Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Annals of Hyde: St George's Church


These images are from The Annals of Hyde.

The Annals of Hyde tells us
Prior to 1831, the Church of England had no place of worship in the township, and for ecclesiastical purposes Hyde was connected with the Parish Church of Stockport, which place many of the inhabitants attended. Others worshipped at Mottram, or at Denton Old Church ... But the rapid increase of the population of Hyde (owing to the spread of the cotton industry), and the long hours that the people had to work, caused the need of a church within the township to become apparent. The matter was taken up by (among others) Captain Clarke, who obtained the gift of a site from his half-brother, George Clarke, and eventually St. George's Church was built.

The erection of this spacious building was commenced in 1831, the foundation stone being laid on May 28th of that year, by Captain Hyde John Clarke, J.P. The cost, about £5,000, was chiefly guaranteed by the Church Building Commissioners.

The building was consecrated on October 20th, 1832, by the Rt. Rev. John Bird Sumner, D.D., Lord Bishop of Chester, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. The church is a plain substantial stone erection in the perpendicular style, consisting of a tower, a wide nave, and a small chancel. The tower which is lofty and square, surmounted by pinnacles with floreated finials, commands a fine view of the surrounding country. It contains a clock and a peal of eight bells the latter inscribed with the names of the gentlemen who contributed to the cost.

The first peal was rung on the 20th of March, 1853, by the ringers from Mottram Parish Church. Since that time the ringers of St. George's have distinguished themselves in various parts of the country, and have been awarded many prizes for
their skill in this department.

The interior of the church (which is galleried all round), underwent renovation some years ago, and is now calculated to seat above 1,200 persons, the whole of the sittings being free. The large east window of stained glass is a fine piece of workman-ship, and was the gift of John Sidebotham, Esq., J.P., of Kingston.

A large memorial window on the western side was inserted by Mrs. Horsfield, of the Longlands, in memory of her son, and on the north and south sides most of the original windows have been replaced by panes of stained glass in commemoration of departed parishioners. The edifice also contains tablets to the memory of the Rev. Alexander Read and the Rev. Herbert Alkin, former vicars, and one perpetuating the labours of Richard Gilbody and George Middleton, two workers in the Sunday Schools.

In the main entrance of the church, beneath the tower, is the family vault of the Clarke's descendants of the ancient lords of Hyde and there sleeps Captain Hyde John Clarke, who for many years was the chief figure in this part of the country.

St. George's was first formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1843.

See how the church looks today on Hyde Daily Photo.

4 comments:

  1. Seating for 1200 ... *chuckle* ... probably only need seating for 30 odd nowadays.

    How was the name St George chosen for this church, Gerald? I guess how is ANY name chosen for a church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why the name - it no longer has a gallery but there is seating for a heck of a lot more than 30 and it has a large regular congregation attending.

      Delete
  2. I suppose the name St George would elicit the least number of arguments.

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  3. The absence of a parish church helps to explain the strength of the dissenting tradition in Hyde. James Brooks who had something like a fifty year incumbency at the dissenting chapel in the early nineteenth century and incidentally baptized my ancestors was reputed to preach to thousands at the time of Peterloo. At least in some cases it is fair to assume that opting for baptism at the dissenting chapel was as much a matter of proximity and convenience as a commitment to dissent.

    ReplyDelete

Sorry about having to keep captchas on my blogs but I took them off and got inundated with spam - I appreciate your efforts to comment despite the hurdle.

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