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This portion of my web site contains the text of a history of my local parish church which I wrote in 1979

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History of St Thomas Church : Heaton Chapel


St Thomas: Heaton Chapel was consecrated in 1765, and since that time a number of changes have been made to the building and to the worship inside it.

We have seen many different clergymen, and outside the Church there have been many changes in the Parish and in the lives of its people.

No attempt has yet been made to write a complete history. Several brief histories have been written, and in 1960-1963 Mr S Woolock carried out considerable research, which does not seem to have been published. This is an attempt to rectify that omission.

Wherever possible only contemporary sources have been used. The standard of reporting has not always been very high however, and some long standing errors have here been rectified.

The History Heaton Norris there is not any psonage or viccarage nor any spiritual benefices.... And the said towneshippe is distant from the pishe Church of Manchester seaven statute myles and some od poles and from Diddesbury Chappell wch is the nearest unto Heaton Norris aforesaid is three statute myles and odd poles ; and wee thinke it fitt and convenient there should be a Chappell built in the middle betweixt them for the advancemt of God's glory and the ease of the people thereabouts and that Heaton Norris and Reddishe bee joyned together in one pishe, wch will make a sufficient congregacon and are distant from any Church or Chappell wth in theire owne County three statute myles.

Parliamentary Commission: Lancashire and Cheshire church surveys (1649-1655)

Note: Before the Chapel there was no Heaton Chapel, just Heaton Norris

Following the abrupt death of Charles I in 1649, all the churches in the land were visited, and much damage was done in removing "popish" ornamentation - but note was made of areas of need.

Cromwell died in 1658, and Charles II came to the throne in 1660. Perhaps Charles II was not disposed to carrying out recommendations of Cromwells men, or perhaps there was too much other work - whatever the cause, no action was taken on the report on the Parliamentary Commissioners for this area.

The Church's parliament - The Houses of Convocation - were suspended by George I in 1717, and the stage was set for a period of general stagnation in the church, ending in a period of rebirth.

John and Charles Wesley experienced their conversion in 1738, and as ordained ministers in the Church of England, set about spreading the good news of the Christian gospel throughout the land, meeting considerable opposition, but also considerable success. The first Methodist chapel was formed almost immediately, the earliest chapels being owned by Wesley himself.

There are no records to indicate who actually built St Thomas, when they built it and furnished it as a church, or what happened to this building until consecration. We know that John Wesley visited Stockport in 1745 and preached to a small number at a place on what is now Chestergate. Did his preaching have some effect locally? At the first annual meeting of "Methodists" in 1744, John Wesley said, referring to the relationship between the Church of England, in which he was a Minister, and those who professed to be Methodists within the Church of England:
"We are persuaded that the body of our hearers will even after our death remain in the Church, unless they be thrust out. We believe, notwithstanding, either that they will be thrust out, or that they will leaven the whole Church.” .

A Mr Collier, feeling the need for a Church in Heaton Norris, set to work collecting the money and support.

He had borrowed some money from a Mr Whittaker against a mortgage of land, and in 1758 these two gentlemen conveyed a part of this land to Messrs J Sidebotham and T Johnson for the sum of five shillings. At this time there was a building on the land furnished as a Church.

At about 1758-1759 the first building used by Stockport Methodists was erected around Hillgate/Portwood. Heaton Norris was not at this time a part of Stockport.

Note that at this time the Methodists were very much in the Church of England, and that St Thomas was built from public subscription, not many years after Wesley had visited the area. The Methodist enthusiasm met with antagonism from some in the Church of England, but there were those who welcomed the change of emphasis.

In the same year, Mr Sidebotham, with other gentlemen petitioned the Bishop of Chester for this Church to be licenced for worship.

The signatories to the petition were: J Sidebotham, C Hobson, J Hobson, J Hooley, S Chorlton, T Hulme, J Hollingpriest, N Jenkinson, P Elcock, I Downs, John Lees, James Lees, T Linney, W Wood, E Worthington, J Broadurst, J Rudd, S Beswick, S Collier, J Shore, G Booth, R Crowther, W Brelsford, and C Sidebotham.

At least three of these gentlemen were subsequently chapel-wardens.

It is of interest to note that the church owes its origin to a general subscription rather than an important landowners sponsorship, and that the building appears to have been built and furnished as a church some years before its consecration.

The early building was of a very simple style, described in the Stockport Advertiser in 1874 thus:
The site was a field known as Yarn Croft of 1,712 square yards. The building was plain brick, with three rounded windows on the North side...

Note- the original text is "North East", using the geographical North, but throughout this history text the convention of calling the side of the church with the Chancel (the part of the church with the altar) the EAST side is followed and renaming the other sides accordingly

...and three on the South side, and a small projecting chancel, which served as a place for the communion table, which was lit by means of a long round-headed window, with two long rectangular windows on each side.

At the West side there was a small belfry of wood from which the little bell sounded its softening summons to the house of prayer. The gallery at the West end was approached by a flight of stone steps outside (and) lit by two large square windows resembling those of a cottage of the period. The windows throughout the church were all plain diamond-shaped glass.

There was a door at the South end of the church.... [it is unclear from this whether the door was in the West end of the church or the South wall] access to the South aisle, the aisle on the North side being approached at the North side of the building.

The interior of the building was very plain, the roof being flat and plastered. There was a large clumsy-looking iron stove which warmed the building in Winter.

The reading desk, clerks desk, and pulpit were in three tiers, one above another, surmounted by a large octagonal sounding board, suspended from the ceiling by a chain. These were on the South side of the church at the bottom of the aisle.

The Vestry was a small box of wood, placed near the pulpit. In the communion recess were two very good large oil paintings of Moses and Aaron in their ecclesiastical garments. A little aisle across the West end connected the two aisles together.

The musical instruments included a bass and treble violin, a bassoon, fie and flute, and several men and women singers. The building measured 17 yards by 13 yards outside the walls.

The population of the town (which covered a larger area than our present parish) was less than 800 - the original church would seat 300. The community was somewhat scattered, comprised mostly of farms and crofts. North America was still a British colony, and Australia had not been mapped. A Mr Watt was developing his steam engine and various spinning machines were also being developed. These developments were to have a great effect on our parish.

In 1765 the Bishop of Chester (Edmund Keane) was in this area. After confirming over 9000 persons in Manchester, he consecrated a chapel in Manchester (St Paul's) on the Sunday and then, on Monday 29th July 1765, called at Heaton Norris...

An extract from

The Sentence of Consecration

In the name of God. Amen.

Whereas for the ease and convenience of the Inhabitants of the township of Heaton Norris within the parish of Manchester County of Lancaster and Diocese of Chester and of the inhabitants of other Townships and places in that neighbourhood who by reason of the distance of their several habitations from their said Mother Church of Manchester could not without great inconvenience in the Winter Season especially repair to the same to hear Divine Service:

This Chapel or Edifice for a Chapel was erected by the voluntary Contributions of several pious and well disposed persons on part of a Close or field called the Yarn Croft within Heaton Norris aforesaid heretofore belonging to Thomas Collier of Heaton Norris aforesaid Yeoman who by Deed bearing date 28th October 1758 granted the same and the chapel yard to Thomas Johnson of Manchester aforesaid Merchant since deceased and John Sidebotham of Levenshulme in the Parish of Manchester aforesaid Yeoman and their heirs and assigns In Trust and to the intent and purpose that they might be consecrated set apart and devoted to the Worship and Service of God according to the usage of the Church of England.

And whereas this same Chapel being finished and furnished and adorned with a Communion Table, Font, Pulpit, Reading Desk and other necessaries for Divine Worship the said John Sidebotham the survivor of the said trustees for himself and his heirs hath solemnly renounced and receded from all Right Title and Interest which he heretofore had in the same and the Ground inclosed or fenced about it and surrendered all such right title and interestunto us for the uses heretofore mentioned and (together with the principal inhabitants of Heaton Norris aforesaid and other neighboring inhabitants who have been contributors to the said Chapel or edifice) is become a Petitioner to us to separate this Chapel from all common and prophane uses and consecrate it to sacred and divine uses.

And also to separate the parcel of ground inclosed or fenced about it and intended for a Chapel Yard from the former and common uses and to convert and consecrate it into a Yard Cemetary or place of burial for the dead.

WE, Edmund, by divine permission Bishop of Chester favourably inclining to this their pious request and by our Ordinary and Episcopal Authority:

Proceeding to the separation dedication and consecration of this Chapel as it is furnished and adorned....
...And first of all most humbly calling on the only High God, Father Son and Holy Ghost for his divine Assistance do for ever separate this Chapel containing in length without the walls 17 yards and in breadth also without the walls 13 yards or thereabouts from all and every common and prophane use and give up devote and dedicate it to the Worship of God and celebration of Divine Offices only.

And we do consecrate this Chapel for a Chapel of Ease under the parish Church of Manchester aforesaid by the name of the Chapel of Saint Thomas in Heaton Norris and declare that the same shall from thenceforth be so called and decominated and do openly pronounce decree and declare the same to have been and to be so consecrated and that it ought so to remain for Ever hereafter.

- - -
The consecration then made allowance for double fees to be charged for funerals weddings and so on, the normal fee to go to the Chapel and the same again to be paid to the Manchester Parish Church

We have no indication of the origin of the dedication to St Thomas, and there is no early source to indicate a dedication to St Thomas the Apostle but the other Saints Thomas are usually defined by additional names (eg Thomas Aquinas). The current Church Noticeboard bears a dedication to St Thomas the Apostle. It must be noted that there are many churches in the nearby area dedicated to St Thomas, causing some confusion when researching some of the records. Within the current boundaries of Stockport there are three St Thomas churches, and two St Thomas primary schools. This text describes St Thomas Heaton Norris, now known as St Thomas, Heaton Chapel.

William Beresford, Curate 1765-1769

The first Curate....
Mr Beresford was the first incumbent of the Curacy, joining us at the age of 25.

The first burials recorded in the registers were:
A Mottersham 12th August 1767
P Brebsfoot 23rd September 1767

The first baptisms recorded in the registers were:
Mary Jones 16th April 1769
John Wharmby 21st May 1769

The numbers of burials and baptisms in the early years of the Chapel were:

         1767 1768 1769 1770 1771 1772
Baptisms: 0    0    13   11   23   23
Burials:  3    5     3    3    2    2

The endowment of the Chapel consisted of money contributed for that purpose, being private benefactors, a sum contributed from the Governors of Queen Ann's Bounty, and a Parliamentary Grant. These sums were expended in the puchase of three small farms, one in Cheshire, and two in Yorkshire, producing in 1835 an annual rent of GBP 116.00 per year.

The Cheshire farm was in Handforth, of about 22 acres, near to the present school on Wilmslow Road. The Yorkshire properties have not been traced.

Early records are scarce, but the original records show that earlier histories of the Chapel were not correct in recording Mr Beresford as leaving the incumbancy in 1774. The earliest that this error has been traced to was a short history published in 1857. Records held in both the Diocesan office and in the Parish agree that he left in 1769.

James Cooke. Curate: 1769 - 1779

All past histories of St Thomas have given dates for Mr. Cooke's incumbency different to those shown above. (However an unpublished paper by Anthea Lilley does give these dates).

Records in the Diocese and the Parish are quite clear, and we cannot trace the source of the error, but one possible source of confusion can be found in that Mr. Cooke was also curate at another nearby Chapel - also called St Thomas (in Ardwick, Manchester, closed 1978).

During this period it was quite common for a clergyman to be the incumbent of two or more parishes, and there does seem to have been a period when Mr Cooke served at two St Thomas's.

Mr Cooke and his wife, Elizabeth, had several children who were baptised in our Chapel:-
James (10 Dec 1769), John (30 Jan 1771), Elizabeth (5 Feb 1772), William (22 Oct 1773), and Hannah (30 Sep 1774).

The eldest son and daughter were named after their parents as was the fashion.

Mr Cooke died in 1817.

William Barnett

(born 1753, ordained 1775) was appointed to take over this curacy in 1777. His name has not yet appeared in any history, and there is evidence to suggest that he never arrived in the Parish, Mr Cooke continuing with us in the interregnum.

Mr Barnett formally resigned the living in 1778 "on the instructions of my father".

James Taylor 1779 - 1802

Mr Taylor and his wife Sarah had several children baptised in St Thomas:
Isabelle 16 July 1780, Mary 4 July 1782, John 18 Jan 1784, Ann 18 Nov 1785, and Penelopy (spelt this way!) 15 May 1789.

The parish registers have some interesting entries for this period. For example, under burials:
A poor old man found dead whose residence was Manchester Tailor now a soldier, a pauper, killed upon the public road by accident.
This tells us about a hazard walking on the public road, and the generosity of the state to its soldiers.

In some cases we find that baptism precedes christening by a few days - perhaps the need to baptise an ailing infant before a name had been chosen.

Some names from this era, found in the Baptism register: Sophocles, Uriah, Phebe, Lettice, Abel, Zachariah, Joshua, Solomon, Heme, Arnot, and Pricherd. Many Old Testament names, but those last two? Pricherd is from Ap Richard (son of Richard, Welsh). Arnot may be German/Norman derived, with the same root as Arnold or a short form of Arbuthnot.

chalice The first (still existing) gift to the Church was received - a "bell shaped" silver sacramental cup, inscribed: "The gift of Thomas Hudson to St Thomas Heaton Norris December 25th 1786".

In a return to the Bishop of Chester in 1789, Mr Taylor reports:
There are no persons notoriously negligent of the public worship of God on the Lord's day".

In this year, communion services were held monthly, and were attended by between 20 and 80 persons - recall the chapel had seating for 300. A Sunday School was held, probably for the teaching of reading and writing, and the offertory was disposed of by Mr Taylor "for the education of poor children".

Mr Taylor stayed at St Thomas until his death, and is the only incumbent to have been buried here. He was interred in front of the communion table, and although it is possible that his grave may have been one that was disturbed in the 1935 rebuilding of the chancel, there is a possibility that his remains still lie under the present nave, close to the boundary of the 1935 chancel.

James Gatliff 1802-1809

J. Gatliff
"I had not been two years in my clerical habit when by the death of the Rev Mr Taylor, Heaton Norris became vacant."

"And now Mr Griffiths gave me the first proof of his steady friendship, and John Gattliff of his radical enmity. Both were Fellows of the Manchester Collegiate Church, and the former, without any solicitations on my part offered his assistance to procure for me the Perpetual Curacy, and he also engaged Doctor Blackbourne, the Warden, to embrace my interest"

"On the other hand, John, and Danning Rosbotham, supported a Mr Middleton - a toad-eater"

[toad-eater: a fawning obsequious parasite, after the mountebanks assistants who pretended to eat poisonous frogs. Mr Gatliff could have been referring to the next Curate- C P Myddleton???]

"The deciding vote then lay with Mr Bailey who was at that time stricken with palsy and unable to attend; therefore the first two meetings of the Chapter were fruitless. However at the third meeting Mr Rosbotham gave way and voted for me; and thus I secured the vacancy in spite of my brother."

Before his appointment to St Thomas, Mr Gatliff was stipendiary curate at Gorton.

In 1804, Mr Gatliff reported to the Bishop of Chester that some reasons for some not to attend church were:
1. Some have not a respectable dress to appear in
2. Some make the day of rest a day of labor.

The first point was a commonly heard one at this time, and indeed there remain echoes even today, a sharp criticism indeed of the open welcome not given by the Church. As a result of the need for Sunday-best, the rapidly growing working classes were almost excluded from the established church - they found a warm welcome in the new Methodist and other none-established church movements. The Church of England (and later some of the increasingly middle class protestant movements) lost a great deal from this dereliction. The upper middle class culture continues in many congregations.

Mr Gatliff first wrote "my chapel is always wll filled in the afternoon" but later reported a mere seven communicants for Easter Sunday 1803.

"The methodist building is more commodious - with them the poor and strange are certain of accomodation without expense or favour, but it is not so with us, where every seat is private property and some are tenaciously secured by a lock when the owners are absent. The population is estimated at near 4000 souls and the established house of worship will hardly contain 300. This is certainly injury to our good cause"

A word of explanation- in these days the church seating, or pews, were paid for by subscription, entitling the payer to sole use of the seating. Usually the pew renter did not attend church- but no-one else could use the seating. A church may thus have been quite empty and yet have no seating for the stranger walking in. This is why such large churches were built at this time, much larger than any congregation would ever reach. This pew-rent system was later bought out. Pew rents disappeared completely- in 1963.

Do we see here some indication of insight by Mr Gatliff into the needs of the poorer classes?

In his memoirs Mr Gatliff further notes: "I was in possession of Heaton Norris for five or six years and must now admit that I lived beyond my means. Here in the year 1805 - the year of a glorious Trafalgar - were you born my son, exactly one hundred years after the birth of your grandfather"

Mr Gatliff's son, John, by his wife Margaret, was baptised at St Thomas on 15th March 1805.

Wogans Essays
"When Mr Darbey, incumbent of Gorton, died, I became a candidate for the succession: Mr Ethelston, now a Fellow, voted with my former supporters and I was secured to the position without a disentient vote."

In 1817, Mr Gatliff was editor of "Wogans Essays on the Proper Lessons of the Church of England"- in doing this he incurred a heavy pecuniary responsibility (GBP 595.20), from which he was unable to free himself, and was imprisoned at the suit of his publisher, J Clayton. Mr Gatliff added a memoir of Wogan to the work, which is available today at some very high prices. Wogan was friendly to the Methodists and considered Evangelical. Later prints of the third edition did not carry Mr Gatliff's memoir, you need the 1818-1820 print from London.

The book was no pamphlet, but was some 2000 pages over four volumes, expounding in detail the readings from the Old Testament due to be read at morning and evening services each day. The memoir on Wogan was authoritative and extensive being over 100 pages.

Mr Gatliff subsequently returned to Gorton in 1826 where he then remained until his death in 1831, being interred within the Chancel of Gorton Chapel.

The Heaton Norris Parish Registers for this period reveal the presence of measles and smallpox. The population of Heaton Norris, driven by the increasing growth of the local textile industry, grew from just 750 in 1772 to 3,800 in 1802, and then to 5,200 in 1811 and 14,600 in 1841. Recorded 6,179 inhabitants (in 1,386 houses) in 1861, however Parish boundaries may have been amended as additional churches were being built in the area.

During the ten years 1801/1810 the Parish registers record 319 baptisms at St Thomas and 277 burials.

Charles Panton Myddleton 1809-1844

Educated at Manchester Grammar School, Mr Myddleton was also Chaplain to the Earl of Tyrconnel, and Curate of Hollinwood, although he subsequently gave up Hollinwood.

Mr Myddleton was incumbent at St Thomas for some years, but towards the end of his incumbency spent little time in the Parish, leaving the chapel under the care of assistant curates. He may have spent his last years in the Birmingham area.

This was a period of some political unrest, with the Prime Minister, Spencer Percival, assassinated in the House of Commons whilst more locally riots were recorded.

In 1817 there was the "March of the Blanketeers", intending to march from Manchester to London, to protest (amongst other matters) against the suspension of Habeus Corpus (imprisonment without hearing. Now we have that in 2005...). The march did not get very far - stopped at Stockport. It seems likely they passed our little Chapel on the way.

Just two years later, in 1819, the infamous Peterloo Massacre in St Peters Fields, Manchester, when a large crowd, listening to political speeches were charged by the sabre-bearing militia.

The local newspaper the Stockport Advertiser was founded in 1822 (alas no longer with us) and during this turbulent period it was made illegal to employ a child under nine years of age in a factory.

Returning to local matters, in 1811, Mr Myddleton reported to the Bishop:
The Methodists and Calvinists together make about a half of the number of inhabitants. The former much increased of late owing principally to this district bordering upon Stockport, which is considered as the focus of Methodism, and where is a Sunday School erected chiefly through their means, and capable of containing they say four thousand children."

The Stockport Sunday School was -in theory- an inter-denominational educational venture, but the Church of England appears to have had only limited access.

Mr Myddelton mentions disagreements with the Collegiate Church regarding tithes, and goes on at some length requesting the Bishop to take various steps to prevent the spread of Dissenters. He also reports a strong disagreement with John Travis, the school master. The school, erected by public subscription on a plot of land adjoining what we now know as School Lane (but few if any locals know why it is called that, the school having closed many years ago), was used as both a day school and as a Sunday School, under the auspices of a private charity.

The school was on the corner of Manchester Road and School Lane - opposite the current location of the George and Dragon pub. The school site has been latterly used in various guises over the years and in 2015, a gambling shop. Note that School Lane is on BOTH sides of Manchester Road, not changing to Broadstone Road until it crosses the Black Brook just after Grange Road. The old school was demolished in 1895. There were other associated educational buildings nearby to Heaton Norris Academy- a boarding arm (Brook House) and a Ladies School (Brook Villa), but by 1878 all had gone.

One of the men who had signed the petition for the consecration of our Chapel, John Hollingpriest, left a sum of money to the school (with twice as much to the Chapel) and it is often referred to in the records as the Hollingpriest School. It was however well established before his endowment.

Apparently Mr Travis would not permit Mr Myddleton to teach the children, and on Sunday would teach writing and "casting" (= arithmatic). Mr Myddleton "therefore declined to subscribe to the support of this Sunday School". There seems to be a picture here of a public spirited community and a church doing its utmost to keep its distance from that community.

During Mr Myddletons stay, there was an average of just 12 communicants, with communion, once monthly, dropping to once every seven to eight weeks between 1811 and 1825.

In 1821 the average attendance at church was reported to be one hundred.

In 1822 a pub was built opposite the chapel, and was called The Chapel House, a name it retained for many years before unsympathetic pubcos changed its name a couple of times before the police closed it down around 2009. The original pub was rebuilt in the late 1890's, purchased by Bass of Burton in 1921.

By 1825 Mr Myddleton reports that he was living in Chorlton, while his curate, Mr Kirby, kept a boarding school in Burnage. The Churchwardens of St Thomas Chapel did not regularly attend church.

At this time the Church registers were kept in an iron chest in the Inn opposite - The Chapel House. Some vestry meetings were also held there. The licenced premises remain but in keeping with the spirit of our modern age, have changed name a few times more recently and the name "The Chapel House" is no longer on display anywhere, although locals still refer to the name. The closed pub was gutted inside in 2011 and made into a supermarket, with the outside retaining most of its original characteristics. The supermarket closed in 2015.

The silver heads topping the church-wardens staves are inscribed "Heaton Norris 1822" but there is no further information regarding them.

In 1826, a small vestry and enclosed staircase were added at the West end of the Church (apparently the first alteration since it was built), while outside the Church, Wellington Road North (the A6) was opened as a toll road. Before this the road to Stockport was Manchester Road - the junction is just to the South of the Church. Both of the roads to Stockport became Toll Roads, to finance the new road, and a small toll house was built on the junction. This subsequently became a Bank, until it was demolished by a lorry in the 1960's.

A letter published in the "Morning Herald" in 1828, from a traveller walking to London, mentions St Thomas:
The walker was recommended to stay at the Bulls Head (the one in Reddish??) but 'an exhibition there made it very disagreeable' and he retired to the George and Dragon (still a popular local pub- with no change of name)- but sorrow was in this house. The landlord had only buried his wife the week previously, and his feelings had been outraged by an attempt of some ressurectionists to disinter her. They were frustrated in consequence of a heavy stone belonging to an adjoining grave falling upon them. The following morning, a shocking spectacle presented itself. The body was discovered partly disinterred.

These "resurrection men" were followers of the infamous Burke and his associates, whose body snatching activities, to supply cadavers for dissection by medical schools, led to the 1832 Anatomy Act, regulating the supply of bodies to the schools.

In the early part of 1832 it was resolved to dispense with the musical instruments then in use, and to procure an organ. On examination it was found that it could not be placed in the gallery, on account of a large beam across the ceiling, in front of the gallery.

After mature deliberation, they concluded to erect a new gallery over the communion table, which a Mr Wildgoose carried out under the instructions of the wardens.

The Organ was built by Mr Renn, of Manchester, and "opened" on Sunday 6th May 1832 by Mr Heginbotham of Stockport, with great eclat.

The morning service of 6th May was conducted by Rev W Lawton MA of St John's College, Cambridge and commenced with "Through all the changing scenes of life". The responses were sung and special selections of sacred music provided. Tunes used were: Te Deum(Jones), Jubilate Deo (Clark), Anthem: Angels ever bright and fair (Handel), Psalm 24 (Clark), and pieces from the Creation and the Messiah.

The afternoon service, conducted by Rev T Harvey MA (Assistant Curate) commenced with the 100th Psalm and concluded with Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.

The organ, though a small one, was quite sufficient. The addition of the pedal pipes, then a novelty in an instrument of such limited compass, rendered it doubly effective.

Mr Renn was a local organ builder who had earlier built an organ at Stockport Parish Church and had also built organs at Tiviot Dale Methodist Church and St Thomas, Stockport (another confusion of multiple St Thomas').

The rapidly increasing population at last led to the extension of the Chapel in 1838 when two transepts were added, at a cost of GBP 670, leaving the Chapel now in the traditional cruciform shape.

The old three tier pulpitwas at this time replaced by "two large unsightly boxes with panelled fronts, misnamed pulpit and reading desk" and a "shabby" font was introduced.

The Ten Commandments (which some ancient churches still display), instead of occupying their more normal place on each side of the communion table were placed on the wall on the side of the South transept. Moses and Aaron disappeared - they were last seen put up against a window, during the time the plastering was going on, bedaubed with lime and dirt.

The enlargement added 334 additional seatings.

The first wedding to be recorded in the church was in 1838, a few months before St Thomas was assigned a District, by Order in Council - at this time the district comprised the townships of Heaton Norris, Levenshulme and Reddish. The Chapel was now a Church, with its own Parish.

It is reported that during Mr Myddletons incumbency, congregations dropped, and a special appeal was made for people to attend the first service of the next incumbent.

In 1840, the railway between Manchester and Heaton Norris was built, cutting through Heaton Norris racetrack. Heaton Norris station was located on Georges Road, Stockport, the site still has the old warehouse but nothing remains of the platforms. There was at this time no station between Levenshulme and the terminus of the line at Heaton Norris. A deep valley for the River Mersey initially prevented the track continuing to Stockport.

1841 was a severe Winter, and after the Sunday morning services, loaves of bread were distributed to the needy. Between December 1841 and February 1842, a total of 797 loaves were given out.

Edward Dudley Jackson Rector: 1844-1879

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An original copy of the book was deposited with The British Library Copyright Receipt Office on 1st August 1979 under receipt 68519.

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