The Parish of Daisy Hill is formed
First baptism and marriage services in the new church
The Rev. H.H. Oliver had the first charge of the new church and the first baptisms were recorded in the Westhoughton magazine of May 1882:-
Feb. 19 Ellen, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ellen Winward
Feb 23 Joseph. son of Charles and Catherine Hobbs
Apr. 2 Eliza, daughter of John and Ann Gregory
The first marriage recorded in the January 1883 magazine was that of James Reeve to Mary Ann Gill which took place on the 31st December 1882.
In the same issue of the magazine the Editor was bewailing the fact that “with the exception of the Cricket Field there is no place of amusement in Daisy Hill except in connection with the public houses, so that all who feel an interest in the young men at Daisy Hill must see how very desirable it is that there should be some place of recreation where they may be safe from many of the temptations that lead so many young people wrong”.
The annual tea parties were still a feature of life in the village but by the end of 1882 the system of borrowing pots for the parties gave cause for complaint and it was suggested that crockery should be bought and kept for the parties. One or two subscriptions had been promised and it was thought desirable that the money required should be raised by subscription or an entertainment.
The organ is installed
A beautiful organ was presented to the church by Mrs. Makant and Miss Haddock and used for service on Sunday, 18th November 1883. The case is of pitch pine “being very choice with spotted metal front pipes, and of a beautiful design.”
The following year more improvements were made in the school, again thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Makant and Miss Haddock. The old class room was pulled down and replaced by two rooms each of which was nearly three times the size of the old one. The lower room was built for an Infant School room and the upper room made into a working men’s club. The club was managed by a committee and provided all kinds of games, as well as books, periodicals and newspapers. The club with its 116 members was under the management of the committee which had power without any notice to expel any member guilty of gambling, swearing or any disorderly conduct.
Parish of Daisy Hill inaugurated by an Order in Council of Her Majesty Queen Victoria
The most important event of 1884 must have been the inauguration of Daisy Hill as a parish by an Order in Council of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The churchyard was then opened for burials in 1889, the first interment being that of a seven-year-old child, Sarah Cowburn. The stained glass window at the East End was designed by the artist Burne-Jones, installed in memory of the Haddock family and dedicated in the Diamond Jubilee year of 1897. The reredos given in 1923 in memory of Thomas and Elizabeth Welch was designed by the church architects, Austen and Paley, and it is believed the carving was carried out in Hinkley in Leicestershire. The font was given by Mr. Peter Bowden, a friend of the Haddock family and the brass lectern was a gift from the Welch family.
First Vicar of Daisy Hill: Revd Henry Huntley Oliver
The first Vicar of the parish was Henry Huntley Oliver who had been entrusted with the charge of Daisy Hill while he was still a curate of Westhoughton Parish Church. He remained here until he resigned on the 25th January 1911 because of ill-health. He died quite suddenly in York only eight months later and was buried in Daisy Hill churchyard on the 27th September 1911. He was a dedicated parish priest, giving his whole ministry to the people of this small parish and he left behind him a well-organised parish, with Day and Sunday school in good condition and a large Bible class for men. His memorial takes the form of a marble tablet depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd on the north wall of the chancel.
St James Church: sustained by gifts from the community
The communion rails were erected in 1975 in memory of the Rev. Frederick Taylor and are the work of Mr. Harry Green of Westhoughton, as are the choir stalls installed in memory of James Crompton and his mother. Their memorial also includes the rebuilding of the organ. The stained glass window in the north transept is the work of Mrs. Norris of Bolton and was installed in memory of George Henry Ogden, Vicar of the parish from 1921-1943. Early in the incumbency of William Twidell the church was carpeted throughout by an anonymous donor.
In recent years the parish has expanded considerably with much building on several sites, all beyon the imagination of the founders and benefactors of the parish.