click to return to 
Rochdale Home & Contents

The Church of St Chad, Rochdale
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

click to return to Lancashire Home
St Chad, Rochdale
St Chad, Rochdale
This photograph is by Tim Green
available under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 3.0)

St Chad's Parish Church, Rochdale

St Chads is the Mother Church of the Parish of Rochdale. It is an ancient and handsome gothic building with a square tower. The oldest part was built in the year 1100 on land given by Adam de Spotland in order to buy his way into God's good books. A list of past incumbents inside the church tells us that Geoffrey, Dean of Whalley, was the vicar in the year 1194.

Taken from "Rochdale Past & Present, a History and Guide" by William Robertson 1876.

"The mother church of the parish is of great antiquity, and stands on a commanding eminence, the ascent to which is by a flight of 124 steps. The church was erected in the 12th century, and has undergone various changes, alterations, and renovations. The local legend is that the site of the church was, in point of fact, the place chosen by spirits and fairies for the purpose.

On several occasions, as the story relates, the materials brought together for the erection of the church, on an entirely different site, were removed from the place originally selected to the hill or eminence on which St. Chad's stands. That this removal was the work of superhuman agency, was the firm belief of our forefathers in those far-distant days; and we should be sorry to do or say anything which could in the remotest manner interfere with this time-hallowed belief, which has been handed down to us, and which, with vast numbers among us, is received with the greatest deference and respect. The site ultimately adopted, under such supernatural pressure, led, of course, to the formation of the celebrated church steps; to ascend which is always considered a necessary piece of work to be performed by all visitors to our good old town. To come to Rochdale and not mount the steps is considered a breach of good manners, as well as a serious deprivation of a very agreeable exercise. The steps, in fact, are among our most cherished possessions; and they form a most important thoroughfare, with which it would be very unwise to intermeddle to the great prejudice of the inhabitants."

 Incumbents of Rochdale        
 Geoffrey, Dean of Whalley 1194     Richard Gorstelow 1554 - 1557 
 Sir William de Dumplinton 1238     John Hampson 1557 - 1560 
 John de Blackburne 1250     ? Huntington 1560 
 Richard de Perebald 1302 - 1317     Richard Midgley 1561 - 1595 
 Thomas de Boulton 1317 - 1350     Joseph Midgley M. A., a stern puritan 1595 - 1606 
 Radulph de Dewesbury 1350 - 1361     Richard Kenyon M. A. 1606 - 1614 
 Radulph de Trumpynton 1361 - 1369     Henry Tilson M. A. 1615 - 1635 
 Roger son of William de Manchester 1369 - 1388     Robert Bath M. A. 1636 - 1662 
 John Ffithler 1388 - 1402     Henry Pigot M. A. 1662 - 1722 
 John de Salley 1402 - 1403     Samuel Dunster D. D. 1722 - 1754 
 Richard de Twysfeld 1403 - 1426     Nathaniel Forster D. D. 1754 - 1757 
 Henry Marland 1426 – 1455     James Tunstall D. D. 1757 - 1762 
 Richard Salley 1455 - 1471     Thomas Wray D. D. 1762 - 1778 
 Thomas Brotherton 1471 - 1473     Dr Robert Hind, chaplain to the Bishop of London 1778 - 1790 
 John Walton, Monk of Whalley 1473 - 1483     Thomas Drake D. D. 1790 - 1818 
 William Asheton 1483     William Robert Hay D. D. 1819 - 1839 
 Nicholas Townley, Chaplain to Henry VIII 1510     John Edward Nassau Molesworth D. D. 1839 - 1877 
 Sir Gilbert Haydock 1522     Edward Craig Maclure M. A. 1877 - 1890 
 Stephen Smith 1552 - 1554     James Maurice Wilson M. A. 1890 
Rochdale Home & Contents ©Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks

Lancashire Home