Christ Church, Todmorden

Christ Church, Todmorden is Todmorden's second parish church, after St Mary's.

The Church was built by Lewis Vulliamy under the Million Pound Act. The original cost was £4,000.

The foundation stone was laid at Whitsuntide, 6th June 1830. During the ceremony, a rope broke and the stone swung, injuring a spectator and the drummer of the band, William Midgley, breaking his leg.

The Church opened 15th April 1832.

The burial ground opened in 1824 and there was a sacristy at the burial ground.

In Well Lane, there is a stone fixed to the wall of the Churchyard which reads

Yorkshire & Lancashire parteth here

Details can be found in the National Pipe Organ Register, and details in National Pipe Organ Register, and in National Pipe Organ Register.

The organ and pews were moved from St Mary's – which then closed – and installed in the new Church. It accommodated around 1,230 worshippers [1861].

A new clock and bell were installed by Thomas Mears [1837].

A further 11 bells – eight ringing bells and three chimes – were given by Hannah Howorth and made by Taylor of Loughborough in 1897. The bells are inscribed

  1. To God the Father - the bell weighs 6 cwt 0 qtrs 22 lbs
  2. To God and Son - the bell weighs 6 cwt 2 qtrs 8 lbs
  3. To God and Spirit - the bell weighs 7 cwt 3 qtrs 12 lbs
  4. Three in One - the bell weighs 8 cwt 3 qtrs 0 lbs
  5. Be honour, praise - the bell weighs 10 cwt 3 qtrs 16 lbs
  6. And glory given - the bell weighs 13 cwt 2 qtrs 6 lbs
  7. By all in Earth – the names of Edward J. Russell, Arthur S. Roberts, Samuel Fielden [warden], W. A. Sutcliffe [warden], Caleb Hoyle - the bell weighs 17 cwt 0 qtrs 24 lbs
  8. And all in Heaven – this peal of eleven bells was presented to Todmorden Parish Church by Miss Hannah Howorth of Brocklyn House, in memory of her brothers and sisters deceased, in the year of our Lord 1897, being the 60th year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria - the bell weighs 23 cwt 1 qtrs 13 lbs
  9. A Latin inscription
  10. A Latin inscription
  11. A Latin inscription

The old bell was fixed stationary.

On 30th October 1850, the first service by gas-light was held.

Around 1835, there was a blunder – made by the Vicar of Rochdale – when no vicar was presented to the Church. The Vicar of Rochdale is reported as having let the Church go to decay and of nominating his curate to the chapel of ease. Around 1854, the parishioners repaired the Church, provided a Sunday School. Services given were by a layman who

read without surplice and preached without gown

In a letter to The Times [10th November 1865], Thomas Fielden of Dobroyd wrote

[For 30 years] the people have gone astray like lost sheep. Numbers are grown up unbaptised. Many live together without marriage. The established Church is nearly forgotten there, and dissent, chiefly Unitarianism, is the chief religion of the place. I trust ... that you will expose this scandal to the public

At that time, the local Court House was used as Church and school room. See Rev Plow.

In July 1855, the Christ Church (Todmorden) Marriages Validity Bill was passed by Parliament.

A stained glass window in memory of the murdered Rev Plow was installed in the Church [1868].

On 11th November 1875, a new organ, built by Gray & Davison of London, was used for the first time. In June 1876, John Fielden cleared the debt of over £76 on the organ.

The original Church had a small square east end. The chancel was added in 1886.

This was Todmorden Parish Church until it closed in 1992 when St Mary's was re-dedicated.

The bells were moved to St Lawrence's church in Towcester, Northamptonshire.

The Church was disused for some time.

The Church was bought [2004] and has been converted into a private house.

The records for the Church are held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service office in Wakefield (Collection WDP46): Baptisms [1675-1979], Banns [1821-1940], Marriages [1669-1979] and Burials [1666-1969].

A list of some of the Vicars of Todmorden is given in a separate Foldout

See Christ Church, Todmorden: Graveyard, Christ Church, Todmorden: War Memorial, Todmorden Burial Ground, Todmorden Vicarage, The Vicarage murder and William A. Wrigley

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 18:25 / 13th April 2021 / 8401

Page Ref: QQ_20

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