, Lees, Mossley, and Audenshaw. The Primitive Methodists are represented in Ashton, Hurst, Lees, Bardsley, and Mossley. (fn. 76) The Independent Methodists have a church in Ashton. (fn. 77)

There is a Strict Baptist chapel in Ashton; also a Baptist church. (fn. 78)

The Nonconformists of 1662 and later were able to worship at Denton and Dukinfield; the latter congregation is now Unitarian. In 1816 the Congregationalists took the old Methodist chapel in Harrop's Yard, it being difficult for Nonconformists to obtain land from the Earl of Stamford; and they built and opened a new chapel in 1817. This first Albion Chapel was followed by a second in 1835; and has now been replaced by a third, on another site, opened in 1894. (fn. 79) There are now three Congregational churches in Ashton itself, and another in Mossley. (fn. 80)

Albion school, connected with the first-named, had a unique position in the town.

The Christian Brethren have meeting-places at Lees and Mossley. The following also have churches or meeting-rooms:—Unitarians (1897), Catholic Apostolic, Church of Christ, Salvation Army, Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, and Swedenborgians.

Mass was said in 1823 in a room near the market cross, but ceased on Dukinfield chapel being opened in 1825. (fn. 81) Of the present Roman Catholic churches, St. Ann's, the oldest, was opened in 1852, and replaced by a new church in 1859; (fn. 82) St. Mary's, 1870; St. Edward's, Lees, 1874–7—at first served from St. Mary's, Oldham; and St. Joseph's, Mossley, 1863.

The adherents of Joanna Southcote were numerous from about 1820 to 1885; they built a place of worship in 1825, and at one time had four temples. The Mormons also had a meeting-place.


Official inquiries as to the charities of the parish were made in 1826 and 1899. (fn. 83) For distribution to the poor there is available £278 annually, mostly of recent origin, the principal benefactors being John Kenworthy, (fn. 84) Benjamin Mellor Kenworthy, (fn. 85) Edward Brown, (fn. 86) and George Heginbottom. (fn. 87) The Infirmary has an endowment of £1,325 a year, to which is added £414, the gift of Samuel Oldham. (fn. 88) The educational endowments amount to £557, (fn. 89) and the above-named Samuel Oldham gave £193 a year to the park. (fn. 90) There are two small church endowments. (fn. 91) For the new township of Mossley an inquiry was held in the year 1899. (fn. 92)


  • 1. Glynne visited the church in 1858, and describes the interior as 'expensively fitted up,' but 'heavy, though not without grandeur.' Notes on the Churches of Lancs. Dodsworth records that in his time there was on the tower the name Alexander Hyll, with a butcher's cleaver and the five of spades. The story was that Hill, playing cards, swore that if the five of spades was turned up he would build a foot of the steeple, and it did so; J. E. Bailey, quoting Dods. MSS. clv, fol. 116.
  • 2. See J. Paul Rylands, 'Lancs. Church Notes and Trickings of Arms,' Trans. Hist. Soc. xlii.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. There is a detailed description of the windows, with photographs, by the Rev. G. A. Pugh, M.A., rector, in the Trans. Antiq. Soc. xx, 'The old glass windows of Ashton-under-Lyne Parish Church.'
  • 5. See Ashton Customs R. (Chet. Soc.), 112–15.
  • 6. The only other churches in Lancashire possessing twelve bells are St. Nicholas, Liverpool, and St. Mary, Oldham.
  • 7. Brief Hist. Sketch of Ashton-underLyne Parish Ch. (1888), loc. cit.
  • 8. Brief Hist. Sketch of Ashton-underLyne Parish Ch. (1888), loc. cit.
  • 9. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 287. It does not appear that the rector of Ashton has ever had any share of the revenue derived from Newton.
  • 10. In 1277 Robert Grelley, as grandson and heir of Thomas Grelley, lord of Manchester, claimed the advowson against Peter Grelley, his uncle, who claimed by a grant from Thomas. It was proved that although Peter had actually presented to the church, he did so in the lifetime and in the name of Thomas Grelley, who died in 1262, and his claim was therefore rejected; De Banco R. 20, m. 25 d.; 23, m. 2 d. At the same time the manor of Ashton was in dispute between John de Kirkby and Thomas de Ashton, but the advowson of the church was expressly excluded.
  • 11. Thomas son of Robert Grelley was the plaintiff and Otho de Grandison defendant in the suit; De Banco R. 149, m. 50; 151, m. 71. The advowson of Ashton was included in settlements made by the Warres of Manchester; see Final Conc. ii, 4, 157.
  • 12. In 1403 Thomas La Warre, then rector as well as lord of Manchester, in conjunction with his trustees settled a rood of land in the Smith's Field in Manchester, abutting on the Irk, together with the advowson of the church of Ashton, on the said Thomas for life, with reversion to Sir John Ashton and his heirs; Manch. Corporation D. See also Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 18.
  • 13. From the account of the manor it will be found that after the death of Sir Thomas Ashton in 1514 the three coheirs agreed to present in turn—Booth, Ashton, and Hoghton. The feoffees appear to have presented Molyneux and Thomson; then Sir Richard Hoghton sold the next presentation to Sir Thomas Stanley; William Booth being a minor the Crown presented on the next vacancy, and then Elizabeth Ashton having died, Thomas Hoghton presented in 1564. George Booth in 1590 sold his coming turn to George Parker, whose widow and executors in 1605 complained that their right was questioned; they appear, however, to have established it. See the full statement in Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 296, m. 6, 7.
  • 14. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 249, 250.
  • 15. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 249. In the Manchester Survey of 1320–2 the value is recorded as 30 or 40 marks; Mamecestre (Chet. Soc.), ii, 274, 376.
  • 16. Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 39.
  • 17. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 227.
  • 18. Commonwealth Cb. Sur. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 21. The £13 6s. 8d. came from the parsonage house, with some other tenements, and about 20 acres of land; the £100 from rents, profits, and tithes. The tithes included a prescriptive payment of £13 7s. 9d. from part of the parish, on which the surveyors report thus: 'The tithe corn of such lands which pay the said prescriptive money, if they were paid in kind are worth nought, but they pay £15 per annum as we conceive.' A terrier dated 1722 is printed in James Butterworth's Ashton, 167–70.
  • 19. Manch. Diocesan Cal. It was formerly worth very much more.
  • 20. De Banco R. 20, m. 25 d. Clement's death was the occasion of the dispute as to the presentation in 1277.
  • 21. He was plaintiff in a suit against John de Byron; De Banco R. 45, m. 6.
  • 22. William rector of Ashton in 1292 claimed a tenement in Ashton against John de Byron; Assize R. 408, m. 72, 58. Mr. Croston identified him with William de Marchia, afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells, citing the plea above quoted respecting the advowson (De Banco R. 151, m. 71); but that merely states that William de Marchia while rector of Manchester 'usurped' the church of Ashton during the minority of Thomas Grelley (i.e. some time before 1300), and that his successor Walter de Langton also had it as a chapel to Manchester. It is possible that William de Gringley continued in charge all the time, though these rectors regarded him as their chaplain or curate and took the tithes.
  • 23. Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 10b; the new rector was a clerk. It is clear from the patron's name that he had succeeded in establishing his right as against the rector of Manchester.
  • 24. Ibid. i, fol. 28b; a priest. The surname is also given as Arden.
  • 25. Ibid. ii, fol. 98; an acolyte. This rector is named in the survey of 1322; Mamecestre, ii, 376.
  • 26. Lich. Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 107; the new rector exchanged his benefice of Great Oxenden for Ashton.
  • 27. Ibid. ii, fol. 108; the new rector had been vicar of Blyth in the diocese of York, and there had been an interchange of letters between the archbishop and the Bishop of Lichfield as to the purity of motive for this exchange.
  • 28. Ibid. ii, fol. 129; a chaplain. In the previous October leave had been granted to him to attend the obsequies (insistere obsequiis) of Sir Thomas de Holland for two years; ibid.
  • 29. Ibid. ii, fol. 15; leave of absence for two years. Ibid. v, fol. 3b; licence to him to attend the obsequies of Sir Roger La Warre for two years from Dec. 1360. He was rector of Manchester also.
  • 30. Ibid. iv. fol. 80; the benefice had been vacant since 16 March. To Thomas de Wyk the younger leave of absence was granted as follows: 1363—two years to attend the studium generale; ibid. v, fol. 8. 1365—two years 'in a fit and reputable place'; ibid. v, fol. 9b. 1366—one year; ibid. v, fol. 15b. 1370–1—two years; ibid. v, fol. 24b. (At the same time the other Thomas de Wyk, rector of Manchester, obtained leave of absence also.) It will be seen that this rector was little resident.
  • 31. Ibid. iv, fol. 86; in the first tonsure. The rectory had become vacant on 14 July at 'Skrerkynton,' dioc. Lincoln. For Thomas La Warre see the account of Manchester Church.
  • 32. Ibid. iv, fol. 86b.
  • 33. Ibid. iv, fol. 87; the new rector had been rector of Wakerley, dioc. Linc. In 1379 he had a year's leave of absence; ibid. v, fol. 32b; also three years' leave in 1384; ibid. v, fol. 36b. 'William rector of Ashton' occurs in like manner in 1389–90, but he may have been rector of Ashton-on-Mersey; ibid. vi, fol. 125b.
  • 34. He is said to have begun the rebuilding of Ashton Church in 1413. For his life see Raines, Wardens of Manch. (Chet. Soc.), 16–23, and the account of Manchester Church, of which he was warden from 1422 to 1458, when he died. In 1420 John Huntingdon, B.Can.Law, rector of Ashton, obtained the papal dispensation to hold another benefice; Cal. Papal Letters, vii, 143.
  • 35. Baines, Lancs. (ed. Croston), ii, 317, from the Lichfield registers. Mr. Earwaker's note gives the name as 'Ikelyngton.'
  • 36. Croston and Earwaker, from Lichfield registers.
  • 37. Lich. Epis. Reg. xi, fol. 43b; a chaplain. According to an inscription formerly in the windows this rector continued the building of the church.
  • 38. Ibid. xii, fol. 120b; a clerk. He also took part in the erection of the church, which was completed by Sir Thomas Ashton. Rector Gervase was living in 1513; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, 80.
  • 39. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 227. He was rector of Sefton also. For the presentations during this century see the case cited above in Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 296, m. 6, 7.
  • 40. Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 34b; a clerk. The patrons were Sir Alexander Radcliffe, Sir Richard Ashton, and Thurstan Tyldesley, by consent of Elizabeth Ashton, widow, one of the heirs of Sir Thomas Ashton deceased. For a tithe dispute see Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 167. The will of the rector, dated 2 September, 1553, is printed in Piccope's Wills (Chet. Soc.), i, 90–3; he left 40s. to Peter Bower his schoolmaster at Standish.
  • 41. Church P. at Chester. The patron was son of the Earl of Derby and presented for that turn by grant of Sir Richard Hoghton, the patron. William Rogerson paid his first-fruits on 30 August 1554; Lancs. and Ches. Recs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 409 (from which place the other notices of the first-fruits have been taken).
  • 42. Church P. at Chester. This Hugh Griffith appears to have been outlawed in 1563; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 265, 300. He was probably the Hugh Gryffyn, priest, who graduated at Cambridge in 1534–5 as B. Can. L.; Grace Bk. T (Camb.), 294.
  • 43. Mr. Earwaker's note. The firstfruits were paid 4 Feb. 1563–4. Braboner was ordained subdeacon in Sept. 1557; Ordin. Bk. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 96. He was 'no preacher' in 1590 (S.P. Dom. Eliz. xxxi, 47), and in 1604 was reported to be 'unable to read'—perhaps from physical infirmity; Visit. P. at Chester. He was buried at Ashton, 25 Feb. 1604–5. To John Moores, his curate, he left his best book and a mourning cloak. See also Ducatus Lanc. iii, 107.
  • 44. Of Lincoln College, Oxford, M.A., 1596; Foster, Alumni. He was 'a preacher'; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 12. The inventory of the goods of Robert Parker, amounting to about £80, is dated 24 Feb. 1618–19; and administration was granted to his widow Dorothy in July following. At the same vacancy one Alexander Chaderton was presented by Margaret Hulme, in virtue of a grant by Dame Elizabeth Booth, but was opposed by Elizabeth Parker and others; Act Bks. at Chester.
  • 45. From this time the dates of institution have been compared with those in the Institution Books P.R.O., printed in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes. Fairfax paid first-fruits 11 May 1619. He contributed to the clergy loan of 1620; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 54. At the visitation of 1622 it was reported that Mr. Fairfax administered the communion to those who did not kneel. His curate did likewise, and sometimes omitted the cross in baptism; Visit. P. at Chester. He is usually said to have been expelled as a Royalist about 1643, and dying 6 April 1665, was buried at Bolton Percy. He was a younger son of Sir Thomas Lord Fairfax, and was fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; inherited Oglethorpe, near Tadcaster, where he died. He is said to have been beneficed in Yorkshire in the Commonwealth period, holding Bolton Percy from 1646 to 1660, which throws doubt on the story of his expulsion from Ashton; moreover, he did not reclaim the rectory in 1660, and is not mentioned in the Royalist Composition papers. His eldest son Henry, born at Ashton, became the fourth Lord Fairfax; a younger son, Brian, was an author. There are notices of Rector Fairfax and his son Brian in Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 46. His possession was in some degree irregular. In 1650 he was described as 'an orthodox, painful, able minister,' who had been put in by the Parliament, though Sir George Booth had formerly presented to the benefice; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. 21. He was a member of the Manchester classis from its formation in 1646. He signed the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648 as 'pastor' of Ashton. On the other hand he paid his firstfruits on 2 April 1653, and exhibited a presentation to the rectory, made by Sir George Booth, as late as October 1655; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 95. He was a Royalist, and joined in the abortive rising of 1659. He was ejected for Nonconformity in 1662, and died in 1669. There is an account of him in Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 47. Thomas Ellison (Wadham Coll., Oxford, B.A. 1665; Pemb. Coll., Camb., M.A. 1668) was proposed for Presbyterian ordination in 1660; Manch. Classis (Chet. Soc.), iii, 347. His nomination to Ashton was intended to be favourable to the expelled rector; Newcome's Diary (Chet. Soc.), 184. He appears to have been buried in Dukinfield Nonconformist chapel, the register giving the date as 26 Feb. 1699–1700.
  • 48. Of Christ Church, Oxford; M.A. 1707; Foster, Alumni.
  • 49. The patron was the devisee under the will of George Earl of Warrington, a cousin of the new rector. The rector was created a baronet in 1790.
  • 50. King's College, Cambridge, M.A. 1777, rector of Stoke-upon-Terne 1806. For pedigree see Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), i, 507.
  • 51. Third son of the patron. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, M.A. 1797; and became prebendary of Durham in 1809, and rector of Thornton in Craven in 1812.
  • 52. He was a 'warming pan,' and on resigning the rectory became curate to his successor. He was afterwards first incumbent of the new church of St. Peter, 1824.
  • 53. M.A., Brasenose College, Oxford. He was nephew of the patron, and perpetual curate of Chilton, Bucks, from 1829, a second institution to Ashton being necessary. He scarcely ever visited Ashton, though drawing a large income from it.
  • 54. M.A., T.C.D., 1840. He was a native of county Derry and had been incumbent of Audenshaw; honorary canon of Manchester, 1884.
  • 55. Of Jesus College, Oxford, M.A. 1876. Vicar of Swindon, Staffs., 1882.
  • 56. Ch. Goods (Chet. Soc.), 16. The church seems to have been well furnished; among other things there were 'a pair of organs,' a banner of green silk, and a holy-water stock of brass. There were then four churchwardens, and this continued to be the rule; one was chosen by the lord of the manor, another by the rector, and the others by the parishioners; Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 5.
  • 57. Clergy List of 1541–2 (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 13.
  • 58. Visitation lists in Chester Diocesan registry.
  • 59. Ch. Goods, 17, quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. x, 293.
  • 60. A 'lecturer,' Mr. Peabody, occurs in 1622; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 66.
  • 61. Commonw. Ch. Surv. 22. The proposed bounds were thus described: To begin at the division where Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire meet in Mossley hamlet; following the brook between Lancashire and Yorkshire as far as the beginning of Oldham at Watergate Mill, then along the boundary between Oldham and Ashton to the Park, thence to Alt Hill, to Lily Lancs. to Knot Hill, to 'Otts' upon Luzley, down to Barnard Wilds to the water, including Mossley, and thence back to the start.
  • 62. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 5.
  • 63. Patron, the rector of Ashton. It was consecrated in 1744; Church P. at Chester. A district was assigned to it in 1860; Lond. Gaz. 30 Oct. For its history see Oldham Notes and Glean. i, 71–3.
  • 64. Patron, the rector of Ashton. A district was assigned in 1865; Lond. Gaz. 19 May.
  • 65. Patrons, the trustees of the will of the Earl of Stamford. A district was assigned in 1864; Lond. Gaz. 12 Apr.
  • 66. Patron, the rector of Ashton. It was built from a Parliamentary grant of about £14,000. A district was assigned in 1840; Lond. Gaz. 17 Apr. For church bells see N. and Q. (Ser. 4), ix, 115.
  • 67. Patron, the rector of Ashton. A district was assigned in 1847; Lond. Gaz. 30 July.
  • 68. Patrons, Hulme's trustees.
  • 69. Patrons, the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester alternately. A district had been assigned to it in 1844; Lond. Gaz. 3 June.
  • 70. Patrons, the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester alternately. A district was assigned in 1846; Lond. Gaz. 6 Mar.
  • 71. Patrons and district as in the last case.
  • 72. Patrons, five trustees. A district was assigned in 1866; Lond. Gaz. 12 June.
  • 73. Patrons, five trustees. A district was assigned in 1879; Lond. Gaz. 14 Feb.
  • 74. John Wesley preached there on 4 April 1782; Wesley's Works (ed. 1829), iv, 224.
  • 75. The first chapel was in Harrop's Yard; a view is given in Nightingale's Lancs. Nonconf. v, 298. A removal was made to that in Stamford Street in 1799; Butterworth, op. cit. One chapel at Mossley was built in 1823 and rebuilt in 1835; and a second in 1824; Edwin Butterworth, Ashton, 135. A chapel in Stalybridge, opened in 1802, was removed to Dukinfield in 1832; ibid. 150.
  • 76. 'The Primitive Methodists, commonly called Ranters, have a place for religious worship in Church Street'; Jas. Butterworth, Ashton (1822), 83.
  • 77. The Independent Methodists occur as early as 1818; a chapel at Charlestown was built in 1838, under the following circumstances:—'"The Stephensites" originated in the secession of the Rev. J. R. Stephens from the Wesleyan Methodists. The admirers of this singularly distinguished personage erected in 1837 a large but plain building for worship in Charleston, which is calculated to accommodate 1,100 persons'; Edwin Butterworth, Ashton, 68. They had also a chapel at Mossley and another at Rasbottom, Stalybridge, called Mount Zion.
  • 78. It originated about 1836; E. Butterworth, op. cit. 68. There was formerly another at Mossley; ibid. 136. The General Baptists had a chapel in Rasbottom in 1819, removed to Cross Street, Stalybridge, in 1828; ibid. 151. On the early troubles of the Baptist congregation at Stalybridge, which divided into Arminian and Calvinistic, see A. Taylor, Engl. General Baptists, 394.
  • 79. Nightingale, op. cit. v, 299–303.
  • 80. a Ryecroft was founded in 1848, the chapel being built in 1853; from this the school-chapel at Hooley Hill has sprung; ibid. v, 306–8. Work at Mossley originated in 1838, but Abney Church there was not built till 1854–5: ibid. v, 322.
  • 81. Edwin Butterworth, op. cit. 67; the room was the old Methodist chapel in Harrop's Yard.
  • 82. 'In 1868 (Aug.), the "poor chapel" of the place was nearly destroyed by an anti-Catholic mob incited by one Murphy, a notorious Protestant lecturer. The large crucifix was injured by pistol shots, and windows and pews broken. The priest, Fr. J. Beesly, endeavoured to obtain compensation, but after a trial of the case before the Salford Hundred Court, was non-suited on the ground that "the mob did not intend entirely to demolish"'; Kelly, Engl. Cath. Missions, 58.
  • 83. The report of the 1899 inquiry was printed in 1901; it contains a reprint of the previous one.
  • 84. By his will of 1861, proved in 1869, he left two sums of £2,000 each, the interest to be distributed yearly among thirty-six poor men and thirty-six poor women, all over sixty years old, men employed in and about the collieries in Ashton and Dukinfield to have preference. The income of each bequest, invested in the name of the official trustees, amounts to £59 7s. 4d. The mayor and churchwardens of Ashton distribute the money.
  • 85. In 1892 he bequeathed £2,000 for warm underclothing for the aged poor, cleanliness being insisted on. The capital is invested in mortgages, and produces an income of £82 10s., distributed by the trustees.
  • 86. He gave a sum of £1,000, now held by the official trustees, to provide a weekly distribution of sixpenny loaves at the parish church. The churchwardens distribute the income, £32 10s., as directed, but there is a difficulty in procuring suitable recipients—poor aged persons attending the church.
  • 87. By his will of 1877 he bequeathed five sums of £100 each, now producing £2 17s. 4d. a year, for clothing for poor persons in the five parishes of Holy Trinity, St. Peter's, Christ Church, and St. James's, Ashton, and St. Stephen's, Audenshaw, the vicar and churchwardens of each being responsible for the distribution. No distinction is made on account of religious opinions. The other benefactions for the poor are as follows:— Dame Elizabeth Booth in 1620 gave £2 10s. a year for penny loaves to be given to twelve aged poor people after morning prayer every Sabbath day. The bread is still given by the rector and churchwardens of the parish church. Priscilla Pickford in 1720 gave 20s. yearly for a Christmas gift to the poor. The benefaction is charged on lands at Greenacres Moor, Oldham, and is distributed to twenty poor persons by the churchwardens. Religious denomination is not regarded. Miles Hilton in 1740 bequeathed £130 for gowns for the poor. The money, with an additional £30 from other sources, is invested in mortgages, and produces £7 12s. for this charity. Cloth gowns are given to ten women who attend the parish church, the rector and churchwardens selecting the recipients. Mrs. Heywood bequeathed £15 to the poor; this is invested with the last charity, and the interest, 15s., is distributed in sixpences among thirty old women who have attended the church service on Christmas Day. James Walker in 1749 left £250 for the provision of cloth coats for twelve or more poor old men of the parish, regard being had to attendance at church and the Lord's Supper. The capital is now in the hands of the official trustees, and the income, £7 7s. 8d., is distributed in coats at Christmas to seven or eight poor men. Ellen wife of the Rev. Thomas Baker Dixon in 1872 bequeathed £100 to poor communicants of St. James's, Ashton; the income to be distributed in flannel by the incumbent. The capital is in the hands of the official trustees, and the income, £2 17s. 4d., is distributed as directed. John McQuinn of Lees in 1881 left £200 for the poor of Leesfield. The net income is £5 16s., and is paid by the churchwarden to the church poor fund. Alexander James Bulkeley, vicar of Audenshaw, in 1898 bequeathed £150 for coals and clothing at Christmas time for the poor of Audenshaw. He desired it to be considered an ecclesiastical charity. Thomas Turner Broadbent in 1896 bequeathed the residue of his estate, after the expiry of certain interests still [1899] existing, to the foundation of a convalescent hospital.
  • 88. Full details of these endowments are given in the Rep. of 1899, pp. 15–19.
  • 89. John Newton, 1731, £3 rent-charge on an estate called The Crime in Ashton, for teaching six poor children. John Walker, 1755, £6 8s. 4d., for buying books and teaching the Catechism. Edward Wright, 1882, £2 17s., for Bibles for the children attending the parish church schools. George Heginbottom, 1879, £40 exhibition, at Owens College, tenable for three years. Titus Tetlow, 1890, £212 17s. 4d., exhibitions, &c., for Ashton-under-Lyne Mechanics' Institution. Samuel Broadbent, 1891, £3, for the Woodhouses British Schools. Helen Swallow, 5s. 9d., for the Sunday School. Froghall School, 1824, £23 3s. 3d.; the school was discontinued in 1840, and the income is paid to Hey Church of England Schools and to Austerlands School in Saddleworth. Edward Hobson, 1764, £266 10s. 3d., for Audenshaw (British) School, and for exhibitions.
  • 90. Rep. 16.
  • 91. For St. John the Baptist's, Hey, £11 11s. 8d.; for a Bible woman, St. James's, Ashton, £2 18s. 4d.
  • 92. The report was published in 1900. Mossley, from its composite formation, has a share in some charities of Ashtonunder-Lyne, Mottram in Longdendale, and Rochdale.