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The Church of Emmanuel, Great Bolton
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Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church

From The Bolton Journal and Guardian, Friday, November 30, 1936, reproduced here by the kind permission of the Bolton News.

In the early part of last century the rapidly-increasing population of Bolton Moor considerably exercised the minds of the leaders of the various denominations in Bolton. Canon Slade, who was Vicar of Bolton from 1817 to 1856, was one who was very anxious for the spiritual welfare of this part of the growing town.

It was not, in the 1830’s, anything like the district as we know it to-day

The houses built on the Moor a century ago were well away from the town, and green fields ran along the hillside, in fact Emmanuel was at first a suburban parish.

It was in 1836, just a century ago, that the opportunity came to Canon Slade to make a move towards the foundation of a new church. In that year subscriptions totalling over £500 were raised locally, chiefly by members of his congregation, in order to purchase a service of plate to present to him as a mark of their appreciation of his work in Bolton during the previous 19 years.

When he was asked what pieces of plate he would like he expressed the hope that the money might be “appropriated to the assistance of some charity, or the establishment of some work of public interest and utility.”

The committee responsible for raising the money agreed, and asked him to what use the money should be put. He replied that it should be used “for the erection of a church and school in such part of Bolton as may be deemed most eligible.”

The £500 was a good start, but nothing more than a start, and so Canon Slade followed up his generous action with an earnest public appeal. He wrote:- “Ten years ago Bolton contained four places of worship under the Establishment, and these were then notoriously inadequate to the spiritual wants of the place. Since that time its population has increased by many thousands, perhaps by 15,000, and is now rapidly increasing, and yet nothing has been done, nothing has been begun, nothing appears to have been thought of in order to supply the appalling deficiency.”

Bolton Moor was chosen as the site of the new church and schools, and the corner-stone of the church was laid on November 22nd, 1837, by Canon Slade, who dedicated the church to Emmanuel, after his own college. The balance of the cost of £2,200 was raised by general subscription, the amount of the original endowment being £1,000.

The residents of Bolton Moor at that time were, in the main, handloom weavers. living some distance from a place of worship. Each year more houses were springing up and the need for a place of worship was becoming increasingly apparent.

Mr. James Scowcroft provided the site and the church was built in the perpendicular Gothic style of free-stone. The tower is narrow and open, surmounted by a spire. The church has five windows on each side, and nearby is a commodious vicarage.

The church and burial ground were consecrated on June 28th, 1839, by Dr. Sumner, Bishop of Chester, the Manchester diocese not having been formed.

Since then various alterations have taken place. The chancel was enlarged shortly after the Rev. J.W. Cundey’s appointment as vicar in 1887. An organ chamber was added in 1889, and later still a new vestry for the choir, new choir stalls, and a new organ were provided.

These alterations were part of a jubilee celebration and were carried out at a cost of £1,050, and in addition the old box pews were taken out and replaced by modern pews. The organ was also taken down from the gallery on the completion of the chamber.

Gifts made to the church at this time included a new communion table from Mrs. Moore and family, and a font from Mr. James Chorlton, a former warden.

The church contains several beautiful stained-glass windows.

The Saviour’s Church is a daughter church of Emmanuel.

Since 1839 there have been nine vicars of Emmanuel Church, the present vicar being the Rev. W.E.A. Harris, M.A., who was appointed in 1921.

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