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St Stephen’s Church, AstleyGoogle map
Source: Wikimedia Commons

St Stephen’s Church is a parish church in Astley, Greater Manchester. It is an active Anglican church built in 1968 and part of Leigh deanery, the archdeaconry of Salford and diocese of Manchester. The church, together with St George’s Church, TyldesleyA Waterloo church dedicated to St George completed in 1825 to serve the growing township of Tyldesley cum Shakerley. and St John’s Church, Mosley CommonAn active church in Mosley Common that was built in 1886. is part of the united benefice of Astley, Tyldesley and Mosley Common.[1][2][3]

Its origins are in Adam Mort’s Astley Chapel, a chapel of ease[a]A chapel of ease or daughter church is an additional Anglican church other than the parish church within a parish. of Leigh Parish ChurchSt Mary's Church in Leigh was the ancient parish church that served six townships. built in 1631. On 10 January 1843, the township was made into a district chapelry. The second chapel was burned in an arson attack in 1961, and the present church was built on Manchester Road.

History


The first chapel, built and paid for by Adam Mort, the wealthy owner of DamhouseDamhouse or Astley Hall is a Grade II* Listed building in Tyldesley but considered to be in Astley, Greater Manchester, England. It has served as a manor house, sanatorium, and, since restoration in 2000, houses offices, a clinic and tearooms. who died in early 1631, was consecrated on 3 August in the same year by the Bishop of Chester and dedicated to St Stephen, the first Christian martyr. It was the first chapel of ease of Leigh Parish Church. The chapel was built of local brick on part of the common. The Reverend Thomas Crompton, appointed by Thomas Mort, was the first minister in 1632.[4]

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Astley St Stephen’s Church

Mort’s chapel stood for nearly 130 years and was rebuilt after becoming dilapidated. The second, slightly larger chapel was built on the same site in 1760. Thomas Froggatt of Damhouse gave a contribution towards the cost of reconstruction. The chapel was built of handmade brick, 54 ft 6 in long and 36 ft wide, a naveCentral part of a church, used by the laiety. with four side and two end windows and a small chancel. The embattled western tower contained a single bell. The chapel could hold 170 people. It was enlarged in 1834, 1842, and 1847.[1] Its tower was built in 1842.[5]

The second chapel was destroyed by fire on 18 June 1961.[6] It was decided not to rebuild it but relocate to a site on Manchester Road. The third St Stephen’s Church was consecrated on 26 October 1968.

Clergy


Thomas Crompton, the first minister, appointed in 1632 and the son of William Crompton of Bedford in Leigh, was ejected for nonconformity. The second minister, John Battersby, was from Shakerley; both had been educated at Brasenose College, Oxford.[7]

Citations



Bibliography


anglican.org. (n.d.). DIRECTORY:GENERAL SEARCH Leigh. The Church of England Diocese of Manchester. https://web.archive.org/web/2019*/https://www.manchester.anglican.org/acny/deanery/35/
Crockford’s. (2020). Manchester. In The Church of England Yearbook (online). Crockfords. https://www.crockford.org.uk/places/13435/diocese-of-manchester
Farrer, W., & Brownbill, J. (1907). Astley. In A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (pp. 445–449). http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41365
Lewis, S. (1848). Astley. In A Topographical Dictionary of England (online, pp. 100–104). https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england/pp100-104#h3-0009
Lunn, J. (1968). A Short History of the Township of Astley. Lunn.
The C of E. (n.d.). St Stephen, Astley. The Church of England Diocese of Manchester. http://www.astleyststephen.org.uk/

Notes

^a A chapel of ease or daughter church is an additional Anglican church other than the parish church within a parish.