published 1907 by Coultas & Volans,York
by courtesy of Oldham Public Library
Shaw Chapel was founded as a chapel of ease within the parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham. Originally in the Diocese of Litchfield, it became part of the Diocese of Chester in 1541 and part of Manchester in 1847.The closest parish church was in Oldham about 3 miles walk away.
Shaw Chapel is first mentioned in 1534 when Laurence Hall was Curate .Tradition says that the first church was built of wood and was known as St. Patrick’s on the Moor, although St. Petroc (St Peter) was more likely the Patron Saint. The chapel was described as being in the middle of Shaw Moor, not a single habitation being near it.
In 1552, to raise money, King Edward VI confiscated churches and their property for the Crown. The people of Crompton paid 13s 4d for their church and 6s 8d for the one vestment, one little chalice and one little bell.
In 1646, during the Civil War the estate of Edmund Ashton of Chadderton, a Royalist, was confiscated and he was ordered to pay £40 per annum towards the support of a preacher at Shaw. However the incumbent, Robert Symonds would not support the new Presbyterian Beliefs and did not receive his stipend. By 1650 the Commonwealth Commissioners reported that there ought to be a Parish church in Shaw but as the chapel curate was not receiving his £40 from Oldham church “for the space of 3 Sabbath dayes last, the Cure hath beene done by such as the inhabitants did provyde and for the present time there is noe minister.”
Shaw Parish Registers commence in 1704. Local people used the chapel for Baptisms and Burials .For Marriages a certificate from either Oldham(3 miles) away or Prestwich (10+ miles) was required .A considerable distance on foot both for the Banns and the Marriage.
By 1739, the chapel was inadequate for the growing population and a new stone chapel costing £1100 was built. At the time a skilled worker earned 1 shilling a day (£1= 20 shillings), so this was a considerable sum for a small community. To raise money, Briefs or King’s Letters were issued to authorise collections to be made at other churches. Prestwich collected £7 10s in1735 and Milnrow Chapel raised 7s 10d.
By 1778, the new chapel had serious structural defects. “On Trinity Sunday 1791, Mr. Mashiter durst not preach for fear of the chapel falling.” A new restored and enlarged chapel was reopened in 1800.This was used until the present church; Holy Trinity was built in 1870.
In 1826, a poll was taken in Oldham and its townships about the rebuilding of Oldham Parish Church. Nobody in Crompton or Shaw voted in favour of rebuilding and the residents refused to pay the rate levied for the new Oldham church. In 1835, the township of Crompton was freed from its obligations to Oldham and Prestwich churches and a separate parish was created. This parish was the Old Shaw Parish but the township was Crompton.
East Crompton parish was formed in 1845(St James CE built in 1847) and High Crompton Parish was formed in 1878 (St. Marys CE built in 1880).
A new church was built next to the old Shaw chapel. This present church building dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity was consecrated on Monday 5 June 1871 by James Lord Bishop of Manchester For more information see Holy Trinity.
By the end of the 19th Century, Shaw had 6 Methodist chapels ,2 Congregationalist churches and St Joseph’s RC. The Turf Lane Society of Friends had been founded in 1784.