Consecration of St James Church
A local news story
The Bolton Evening News of the 22nd April 1881 carried the full story of the consecration service of the church at Daisy Hill which began at 11.45 a.m. Before that time Bishop and clergy assembled in the vestry. From there they proceeded “to the principal entrance of the sacred edifice”, where they were
met by the Rev. K. Jacques and the Rev. H.H. Oliver. Mr. Jacques presented the petition for consecration to the Bishop who said that he had read it and with pleasure acceded to it. The procession then moved into the church.
Among the clergy were former clergy of Westhoughton, the Vicars of Deane and Leigh, and the Vicar of Atherton. The Bishop was accompanied by the Rev. Archdeacon Anson, The Rev. Canon Powell, and his secretary. Among the congregation were Mrs Makant and Miss Haddock, the donors of the church.
Galatians 5. 13
The Bishop took for his text Galatians 5. 13.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an
opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another”
He said that they were met for the solemn purpose of consecrating a new church for the service of God and in time, when the district had been legally added to it, it would be an additional unit of the parochial system of the Church of England. (At the time of consecration the parish had not been legally established). In the new parish the parishioners would have all the rights the law of England assigned to them. The church had been founded at the joint cost of two Christian ladies upon whom that district had no particular claim by virtue of their having any large property in it, but they had an attachment to the place because it was where they were born. He was glad that the seats in
the church were to be free for ever.
Designed by Paley & Austin, a Lancashire architectural firm.
The completion of the building had been delayed by various causes. The following description appeared in the April 1881 issue of the Westhoughton Parish magazine: - “The style of architecture adopted is what is known as ‘Flowing decorated or curvilinear’. The nave is 28 feet wide and 79 feet long; and the chancel is 25 feet wide and 38 feet long; the nave and chancel are under one roof, divided by a chancel arch on the north side. Opposite the choir seats is an organ transept, and to the west of this is an aisle 18 feet square, seated with children’s seats and having a separate entrance. To the east of the transept is the vestry. The porch is at the south-west angle. Attached to the south side, opposite the choir stalls, is a bell turret, built of brick, and 80 feet high, for three bells under arches. The chancel is built and faced inside and out with local red brick; and the tracery of the windows, doorways, arches etc. has been worked out in moulded brick and terra cotta, from the works of Mr. J.C. Edwards of Ruabon. The west gable, above the large west window, is filled with terra cotta panelled work. The roofs and ceilings are of pitch pine covered with Coniston green slate. The nave seats are of pitch pine and the
pulpit and chancel fittings are of oak. The total length of the building is 124 feet and there is accommodation for 410 worshippers.
...from the very beginning, St James Church was a gift from the community.
The total cost of the structure, including the site, has been about £6,000: and judging from its comely proportions, its excellent acoustic properties, and its thoroughly handsome appearance, the money expended has been well laid out. The books for the pulpit have been given by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; the alms dish by Mrs. Jacques, wife of the vicar of Westhoughton; the font by Mr. Peter Bowden (a local farmer); and a baptismal shell by the vicar’s children. The bell at present hanging in the turret was brought from the Old Parish Church when the new peal of bells, given by the late Mr. Richard Haddock, were fixed. A harmonium, the gift of the late Miss Haddock, is at present being used until an organ can be furnished.” Miss Haddock had also given Communion plate. Among subscriptions to the Endowment Fund was a gift of £200 from Lord Lilford, £100 from Henry Rawcliffe of Euxton Hall, £20 from the Bishop of Manchester and £5 from Canon Powell, Vicar of Bolton. Also included in the Endowment Fund was the collection of £25 from the stone-laying ceremony.
The church site covers 2,570 square yards, and the patronage of the living after the deaths of Mrs. Makant and Miss Haddock, would be vested in the Bishop of the diocese. Immediately after the consecration, the Bishop and clergy together with a numerous company, were entertained to luncheon in the schoolroom. After a most substantial repast the usual toasts were honoured