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Church History: Page One   ||   Page Three 1880-1926   ||   Page Four (1926-1965)   ||   Page Five

This portion of my web site contains the text of a history of my local parish church which I wrote in 1979. Amendments have been made since.
THE INFORMATION IN THIS BOOK IS FREE. It may be copied, distributed and/or modified under the conditions set down in the Design Science License published by Michael Stutz
Quick jump to: East Window  | Pictures post 1870   | Mr Jackson's burial   | Mr Jackson's books

History of St Thomas Church : Heaton Chapel

Page Two

List of Personnel - Incumbants, Wardens, Curates, Secretaries, Treasurers

Edward Dudley Jackson :- Rector: 1844-1879

At Mr Jackson's first service at St Thomas, in a church with seating for over 600, attendance is recorded at 150.

Mr Jackson had visited the Parish previous to his appointment, taking a baptism service in the Chapel in 1836.

He was born at Warminster in Wiltshire in 1803. The National Archives have a will of Edward Dudley Jackson, dissenting minister of Warminster (1793-1803), dated 6th December 1803- probably our Mr Jackson's grand father who died in 1803. Several generations were called Edward Dudley. Our Mr Jackson went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a BCL (now called LLM) law degree. He was ordained in 1827 and later was appointed English Master at Manchester Grammar School.

St Thomas chapel had become a Church, with its own Parish, in 1838 and some records indicate that Mr Jackson was active in this change. He was certainly an active worker in the establishment of the many churches built in this area after his appointment to St Thomas - even though these reduced the size of our own Parish.

The new Parishes included:
Christ Church (only the tower now remains) - 1846
St John's, Heaton Mersey - 1852
St Mary's, Reddish - 1865
St Paul's, Heaton Moor - 1878
All Saints, Heaton Norris - 1888
For clarity, these dates refer to the establishment of the Parish. St Paul's celebrated its centenary in 1976, one hundred years after the building was licensed for worship in 1876. St Paul's was consecrated for worship in 1877. Complex things church centenaries!)
St Elizabeth's in Reddish was built between 1881-1883, commissioned by and funded by Sir William Houldsworth, owner of the nearby large mill.

By 2005 the five Heaton's parishes (St Thomas, St Paul, St John, All Saints, Christ Church) were reunited under a team ministry.

St Thomas was founded under the Diocese of Chester, but in 1848 the Collegiate Church in Manchester became a Cathedral and St Thomas (on the Northern bank of the River Mersey, the old Lancashire/Cheshire border) entered the Diocese of Manchester.

In 1847, the "old rectory" (now demolished) was built at a cost of GBP 1200, towards which Mr Jackson personally contributed GBP 200. It was built on a parcel of land purchased from Lord Egerton. For several years either side the electoral rolls give the place of residence of Edward Dudley Jackson as Handforth.

Church finances were in a poor way (nothing changes), and in 1849 the Organist sued for his wages - his salary had been reduced the previous year. About this time, church collections commenced. Hitherto there were communion offerings for the poor, whilst the church received income from the rental on its lands, plus pew rents. The service collections were for church expenses. At first only occaisional collections were made, becoming twice monthly - on 28th September 1851 the collection amounted to a value of GBP 37, a sum larger (without accounting for inflation) than many collections in 1979. As a measure of value, in 1851 the church building was insured for just GBP 500, whilst the comparatively sized church in 1978 was insured for GBP 132,000.

The Church had to employ a solicitor to obtain the Vestry minute book from a retired secretary.

Mr Jackson had written a number of school text books - including a Latin grammar, a History and an Atlas. He continued to write after joining St Thomas, mainly religious poems. There is a book of his poems in Manchester Central Library for the interested reader to consult. He also wrote a 356 page work - "Companion to the Liturgy of the Church of England".

"He preaches from a written sermon... his action is animated with a little grace and polish. He possesses a voice of considerable strength and compass... We think Mr Jackson is one of the most effective readers of the Church prayers we have met in the neighborhood of Manchester. He pays attention to the reading of his discourses with an elocutionary precision. He rarely exceeds forty minutes in the delivery of his sermon."

How would today's congregations react to a sermon of only forty minutes...

Mr Jackson appears to have been a man of personal means, as apart from his contribution towards the Rectory, he also travelled, at least as far as the Adriatic, and this at a time well before package holidays and mass air travel (before air travel at all).

A possibly apocryphal tale informs us that he spoke thirteen languages, and upon meeting an Italian in the road at Heaton Chapel conversed with him for an hour in Italian, and paid the man two shillings and sixpence ( 12.5p in new currency- but worth a great deal more in those days) for the pleasure.

At one Vestry meeting it was suggested that a clock should be installed at the front of the gallery, and those present at the meeting immediately contributed GBP 6. A clock in this position would be visible only to the preacher. As the clock only cost GBP 3-15-9d (GBP 3.79) the balance was handed to the organist in thanks for his services.

One of Mr Jackson's pupils at the Grammar School, by name of Woodhouse, subsequently became superintendant of the Northern Division of the London and North Western Railway. Mr Jackson used his influence to have a railway station built, near to the rectory, and despite the difficulties of building a station in a cutting, the station was opened around 1851. What to call it though? There was already a Heaton Norris station (on Georges Road). Maybe out of compliment to Mr Jackson, the new station was named Heaton Chapel. A map dated 1818 names the church as "Heaton Chap" so the area name may not be called after the station.

The 1818 map refers interestingly to both Rusholme and Levensholme but then to Kirkhams Hulme (Kirkmanshulme). Names were perhaps a little variable.

The subsequent growth of the Heaton Moor area led to a temporary change of the railway station name, Heaton Chapel for Heaton Moor, then Heaton Chapel AND Heaton Moor - but it has again returned to Heaton Chapel.

In 1851, Thomas Rostron of Levenshulme died, leaving a legacy to the Church which provided a regular income of GBP 4.44 per year. There is a memorial tablet in his memory in the Church.

The area around the Church was still largely unsettled, with most of the industrial growth taking place on the borders, near to Stockport, Reddish and Heaton Mersey. The opening of Heaton Chapel station seems to have encouraged a merchant class to settle into Heaton Moor, and this settlement then slowly spread to meet the main Manchester-Stockport road.

Mr Jackson had such success in drawing people to church - despite the shrinkage of the parish as more churches had been built- that by 1853 galleries had to be installed in the transepts of 1838. This work cost GBP 221 and added a further 160 seats.

Shortly after, in 1854, gas lighting was installed - this was before the gas mantle development of 1880, the gas lighting would have been rather more like a perpetual candle, just a flickering flame.

In 1855 Mr Jackson wrote a letter from the rectory to a Doctor (of ?) in Oxford, sending him a recipe for chicken stuffing and for bread sauce. The stuffing included nutmeg, which would have been fairly costly and not widely available at this time- the British only obtained access to the one island on which it was grown in 1815 - and then started to grow the spice in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malaya (Malaysia). The letter refers to "Mamma" at a time when Mr Jackson was 52 - we do not know if his mother was with him in the Rectory or if this was a reference to his wife?

letter sent by mr jackson in 1855
In January 1856, Mr Jackson gave the sermon at an Ordination Service, speaking on "the Constitution of the Church of England, Scriptural and Apostolical" - dealing with the episcopalian nature of the Anglican church. His sermon exceeded ten thousand words and the candidates were so impressed they called for its publication.

The High Church conflicts of this period, coinciding with a controversy on evolution, seem to have temporarily passed our little Church by, as it continued in its original ways for many more years.

The present font was presented in 1865 by a Mr Rogerson. Most of the Church Plate is inscribed 1865 but we have no record of its acquisition. The makers mark is TC and it was assayed in London. In 1865 the church was insured for GBP 1500.

There was a religious census in 1851, however the return for our Parish cannot be located. The Public Record Office advise that it was probably lost by the Home Office before the papers were handed to the Record Office.

The large East Window was given by Geo. Taylor, the son-in-law of Mr Jackson, in memory of Mrs. Harriet Taylor, the wife of the Town Clerk of Stalybridge. The window was by Caprennier of Brussels, and a contemporary writer tells us "its excellence is so great that we do not recall any window in Manchester or the neighborhood comparable to it". The window was removed for the 1936 rebuilding of the chancel, and reportedly stored in the rear gallery. After that its fate is a matter of conjecture. Perhaps it was stored in the old rectory and was lost when that was demolished in 1964, as the original demolisher disappeared with the materials, or possibly when the West End was rebuilt in 1962. No reported changes were made to the gallery except a new stair entrance may have been necessary, but the building work may have seen the glass moved to the rectory for safety?

East Window As this window met the fate of Moses and Aaron, I will describe it more fully below. At least we have a slightly low resolution photograph of the window.

It had three lights, containing a representation of the Crucifixion. In the centre light was the Cross, bearing the lifeless and almost nude form of the Saviour, wearing the crown of thorns. He is represented without the usual nimbus around the head, as all which pertains to the Godhead had departed, whilst the manhood still remains. Behind the Cross breaks a glorious light, indicating that the Father accepts the atonement of the Son.

There is a calm and heavenly expression in the face and features: as in life so He was in death, fair and comely to look upon and more beautiful than all the children of men.

As you gaze upon the countenance of the manhood, the visage of the deity is seen in that noble brow, torn and lacerated by the cruel crown of thorns. There is a strange contrast amongst the faces of those who surround the Cross.

It would appear they seem regardless of the dreadful deed which has just been perpetrated and the enormous sacrifice made for the redemption of the human race.

There are the human soldiers, with their hard features, in which are blended cruelty and avarice. They are casting lots for the seamless garment. One seems dissatisfied with the result of the dice and endeavours to withold the hand of a woman (with features hideously expressive) from seizing the coveted garment.

At the foot of the Cross in a reverential attitude is the faithful Mary Magdalene, who enfolds the feet of the Saviour in a white napkin. Her heartfelt grief is betrayed by the tear trickling down her cheek. Near her are represented a skull and bones, to indicate Golgotha, the place of a skull where the Crucifixion occurred.

At the head of the Cross is the inscription devised by Pontius Pilate, written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin : "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".

The window was of painted and not stained glass. There was a brass memorial plaque below it.

The first school adjacent to the Church was built in 1866 - the builder was Adam Gothard - at a cost of GBP 700, on a strip of land adjacent to the Church and given by Lord Egerton on the condition that it would revert to him (or to his heirs) should the land cease to be used for a school.

There were eleven school managers, who were to contribute at least one pound each per year towards the running costs of the school.

The Sunday School which had previously met at the Hollingpriest School (on School Lane) was transferred to the new Day School.

In 1870, the church was once more enlarged, and a lot of other work was carried out, over a short period - during the months of August and September the services were held in the new school. Further alterations took place in 1874.

The work was extensive, involving two additional transepts with galleries, the Church thereby now losing its cruciform shape. Seating was now on all three sides of the communion table.

As these new transepts were built over what was the Churchyard, great care was taken to avoid disturbing the graves. The transepts (referred to as chancel aisles) were supported by iron beams resting on brick pillars.

A new bell turret was fitted, complete with new bell. New gabled roofing was built over the transepts, and a new porch was built at the West end. The round headed windows were filled with stone tracery mullions and jambs, and projecting label moulds were placed over them.

From outside the Church, you will note that the projection over the window nearest to Stockport appears damaged - no so: the transept jutted from the wall here, and this projection has therefore never been complete.

The low flat ceiling of the Nave was removed, and an open roof substituted. The pews were replaced and the West end gallery was rebuilt.

The floor of the Nave, under which interments had taken place, was covered with concrete and a wooden floor laid over it.

To strengthen the walls, buttresses were added - note that the buttress nearest to Stockport is a more modern addition, replacing the former transept wall. The Chancel arch was raised to give a better view of the East window, and the large window in the West end was inserted.

The church was reopened by the Bishop of Manchester on Friday 7th October 1870.

The architects were Medland and Taylor of Manchester, contractor T Darnborough.

After this work was completed, the church had seating for 1,100 (some reports state 1200). Possibly at this time a screened choir was erected, with a high pulpit on the right and the lectern behind the choir, in the middle. The font was in front of the lectern.

All of the now existing "stained glass" was installed in 1870, so this is an appropriate place to note it.

The new large West window has on the left the coat of arms of William Hulme who lived at Broadstone Hall. Note the signature of "T Hulme" on the petition for the consecration of the church. The central coat of arms is that of Manchester Diocese. The faded arms on the right are those of Egerton of Tatton, once a major landowner in this area.

The smaller windows in the church were originally filled with the coats of arms of every Diocese, but some of the windows were lost during the 1935 rebuilding.

Conversion of St Thomas
There was apparently a window in one of the transepts depicting the baptism of our Lord by St John, and bearing the legend "He that beleiveth and is baptised shall be saved".

There are two painted windows in the West end- "Charity and her children" and "The Conversion of St Thomas".

Old painted glass in the nave windows was removed and new stained glass from Messrs Scott and Company, Oxford Street, Manchester was inserted.

Plan of Church after 1865 (use browser back button to return here)

Exterior and Interior after 1870:

Exterior after 1865 Interior about 1870

Click on the interior picture above for a larger image, and also take a look at detail number one and detailed image 2 taken from the interior image.

1865 chalice 1865 flagon
1865 chalice and flagon.

In 1871 Manchester Town Hall opened and one of the attending guests was a John Henn, who will appear a little later in our story.

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Burial of E D Jackson In 1878, Mr Jackson was suffering ill health and left the Parish for Brighton, where he died on 27th December 1879, aged 76. He was buried in Cheltenham.

We have located his grave at St Peters, Leckhampton, plot G.72, to the right of the Lych Gate when facing the church-

Triple plot enclosing two monuments with knee high decorative railings and iron posts, worn and rusty, upon base and kerbs.
a: Large ledger with raised horizontal bronze cross attached.
BORN 11TH JULY 1803. / DIED 27TH DECR 1879. /
b: Horizontal cross on ridged, hipped and gabled ledger on large plinth of grey granite on base.
east: 7TH FEBRUARY 1870.

[note- Mr Jackson's son was also called Edward Dudley, he was born 1836, died 1903. He obtained a BA at Oxford in 1859, became a student at the Inner Temple in 1860 and was called to the Bar in 1863. He lived in Brighton and practiced from Harcourt Buildings in the Temple.]

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Books by E D Jackson Some of these books are listed as in print (as scans of older books) in 2013.

1827- Salvation by Christ. A sermon on Heb. ii. 3, etc by Edward Dudley Jackson

1833-Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, adapted to the public and private devotions of members of the Church of England... by Edward Dudley Jackson

1834- The Crucifixion, and other poems. Third edition

1839-The Devotional Year; or, the Companion to the Liturgy of the Church of England.

1854- Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, as used in several churches in the Diocese of Manchester; with hymns and liturgy... by Edward Dudley Jackson

1856- The Constitution of the Church of England scriptural and apostolical: a sermon ... Second edition by Edward Dudley Jackson

1870- Nugae Lyricae. (a collection of poems) Samples of Mr Jackson's Poems

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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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