This history of the parish and building of Christ Church, Patricroft, is extracted from a booklet produced to celebrate its centenary in 1968. The author is J R Bleackley, sometime Reader of the parish. It remains unedited except for the list at the end, which has been updated to include the names of more recent vicars.

The Parish

Those of us who know Patricroft today will find it difficult to understand the words of James Naysmith, the engineer, who wrote in 1841, ..."It was a source of vast enjoyment to me, while engaged in the anxious business connected with the establishment of the foundry, to be surrounded by so many objects of rural beauty. The site of the works being on the west side of Manchester, we had the benefit of breathing pure air during the greater part of the year. The scenery about was very attractive." It is, perhaps, a great pity on one hand that such men as Naysmith spoiled a place of natural beauty and made the industrial area which Patricroft was to become in but a short time. On the other hand, without the industry and the consequent workers who came to live near their work, there would have been no necessity for the Parish of Christ Church to be made and so no centenary history at this time.

The earliest records of Patricroft seem to be in those of the Bridgewater Canal Estates who had to build a bridge to take Catch Inn Lane over the water. This lane had originally been an old farm track but had been taken over by the Salford to Warrington Turnpike Trust in 1752 to shorten the old roundabout way which went down Barton Lane and by the Barton Ford. We know the lane today by the name of Liverpool Road and our church was built on the corner of a still rural road with cottages built on what was known as Green Bank, which branched off into Green Lane. The state of the turnpike road may be judged when we consider that the Liverpool to Manchester Stage coach, which was started in 1767, took almost a full day to traverse the 35 miles and sometimes required six to eight horses to draw the heavy vehicle through the mud and the ruts.

Some cottages were left in a dip when the approaches to the bridge was built up and these were shown on the map of 1809 under the spelling of "Patacroft." From this we may think that the name has altered but those of us who know the local pronunciation will know that this is the way it is often said and the map maker of 1809 merely wrote down as he heard the name spoken without checking on the spelling. In the same way, the same map gives some other names as  'Sawford," "Bowton" and "Wogden"  which are local pronunciations for Salford, Bolton, Walkden.

There is doubt as to the origin of the name of Patricroft and various stories have their following. It has been suggested that it was the Pear Tree Croft and this may have some foundation, while the Patrick's Croft does not seem too likely as the Irish labourers did not come to the area until after the name is used. A possible derivation is that of it being taken from Patrick's Cross which may have been one of the traditional resting places for the bodies of the dead who had to be carried along the track to the parish church at Eccles. It was accepted that the carriers would stop at certain points and rest a while, during which the priest would say a prayer, and crosses were erected at these places. Thus we get the Crossfield at Irlam which would be followed by the cross at Peel Green, a portion of which was found some sixty years ago, and then the cross at Patricroft. This is a derivation which is accepted more by the historian than the other suggestions but there is no proof.

One important fact does arise from all the items of local history and that is the importance of the area in the economic growth of the district in the latter half of the 19th century which brought industry to the old parish of Eccles. Factories were built for cotton spinning, velvet and silk work, while engineering became big business with Naysmith Wilson Company. This is so important that the Borough of Eccles on its incorporation in 1892 took the emblems of industry as the upper half of the coat of arms and showed the cotton plant and the Steam hammer. It is a reflection that the last cotton mill in the borough closed down in 1967 and the great Naysmith's factory which made railway engines for all over the civilised world became the Royal Ordnance Factory.

As so much of Patricroft depended on the factory it may be interesting to have a look at the origins of the Bridgewater Foundry which was called by Naysmith after the Duke who had built the canal. Naysmith leased the land from Squire Trafford at an annual rental of 18/~d a square yard with a site of six acres. The business associates who helped with the financial backing insisted on the building being on the lines of a cotton mill so that it could easily be converted if proving a failure as an engineering factory. It opened in 1836 and made machine tools and steam engines, both stationary and locomotive. Staffing his factory meant bringing in men from other parts and his foreman came from Edinburgh. He was later to bring more men from Scotland to work his machines and work with the men he had brought from the Midlands, Sussex, South Wales, Worsley mines, and other parts of the Manchester area. This meant the provision of houses and we find the population growing in the Patricroft and Monton area.

Other mills had been built with power looms as against the handlooms used in the houses and in 1835 the factory inspector showed that there were 1,124 operatives in the Eccles cotton mills. One of the mills was Spencer's quilting factory, which later became Crippin's Mill and then Arnold Deanes, which was usually known by the residents of Patricroft as the Dog's Home. The building still stands at the end of George Street but is no longer a textile mill.

Work brought a pleasing amount of prosperity to the district but we find the old adage of "where there's muck there's money" creeping in and Patricroft was no longer the delightful country place described in 1841. Even in that year there were the Chartist Riots and a Patricroft man who worked at the Foundry said that the Patricroft men would not be interested in economic strikes as they were among the highest paid workers in the whole country.

The prosperity of the district and the large growth of population made the work of the Vicar of Eccles an impossible task. New parishes were made out of the ancient one, and one of these became the Parish of Christ Church. It was a big parish and included much of what are now seperate parishes again. The whole of the Parish of St. Michael and All Angels at Peel Green was included as were parts of Monton St. Paul, Monton, St. Mary Magdeline, and Eccles St. Andrews.

Before 1868, services under the Church of England had been held by a retired missionary, the Rev. J. Armstrong, who was chaplain to the Barton Union, generally known as the workhouse. He held services in an old barn near to the foundry and also a Sunday School in a room at Spencer's Mill. Later services were held in a room in Bradburn Street until a metal structure was built very near to the site of our present church. At that time the curate in charge was the Rev. Vale who assisted the Rev. William Marsden, M.A., the vicar of Eccles. He worked in the district until 1866 when the Rev. Samuel Dale was appointed in his place and became the first vicar in 1868. He was a man of energy, enterprise and foresight and within five years had organised the building of the church at Patricroft and had started the first instalment of the day schools.

The "London Gazette" of 19th March 1869 gives details of the District Chapelry of Christ Church, Patricroft, as being, "All that part of the parish of Eccles in the County of Lancaster, and in the Diocese of Manchester..." which 15 bounded on the north by the district chapelry of Swinton, St. Peter, on the Northwest by the new parish of St. Mark, Worsley, on the south west by the new parish of St. John, Irlam and on the south by the district chapelry of Saint Catherine, Barton on Irwell. The area named in the schedule gives one or two names which are no longer used and the modern names have been placed in brackets after them in the following paragraph.

"…on the east by an imaginary line commencing upon the boundary which divides the chapelry last named (St. Catherines) from the parish of Eccles at a point where the road leading from Barton Bridge, to Patricroft, is inter­sected by Barton Lane; and extending thence, north eastward, along the middle of the said lane, thereby passing under the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal, to the junction of the said lane with Back Lane, (Trafford Road) and extending thence along the middle of the lane to its junction with Catch Inn Lane (Liverpool Road), and extending northwards to the point in the middle of a certain footpath leading from Back Lane to Ellesmere Road crossing the line of the London and North Western Railway near the Eccles Junction and continuing along the middle of the said foot­path to the junction of same with Ellesmere Road, and extending  thence along the road to its junction with Clifton Road, and thence eastwards to its junction with Slack Lane (Monton Road) to a point in the middle of Slack Lane Bridge where the lane crosses the line of the Patricroft and Clifton Junction of the L.N.W.R., and extending thence to the centre of the bridge which carries the line of railway over Folly Brook which divides the said parish from the district chapelry of St. Peter, Swinton."

Portions of this area were made over to the parish of St. Andrew, Eccles, in 1880, and this made the Christ Church boundary end at Robert Street and at the end of Hampden Grove, while an the west it ended at Big Dick's Walk, Barton Moss. It still left Patricroft one of the largest parishes in the Diocese and, at one time, the vicar was assisted by no less than three assistant curates and a lady worker. The vicar of Christ Church, therefore was a person of considerable importance and dressed accordingly in tall hat and frock coat. Before the present vicarage was built during the curacy of the Rev. R. Pratt (1909-1921), the vicar lived in  one of the large houses in Ellesmere Park, called Lynden Lea, and this certainly put him among the aristocrats of the Borough.

Many changes have taken place in a hundred years and it is interesting to note that most of the old workers' terraced houses built by the mill and factory have gone. New flats or houses have taken their place and the departure of the steam trains from the depot has left a generally cleaner atmosphere. Health has improved along with better sanitation and clean grass verges where once were narrow streets with granite, sets give a much more pleasant aspect. Along the main Liverpool Road in front of the church the tram lines have disappeared, and, where once the horse drawn trams were superceded by electric, the electric have also given way to the automobile. Opposite the church was once The Avenue where the better-off people of Patricroft dwelt, and just a standing row of stones reminds us of the former glory before even the Palladium Cinema was built to give entertainment to the local people.

Throughout all  the changes which have taken place in the past hundred years, Christ Church has stood, and still stands, as witness to the Christian Faith.

The Church

Christ Church, Patricroft is an imposing building and is remarkably well preserved when we consider the dirt and grime which has played havoc with stonework during the past century. The design was originally intended to have a steeple but this was never erected and has not proved to be really necessary, although the steeple was a feature of churches of the same style built at that period. Instead there is a small belfry from which the parishioners are called by the tolling of a single bell. There was seating for 750 worshippers in the nave and gallery until alterations were made in 1961 when some pews were removed on either side at the front of the nave. This allowed the pulpit to be moved forward and also the choir stalls to be extended. A visitor will look in vain for any indication on the outside of the fabric as to the date of the church and this, again, is an unusual feature in churches of the period. The only date was on the top of a drain pipe where the water was received from the roof but this was removed some twenty years ago. It was carefully kept by the verger Mr R Millard, whose information has led the writer to find it in the  boiler room and it is now being preserved for its historical interest. It is of cast iron and the date of 1868 is very plainly seen on it.

The outside stonework is worthy of more than a casual look as there are many beautiful carvings including the consecration plaque at the end of the south porch. Perhaps the highlight of the facade was when it was illuminated after the 1914 -18 war as part of the victory celebrations. At one time masses of ivy covered the wall but this had to be removed because the mortar was being damaged by the roots.

On entering the church we see the stone font which has a rather unusual feature about its plumbing. It was considered so unusual that plumbers from quite some distance around would bring their apprentices to see the manner in which water was filled into the font and then let out again by the same hole. Unfortunately, the water is no longer connected through this plumbing system but is carried from the vestry in a ewer.

The arches which hold up the nave are supported on columns which appear at first sight to have identical capitals but a close investigation will show that every one is of a different design and very beautifully carved. One of the corner patterns was damaged during a decoration scheme and had to be repaired by experts who managed to affix the broken portion back into place. It takes a very close scrutiny to see the line of the repair.

Towering above are the massive roof beams which support the painted roof. It is not generally known that one of these beams is false and merely a shell placed in position to balance the design. This is the first one above the balcony and no one could tell without climbing up and sound the hollowness of the wood as against the rest which are solid and strong. Above the arches in the nave are painted designs in the shape of eight angels each bearing an heraldic shield with designs painted on such as the Lamb of God, the Star of David and the nails from the cross. These are part of the original church decoration and have been touched up by the decorators on only two occasions since first being painted.

Many  memorials in the form of glass, brasses and furniture are to be seen by the visitor and worshipper in the church which is light and spacious. These memorials arc a lasting testimony to Patricroft people and families who have loved their Parish Church. On the west end is the "Tabitha" window which is a memorial to Alice Maud Dale, wife of the first vicar. This window was erected after her death in 1875 by the congregation and Sunday school scholars and their regard is shown in the text at the bottom of the window ... "This woman was full of good deeds and alms which she did".

Windows on the north side include two of the Adams windows. while the third is on the south side near to the organ. These windows were erected to the memory of the late E. L. Adams, Esq., J.P., and to his two wives. They are exquisite windows and a feature of the one to Mary Jane who died in 1876 is the incorporation of a rainbow in the design. This is unusual in a stained glass window and only requires the sun shining through to bring up the colour and beauty. Mr. Adams outlived his first wife by some 48 years while his second wife, Annie lived to 1935. She erected the window to his memory but he made the arrangements for hers.

Also on the north side are the war memorial windows and the church war memorial on which is inscribed the names of some 96 men of this parish who gave their lives in the 1914 -18 war. There is no reference in the church to the 27 men who were killed in the 1939 - 45 war. Lieut. Frank Douglas Andrew is remembered by a window erected by his family. The Scouts keep the memory green by the annual placing of a wreath under the plaque.

On the south side are the two Hayes memorial windows one to the son, George Dowzer Hayes, a student at Trinity College, Dublin who died in 1921. This was erected by his parents, Doctor W. J. Hayes and Mrs. Nina Hayes who are both remembered in the next window which is the latest of our stained glass. Doctor Hayes held many offices in the church and was a benefactor who is well remembered while his wife extended her work to the borough where she served on the council and became honoured by being made the mayor in 1948.

Behind the altar is the chancel window which is considered to be a beautiful window and which was erected "To the glory of God and in memory of Samuel Taylor, late warden," who died in 1891. This depicts our Lord with the children and is noted for the expressions on the faces, particularly that of the Christ. Above this window is a small one depicting the ascent of the dove.

Other memorials within the chancel include the Bishop's chair which was presented in 1899 by the Freemasons of Eccles in memory of their late Pro Grand Master, the 1st. Earl of Lathom.

Five paintings on the wall of the chancel represent Our Lord and Mary, his mother, St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Luke and these are not quite what they appear as they are actually painted on canvas which is fastened to the wall. The only time they have needed renovation was some forty-five years after being painted and the original artist came from Liverpool to do this. He was so old and feeble that he had to be assisted up the ladder but would not allow anyone else to do the work. Since then, the decoration round the figures has been touched up and the paintings cleaned but are still otherwise as originally painted.

There are many more memorials in the church including the lectern which was a gift from his parishioners and friends to the memory of the late Rev. H. W. Dick. A brass reminds us that Walter Pogson was accidently drowned in 1901 and another was placed by "cubs and scouts past and present" to the memory of Harry Lewis Bate and in appreciation of his over twenty-one years service with the 12th. Eccles Scout Group. A brass font ewer was dedicated to the memory of Mr. G. Humphreys on Anniversary Day, 1967 to show an appreciation of the work done by him in the many offices he held from time to time in the church.

These and so many other memorials give record of the the people of Patricroft who have loved the church throughout the years. The greatest memorial to them all must be the strength of the church today and the work which is being continued in this parish. Christ Church has seen alterations within and without but it remains the spiritual centre of the industrial parish of Patricroft.



The Parish Registers

The registers show that over 22,000 children have been baptised in Christ Church during the hundred years and this may be compared with our neighbouring parish of St. John Irlam which celebrated its centenary in 1966 and was able to show that 6,341 baptisms had taken place. Our first child recorded as being baptised was Alice Oldfied Parr, daughter of William and Elizabeth Parr who kept a grocery shop in Patricroft. On the same day but recorded nos 2 and 3 in the register were the two daughters of William and Eliza Bowden, chemist, and they were baptised Dora and Ethel Mary. There is no date of birth given and we can only guess that they may have been twins. The same page but dated 4th October is recorded Janet Blair, whose address is given as Pits o'th'Moor and whose father, William, is described as a pattern maker. Pits o'th'Moor was a part of the parish on the Winton side of the canal and where the St. Michael and All Angels Day school was later built.

First of the twelve Baptism registers gives an interesting cross section of the occupations and professions of the families in the parish. Many of these are, as may be expected, connected with the railway and with the textile industry but other professions and trades come up in a surprising manner. Among the professions, we find in the first book which dates from 1868 to 1883, fathers being described as, bank cashier, solicitor, clergyman, doctor, vetinerary surgeon,  photographer, gold-beater, schoolmaster, metallurgist, Master of the Barton upon Irwell Union, architect, chemist. One father is just described as being a "gentleman.''

The railway is well represented by such occupations as stationmaster,  engine driver, stoker, porter, platelayer, pointsman, cleaner. Textiles and engineering include scrivenir, grinder, bleacher,  weaver,  pattern maker,  calico printer, over-looker,  fustian  cutter,  striker,  hammerdriver, cardman, maker-up, moulder, tintacker, gas fitter, plumber. Others were given as being a coachman, farmer, shepherd, tobacco manufacturer, ferryman, collier, wheelwright, pawn broker, grocer, warehouseman, clerk. The later books begin to show the changing nature of the parish and occupations such as bus driver, oil worker, electrician, instrument maker, cinema projectionist, steel­worker, male nurse, mechanic, commercial traveller, and plastics moulder show the changes which have taken place.

Over 3,500 weddings have been solomnised according to the registers and the first of these was that between John Ellward, described as a pianoforte maker, and Mary Tatham on 16th June 1869. The first register contains five hundred entries and recorded up to 1896.

There has not been a burial ground attached to the church and no register has been kept to indicate the number of funerals in which the deceased has been brought into church.

Records of the church services have been kept from 1884 although it is possible that earlier records may some time come to light. It is interesting to note that on 8th June 1884, on the occasion of the anniversary services the collection amounted to no less than £38. 14. 8d. If we take note of the value of money then and compare it with today we get some idea of the support given to the church 80 years ago. This must be taken as a special service as we find that the usual weekly offering usually does not amount to more than £3 at that time and, indeed, for many years after. In 1892 there is a note against evensong January 15th which states, "Rather wet evening but good congregation." The offerings for that day which were for church expenses amounted to just £3.

Easter Day of that year shows celebrations of Holy Communion at 6am, 7am and and at 10.30am, when the number of communicants were 33, 82, 56, and 65 respectively which made a grand total of 236. This again cannot be compared with the normal Sunday Holy Communion when the number was usually less than a dozen. In 1902, the Easter Day communicants were 237 with the regular Sunday celebrations exceeding 10 and on quite a number of occasions the entry that there were none at all. We sometimes tend compare our present day attendance with those of a "golden past," but, generally speaking, they had much to be desired when it came to church going and church giving except for special services.

 February 11th, 1900.... Very stormy, very deep snow

December 15th, 1901...  Very bad snowy night

March 12th. Very wet evening

Apparently the weather was not any better than today either!

In the l920's the usual offering was around £7 but Easter Day communicants had jumped amazingly and 1925 totalled 500 while the weekly Sunday communicants were averaging 25. These numbers were in addition to those at the St. Michael's Mission which added another 155 to Easter Day. December 22nd, 1934, St. Michael and All Angels Church Peel Green was made into a conventional District. The Reverend Toby, curate in charge. Licenced by the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Manchester. Inducted by the Rt. Rev the Bishop of Hulme.

A special feature of the 1934 period seems to have been the inclusion of broadcast services after evensong for a short period which would indicate that Christ Church was not adverse to bringing in modern means of teaching the faith.

Old records make interesting reading but sometimes bring us down to earth when we hear older people talking about the church as it was and comparing it with the so called decline of today. We certainly have no need to be complacent about the work being done today, but, at the same time, our records show that we are not behind our predecessors and we are facing up to the realities of the present day.

Records show that some very well known and famous churchmen have occupied the pulpit. Among them was the Right Reverend Dr. Temple, who became Archbishop of Canterbury. We also had the Right Reverend John Edwin Watts Ditchfield, first Bishop of Chelmsford who was a Patricroft boy, born in Green Lane and son of the headmaster of the British School and Mechanics' Institute. John Ditchfield was invited back to preach the sermon at the 50th anniversary services just fifty years ago and took his text, "Weighed in the balance and found..." There are many of our parishioners today who were so impressed by the sermon that they can still remember it and the man who preached it. It may seem strange that the only memorial in Eccles to John Ditchfield is not in this church but in the little Wesleyan chapel at Barton where there was erected to his memory a runic cross giving his name, particulars of his bishopric and also stating that he was ''a scholar in our Sunday School, teacher and secretary of the Band of Hope.


The Organ

The Organ was built in 1897 by James Jepson Binns of  Leeds, one of the leading Organ builders of that period who had a fine reputation for reliable work and excellent finish. It was planned as a three manual instrument but only the Pedal, Swell and Great divisions were actually completed - the Choir Organ was to be added at a later date.

The design of the Organ was perhaps a little ahead of its time as the compass of the manuals was a full five octaves and this has since become standard practice. As is customary the upper and middle keyboards controlled the Swell and Great Organs respectively but for nearly seventy years the lowest keyboard has been little more than an ornamental adjunct except that the use of the Swell to Choir coupler made the Swell Organ playable on the lowest keyboard as well as the top - there was little advantage in this however.

A recital was given by Sidney Nicholson in 1912 before he became organist at Westminster Abbey. He was very pleased with our organ and spoke highly of its tone and of the acoustics of the church. He is better known as Sir Sidney as he was knighted for his services to church music.

In the early 1920's an electric blower was installed and some cleaning and tonal work was carried out but the extent of this and by whom it was done is not recorded. By 1951 it was reported that the effects of wear and tear and dirt had left the Organ in a very bad state. The regulation of almost half of its pipes had become so poor that they could not be used with the others and for some 15 years only about half the pipe work was in regular use.

By 1964 various other faults and troubles were occuring and after much consideration the PCC decided to accept the estimate of Mr. Cyril Wood of Ashton-under-Lyne to completely restore the Organ by reconditioning the existing tubular pneumatic action, the thorough overhaul of all mechanisms, recovering of the manual keys, a new Pedal board and a new electric blowing plant - all pipework was to be cleaned, repaired and properly regulated and two stops were to be extended and given new action to provide three registers on the Choir Organ and two additional stops on the Pedal Organ.

The whole of this work was completed by the end of 1965 at a cost of £1,735 and of this amount  the sum of £250 was given by the Reverend R. C. England, B.A Vicar of Christ Church 1942/1965. This very generous donation provided the 16 foot extension of the Trumpet unit to give a Pedal Trombone stop of great dignity and character. The remainder of the money was given by friends and parishioners who responded nobly to the appeal made to them.

Although  the available funds would not permit the installation  of modern electro-pneumatic action and all the helpful control devices which this makes possible we must feel proud that our Organ is considered by those with expert knowledge to be an outstanding exanrple of the organ builders art and craftmanship, and tonally it now compares well with some of the best instruments of similar size in the country.


The Schools

No history of the church would be complete without mention of the Day and Sunday Schools, the history of which is written not so much in buildings as in the lives and characters of the many children who grew up with the solid christian character which they were taught at school.

The Sunday schools in Patricroft are older than the church and go back some thirty years further when the Rev J. Armstrong, a retired missionary and Chaplain to the Barton Union, held services in a barn originally used for meals by the workpeople of Naysmith's Foundry. From there it moved to a room in Spencer's mill in George Street where Mr. Robert Baxendale, a corn merchant, became superintendent.  A further move was to the Mechanics' Institute in Green Lane, which was also a day school. Our own buildings were built and opened in 1872 as both a Day and Sunday School and have kept open ever since for both religious and secular education.

January 8th, 1872, saw the Day school open its door and there were 49 scholars in the mixed department, one boy and one girl being halftimers, while the Infants' department under Miss Willis had 36 children present. The head master of the mixed school, Mr. Heavyside, apparently did not think much of his first morning as he wrote in the school log book ... "the scholars generally are very inattentive to lessons and disorderly in school." Two days later he again wrote,  "The scholars are very backward in Arithmetic, particularly the girls. Geography, Grammar and History they know very little about." In April poor Mr. Heavyside had a further worry and wrote, "A circus piocession came through the village and after exhibited at Eccles which had the effect of thinning the school considerably. There were 22 boys and 23 girls absent in the afternoon." In July he recorded that as the weather was very hot he took the boys to the canal for a bathe. He did not remain long at Patricroft and was followed for less than a year by a Mr. Crosbie, who was succeded by the headmaster of reknown Mr. Joseph Mather who remained from 1895 to 1919 and who was referred to in the local Shrove Tuesday song...

"Pancake Tuesday's a very happy day,

If you don't give us holiday we'll all run away.

Where shall we run to? down Green Lane

To see Cocky Mather with his big fat cane."

In turn he was followed by Mr. G. H. Swallow, Mr. James Marland, Mr. Joseph Stephenson, Mr. E   P. Dale and the present headmaster, Mr. J. H. Bleackley.

Meantime, the Infants' department had its succession of headteachers, culminating in 1964 with Mrs. Sykes on whose retirement the Infant school was combined with the mixed school which had become a Junior school on the opening of the new Eccles Church of England Secondary School.

Day school records are complete from the opening of the school and are rich in incidents relating to the life in the parish as it affected the children. The first scholar recorded as entering the school was Henry Royle whose daughter, Phoebe was appointed to the staff of the school as a monitor in 1903 and became a qualified teacher in due course finally marrying Mr. James Marland, another teacher who was appointed headmaster in 1922. Some two months after Miss Royle's appointment, Miss Florence Heaton was appointed a temporary monitor, passing through the stages of  monitor, pupil teacher, and then qualified teacher, finally retiring after being in the school as pupil and teacher for sixty years. She also took a very active part in the work of the Sunday school and surely must have set up a record for unbroken connection with a school. The official punishment book was not started until 1902 but a look through it almost reads like a "Who's Who" of the borough of Eccles and many leading members of the community have smiled at the entries under their name in this black book of the school.

At one time there were over six hundred children in the school and it it small wonder that one of Her Majesty's Inspectors (Queen Victoria) wrote in his report .. "I think that eighty four children is rather a lot for one pupil teacher to manage in a class."


Vicars of Patricroft

As Patricroft was part of the large parish of Eccles the cure of the souls of its people rested with the Vicar of  Eccles, starting with Helia and William who were listed as being "Clerico de Eccles" in 1180. This list continues until Christ Church, Patricroft became a parish in 1868. From then the vicars have been...

Rev. Vale
(Curate in Charge)

Rev. Samuel Dale
(First Vicar)




Rev. W. Crass, M.A.




Rev. W. W. I. Firth, M.A.




Rev. R. Pratt




Rev. H. W. Dick




Rev. Race Godfrey




Rev. C. B. Martyn Johns




Rev. C. R. England, B.A.




Rev. A. Atherton




Rev. A. E. Burles




Rev. A. E. Walker




Rev. D. E. Butler




Rev. Norman Jones
(Team Rector & Priest-in-Charge      




Rev. Christopher Painter
(Team Vicar for Christ Church
Patricroft & St Andrew, Eccles)



Rev. Anne-Louise Critchlow
(Team Vicar for Christ Church
Patricroft & St Andrew, Eccles)
2008 -

During the sequestrian period of almost a year from the resignation of Rev. C. R. England to the induction of Rev A. Atherton, the sequestrators were the Rural Dean of Eccles, Canon F. Williamson and the churchwardens, Mr William Webb and Mr. Norman Adshead. They were assisted by the reader licensed to Christ Church, J. B.  Bleackley A.C.P.,  F.R.S.A.,  F.S.A.


Click here to return to the home page




Christ Church Patricroft Online