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'Townships: Gorton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 275-279. URL: Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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Gorton, 1282 (copy), and usually; Goreton, c. 1450. (fn. 1)

This township (fn. 2) lies to the north and south of Gore or Rush Brook, which flows west to the Mersey. The boundary on the west is irregular, Kirkmanshulme, a detached portion of Newton, lying on that side, with a small detached triangle of Gorton to the west of it. There is evidence that the Stockport Road, on the line of the old Roman road from Stockport to Manchester, was not taken as the western boundary till the 17th century, the portions known as Grindlow Marsh and Midway, lying to the north and south of Kirkmanshulme, having been considered as within Rusholme. (fn. 3) The southern boundary is defined by the ancient Nico Ditch. (fn. 4) Fifty years ago there were four hamlets in the township—Gorton village in the centre, Abbey Hey (fn. 5) to the east, Gorton Brook or 'Bottom of Gorton' to the north-west, and Longsight; the last name seems to belong properly to the small detached triangle already mentioned, but is popularly used for the surrounding district. (fn. 6) The surface is comparatively level, rising a little towards the east. The area is 1,484½ acres.

The principal road through Gorton is that from Manchester to Hyde; almost the whole township to the north of this has become urban, and there are many streets and cross roads. A branch of the Great Central Railway runs along the northern boundary and has a station called Gorton, 1842–8. A branch line going south-east crosses the western part of the township, with a station called Belle Vue, while another branch passes south through the eastern part and has a station called Hyde Road. The Manchester and Stockport Canal goes south through the centre of the township.

On the south-eastern boundary is a large reservoir of the Manchester Waterworks.

The government of the township was formerly vested in the constables appointed at a town's meeting and confirmed by the Manchester Court Leet. (fn. 7) A local board was constituted in 1863. (fn. 8) About a fifth of the township was incorporated in the city of Manchester in 1890, under the name of West Gorton; this portion in 1896 became part of the new township of South Manchester. The remainder, known as Gorton, (fn. 9) is governed by an urban district council of fifteen members. An agreement has now (1908) been made for its incorporation in Manchester. The population of this part numbered 26,564 in 1901. The place gives a name to one of the county Parliamentary divisions.

In 1666 there were forty-four hearths in all contributing to the tax; none of the houses had as many as six hearths liable. (fn. 10) The Maidens' Bridge replaced stepping stones over the brook on the road from Gorton to Denton in 1737. (fn. 11) Longsight or Rushford Bridge, over Gore Brook, was built in 1751. (fn. 12) The stocks were erected in 1743. (fn. 13) Some amusing stories are told of the conduct of the people in 1745. (fn. 14) A case of body-snatching occurred in 1831. (fn. 15) There were formerly several places reputed haunted. (fn. 16) The township was famous for its bull-dogs. (fn. 17)

The annual rush-bearing took place on the Friday before the first Sunday in September; the rush cart was accompanied by morris dancers in its tour of the village. The event was usually celebrated by the baiting of bulls, bears, and badgers. (fn. 18) Horse-races were established in 1844, (fn. 19) but have now ceased.

Bleaching was carried on in the early years of the 18th century. (fn. 20) Power-loom weaving was about to be introduced in 1790 (fn. 21) ; the Gorton cotton mills were started in 1824, and after a failure were restarted in 1844. (fn. 22) There are now a cotton factory, chemical works, iron works, and tanyard.

There was an old custom, discontinued in 1841, of 'giving an heraldic peal or ring on the bell at the conclusion of divine service.' (fn. 23)


Though a manor of GORTON is named in the 17th century the term seems to have been used improperly. In 1282 the place was held in bondage of the lord of Manchester, being assessed as sixteen oxgangs of land and paying 64s. rent; a plat called the Hall land paid 20s. a year; and the mill 26s. 8d. (fn. 24) A more detailed account is given in the survey of 1320, according to which Henry the Reeve, a 'native,' held a messuage and an oxgang of land in villeinage, paying 8s. 4d. rent; he ploughed one day for the lord, receiving a meal and 2d. as wages; harrowed one day, receiving a meal and 1d. wages, or for half a day without the meal; reaped one day in the autumn, receiving a meal and 1d.; and carried the lord's corn one day, having a meal and 2d. wages. He and all others owing suit to the mill at Gorton were bound to quarry millstones and take them to the mill, for each pair of stones receiving 4d. for loading them and 3s. for the carriage. He paid a fine on his daughter's marriage, and on his sons being placed at a free handicraft. On his death a third of his goods went to the lord, and the remainder to his widow and son; if either the widow or the son were dead, half went to the lord; if he left neither widow nor son the lord took the whole; a posthumous son or daughter must make a special agreement as to succession. He had to carry as far as Chesterfield. Five other tenants are named. (fn. 25)

By one of the lords of Manchester Gorton seems to have been granted or leased to the Booths, for in 1433 Sir Robert Booth and Douce his wife enfeoffed Sir John Byron and William Booth, clerk, of his lands in the hamlets of Gorton, &c., described in a fine as twenty-four messuages, 500 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, and 500 acres of pasture, also 2s. 6d. rent, in Manchester. (fn. 26) In 1473 John Byron held the vill of Gorton with the appurtenances, paying a rent of £30 11s. to the lord of Manchester. (fn. 27) It descended like Clayton till 1612–13, when the manor of Gorton with messuages, lands, water-mill, and horse-mill in Gorton, &c., appears to have been sold by Sir John Byron and the trustees to the tenants. (fn. 28) Thirty-three of the purchasers were in 1614 summoned to pay their shares of the rent of £30 11s. due to the lord of Manchester; (fn. 29) it was agreed to levy it at the rate of 9d. for each Lancashire acre, the estates called Grindlow Marsh and Midway being exempt. (fn. 30)

The township having thus been parted among a large number of proprietors it becomes impossible to give their history in detail. (fn. 31) Among the new owners were some bearing the local name. (fn. 32) One of the family, Samuel Gorton, went to America in the 17th century and founded a religious sect there, which died out about 1770. (fn. 33)

Among the earliest landowners recorded was Adam the Ward of Sharples. (fn. 34) An estate called the Forty Acres was long held by one of the Bamford families. (fn. 35) Catsknoll was at one time owned by the Levers of Alkrington. (fn. 36) The Taylors of Gorton were benefactors. (fn. 37)

At GREENLOW, or Grindlow, Marsh or Cross appears to have been the land called Withacre or Whitacre, granted by Albert Grelley to the abbey of Swineshead in alms about 1160. (fn. 38) In the 16th century it was held by the Strangeways family, (fn. 39) and remained an integral part of their estate. (fn. 40) There was in 1322 a considerable amount of land in that part of the township in the possession of the lord. (fn. 41) It was in 1609 decided that Greenlow Marsh lay in Gorton and not in Chorlton or Greenlow Heath. (fn. 42) An ancient chantry endowment was situated at the same place. (fn. 43)

From the land tax returns of 1787 (fn. 44) it appears that the most considerable owners were:—Richard Gorton, paying about a sixth of the tax, Robert Grimshaw, John Hague's heirs, and Richard Clowes.


The origin of ST. JAMES'S CHAPEL is unknown. It existed in 1562, when Ambrose Beswick bequeathed 3s. 4d. to the chapel reeves. (fn. 45) It was probably used for service, a lay 'reader' being employed, (fn. 46) and one of the fellows of Manchester preaching occasionally. There was no endowment, but the people seem to have contributed according to an assessment. (fn. 47) Ministers and people were Puritan, and in 1634 it was stated that the surplice had never been used. (fn. 48) The minister had an endowment of 26s. 8d. in 1650, besides the voluntary offerings; (fn. 49) but changes were frequent. (fn. 50) The minister in charge in 1662, William Leigh, is said to have been ejected; but the chapel appears to have been used indifferently by Episcopalians and Presbyterians for some time afterwards. (fn. 51) A library was given by Humphrey Chetham. (fn. 52) In 1706 the fixed revenue was £8 15s. and the contributions about £18; at that time a quarter of the population was avowedly Nonconformist. (fn. 53) In 1755 the chapel was rebuilt, (fn. 54) and again in 1871. A district chapelry was assigned to it in 1839. (fn. 55) The registers date from 1570. The monumental inscriptions are copied in the Owen MSS. The Dean and Canons of Manchester present the incumbents, who are styled rectors. The following is a list:—

1671 Robert Dewhurst (fn. 56)
Joshua Wakefield, (fn. 57) M.A. (Queens' College, Cambridge)
1704 John Harpur, B.A. (Brasenose College, Oxford; Jesus College, Cambridge)
1715 William Burkitt (fn. 58)
1764 John Whittingham, B.A. (fn. 59) (St. Edmund Hall, Oxford)
1801 John Darby, M.A. (fn. 60) (Corpus Christi College, Oxford)
1808 James Gatcliff (fn. 61)
1831 Richard Basnett, M.A. (Trinity College, Oxford)
1864 George Philpot, M.A. (Caius College, Cambridge)
1902 John Worsley Cundey, M.A. (Magdalen College, Oxford)

More recently other churches have been added: St. Mark's, 1865; (fn. 62) and All Saints', West Gorton, 1879; (fn. 63) the rectors are collated by the Bishop of Manchester. St. George's, Abbey Hey, was consecrated in 1903; and the district of St. Philip's has been formed, but no church has yet been built; the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester present alternately. At Longsight St. Clement's was consecrated in 1876; (fn. 64) the patronage is vested in trustees.

A school existed in 1716. (fn. 65)

Methodism appeared in the township about the end of the 18th century; a school chapel at Brooke's Green was built in 1809. (fn. 66) The Wesleyans now have churches at Gorton, Hyde Road, and Longsight; the Primitive Methodists two, at Gorton Brook and Belle Vue; and the United Free Church one.

The Baptists have three churches. The Particular Baptists had a school in Gorton as early as 1828. (fn. 67) The Congregationalists have churches at Gorton (fn. 68) and Longsight. The latter began as a Sunday school in 1834; the present chapel was opened in 1842 on land purchased from Lord Ducie. (fn. 69) The Salvation Army has meeting-places at Gorton and Longsight. At Longsight there is also a Presbyterian Church of England, founded in 1871.

The Unitarians have two places of worship at Brookfield, Gorton, and at Longsight. The former represents the old Protestant Dissenters' chapel, built in 1703 and now taken down; (fn. 70) the congregation became Unitarian about a century later. The present church was built in 1871. (fn. 71)

The Roman Catholic mission of St. Francis of Assisi, West Gorton, was opened in 1872. It is in charge of the Franciscans, whose monastery adjoins it. The church of the Sacred Heart was opened in 1901. (fn. 72)


1 Out of Gore-ton and Red-ditch, with the help of the intervening Nico Ditch, popular fancy has made the story of a great battle in the neighbourhood; Harland and Wilkinson, Traditions of Lancs. 26.
2 In 1852 John Higson published the Gorton Hist. Recorder, containing a full account of the state of the township, with numerous memoranda of the events and families connected with it. The author (1825 to 1871) was born at Yew Tree Farm in the north of the township; an account of him and his family is given in Crofton, Newton Chap. (Chet. Soc.), i, 4.
3 See the boundary settlement quoted within.
4 See V.C.H. Lancs. ii, 554.
5 The origin of this name is unknown; it will be seen that Abbey was a surname in Gorton in 1320.
6 'Longsight' may mean the 'long shot' (Mr. Crofton), or a place giving a distant view along the straight road from Manchester to Stockport; Manch. Guard. N. and Q. no. 189, 425.
7 Constables are known to have been appointed in 1623; Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. iii, 74.
8 Lond. Gaz. 16 Oct. 1863.
9 It has an area of 1,147 acres, including 45 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
10 Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9.
11 Higson, Gorton Rec. 87; the bridge was widened in 1810.
12 Ibid. 95.
13 Ibid. 89; their position was changed several times.
14 Ibid. 90–3. The Pretender's army passed through Longsight on its way to and from Derby.
15 Ibid. 169.
16 Ibid. 16, 116.
17 Ibid. 148.
18 Ibid. 131, 165; a description of the rush-bearing in 1874 is given in Manch. Guard. N. and Q. no. 456.
19 Higson, op. cit. 192.
20 Ibid. 82. The people of the district combined the labours of tilling the land, weaving at home, and bleaching in the 'crofts.'
21 Ibid. 119; this first attempt was abortive, owing to intimidation.
22 Ibid. 156, 192.
23 Ibid. 187.
24 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 245.
25 Mamecestre (Chet. Soc), ii, 279, 280. The other five were Geoffrey del Abbey, Thomas del Ollers, Hugh del Abbey, Emma the widow, and Hugh son of Richard. Each held a messuage and an oxgang of land, except the last, who held only half an oxgang; the rents varied from 4s. 5d. up to 13s. 4d.
The tenants who held for a term of years, who were not free, were subject to the same customs as the natives; ibid. ii, 281.
The mill of Gorton, on Gore Brook. was worth 40s. a year; all the tenants of the hamlet were bound to grind there to the sixteenth measure; ibid. ii, 282. The right of fishing in Gore Brook belonged to the lord; ibid.
The tenants had the right to get turves in Openshaw; ibid. ii, 291.
A small piece of land on Gorton Green was by Thomas La Warre given to the college he founded at Manchester; it appears to have been the site of a tithe barn; Higson, Gorton Recorder, 48, 218, 219; Hibbert-Ware, Manch. Foundations, i, 38.
26 Byron Chartul. (Towneley MS.), no. 34/281, 28/284.
27 Mamecestre, iii, 484. Lands in Gorton were among those held in 1489 by Sir John Byron by knight's service and a yearly rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 48.
The rent of £30 11s. appears in the inquisition after the death of Sir Nicholas Mosley as due to him from lands in Gorton and Greenlow or Grindlow Marsh, lately held by Sir John Byron; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 4.
28 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 81, no. 57.
Various documents from the town's chest are printed in Higson's Gorton Recorder. In 1581 there was a surrender by forty-nine tenants, whose names are given; op. cit. 213. In 1608 there was another surrender by twenty-seven tenants for lives; ibid. 56, followed by the agreement for the fine above cited, in which the plaintiffs were James Chetham, Oswald Mosley, and Edward Blacklock, perhaps acting for the numerous purchasers.
29 Ibid. 213, 57, 58. Rowland Mosley of the Hough, as lord of Manchester, was the plaintiff. The tenants again refused to pay in 1650, 1657, 1666, and 1675, but judgement was given in favour of the lord.
30 Ibid. 134.
31 In the grant of a cottage on Greenlow Marsh in 1708 for the use of the poor the following signed as 'the freeholders, charterers, and proprietors of the waste lands in Gorton': Samuel Worthington, Gerard Jackson, Ralph Shelmerdine, Robert Andrew, James Taylor, John Corfe, John Graver, and Richard Taylor.
Edward Siddall purchased 17 acres in Gorton from John Byron in 1571; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 33, m. 163. The land was at Longsight; Higson, op. cit. 54, 58.
Nicholas Peake, who died in March 1625–6, held a messuage, &c. in Gorton. He left a widow Isabel, and his heir was his brother John, forty years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxv, 42.
Roger Unsworth, who died in 1638, held land in Gorton of Nicholas Mosley as of his manor of Manchester; Roger his son and heir was thirty-nine years of age; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 1288.
No landowners are mentioned in the Subsidy Roll of 1541, nor in that of 1622, although by the latter year Gorton had become a separate township; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 139, 150. Thomas Pyecroft of Gorton was a freeholder in 1600; ibid. i, 249.
A family named Asmall or Aspinal appear to have held the Green and Greenhead in the 17th century; these passed to the Travis family, who also held lands called the Alderstone, Debdale Clough, Chew, Redlache, &c.; Mr. Earwaker's notes and Higson, op. cit. 83.
The Hultons of Farnworth and Nuttalls of Blackley held lands in Gorton; Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. i, 33; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 176.
Some other landowners named in Higson's work are Samuel Harmer, 1685 (p. 76); Kenyon, 1786 (p. 115); Woodiwiss, 1830 (p. 167), and Clowes. 'William and Thomas Clowes, merchants of Manchester, became possessed of large estates in Manchester, Cheetham, Gorton, and Droylsden, by marriage with Elizabeth and Margaret Nield, only daughters and co-heiresses of Miles Nield, merchant and chapman of Manchester,' in 1738; ibid. 218; (bis); see also 85, 203.
32 William and Nicholas Gorton are named in 1614; ibid. 213. William Gorton died in 1618, holding a messuage and land of the king by knight's service; Francis his son and heir was fifteen years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 175.
John Gorton, said to have come from the Fylde, purchased the Gorton Hall estate early in the 18th century; Higson, op. cit.
33 Ibid. 214; Dict. Nat. Biog.
34 He complained in 1369 that certain persons had broken into his close at Gorton and had ill-treated his servant; Coram Rege R. 434, m. 7.
35 It is described as 'in Rusholme' in 1473 when Bertin Bamford was the holder; he paid a rent of 12d. to the lord of Manchester; Mamecestre, iii, 482. John Bamford, who died in 1558, held the Forty Acres in Gorton of the executors of Lord La Warre in socage, by 12d. rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, 61, 38. His daughter and heir, Anne Dukinfield, died in possession in 1619, leaving Thomas Birch as her grandson and next heir, a minor; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 178. The Birches still held an estate in Gorton in 1726, as appears by the land tax returns. George Birch of Gorton in 1770 made a new road, now called Gorton Lane; he owned the land through which it passed and the Gorton Brook estate; Higson, op. cit. 105. The latter estate was sold in lots in 1851; ibid. 212.
36 Ibid. 110. Part of Catsknoll was in 1777 owned by John Hague; ibid. 109. All or most of the estate came into the hands of John White of Park Hall, Derbyshire, who was in 1850 the largest landowner in the township; ibid. 95, 160.
37 James Taylor and James his son are mentioned in a plea of 1676; Exch. Dep. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 53. Samuel Taylor, webster, was bound to Thomas Taylor in 1653; and in 1693 Hannah Taylor leased a messuage in Gorton to Richard her son and James her grandson; Mr. Earwaker's notes.
Sarah Taylor was a benefactor in 1680; Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 89. See her will in Higson, op. cit. 74.
38 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 58, 59; from the charter there printed it appears that Ralph Grelley had held the land, and that a Richard de More and his heirs were to hold it of the abbey at a rent of 12d. The land was held by the abbey in 1320; Mamecestre, ii, 274. A rent of 2s. due to the abbey from Manchester was by Henry VIII granted to Harold Rosell; Pat. 31 Hen. VIII, pt. 3.
The identification of Withacre with Grindlow Marsh rests on the facts that a Withacre certainly existed close by (see the account of Chorlton-upon-Medlock), that the abbey had land in 'Rusholme' (see next note), and that Grindlow Marsh was free from the rent due to the lord of Manchester.
39 Thomas Strangeways of Strangeways (see Cheetham) died in 1590, holding land in Rusholme which had belonged to the dissolved monastery of Swineshead in socage by a rent of a pair of gloves; Manch. Collectanea (Chet. Soc.), ii, 142.
Thomas Strangeways, described as 'of Gorton,' was an elder of the Manchester Classis in 1646; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1868), i, 226.
40 Higson states that the Reynolds of Strangeways held Greenlow Marsh; Gorton Recorder, 107, 114. Lord Ducie held land in 1787; Land Tax Ret.
41 Heath land of 223 acres, worth 113s., was held; 14 acres were let at 8d., and the rest at 6d. Thomas de Chorlton had 7 acres there; Mamecestre, ii, 363.
42 Note by Mr. Earwaker. Greenlow Heath appears to have been considered a separate township, or at least a conspicuous hamlet of Chorlton. The hamlet of Gorton was at the same time bound to maintain 'one half of the highway in the High Street so far as Gorton and Greenlow Marsh alias Greenlow Cross lay to the said High Street, beginning at the bridge near to Edmond Percival's house and so downward to Ardwick, with the one half of the said bridge also.'
43 Mamecestre, iii, 483; a rent of 20s. was due to the lord of Manchester. The chantry was that of St. Nicholas, or the Trafford chantry, as will be seen in the account of the parish church.
It was probably in respect of this land that disputes arose among the lessees. Sir Edmund Trafford had had a lease of two tenements there, and in 1588 Thomas Windbank secured from the queen a lease for fifty years from the end of Trafford's term. Roger Kenyon—in another pleading John Kenyon and Robert his son— and Thomas alias James Gredlow were occupiers; and for each tenement 26s. 8d. rent was due to the Crown. Thomas Pyecroft and George Ashton acquired an interest in part of the land about 1600, but their title was questioned; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. clxxxi, F. 11; clxxxix, P. 1; cxcvi, B. 5. Roger Kenyon and Thomas Greenlow were the tenants of the chantry lands in 1547; Raines, Chant. (Chet. Soc.), i, 35.
44 At the County Council Office, Preston.
45 Higson, op. cit. 52; quoting Raines MSS. Pike-house Deeds. The chapel is marked in Saxton's map of 1577.
46 George Wharmby was licensed as 'reader' in 1576; Pennant's Acct. Bk. (Chest. Reg.). He was buried at the collegiate church in 1588 as 'minister at Gorton.'
At the bishop's visitation in 1592 it was found that the curate was unlicensed; he christened in a basin or dish, there being no font; he also taught a school. Jewell's Reply and Apology were wanting; Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xiii, 63. As he baptized probably he was ordained.
47 Thomas Beswick and Mary Beswick, widow, were summoned before the consistory in 1604 for not paying the 'accustomed wages' to the minister; Higson, op. cit. 55. See also Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11.
48 Humphrey Chetham (Chet. Soc.), 50, 51.
49 Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 8. An addition of £40 out of sequestrations was ordered in 1648; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 63, 65; ii, 55.
50 Thomas Norman was curate in 1619; it was reported that he 'did not read the whole service'; Visit. P. at Chester. He was called the 'lecturer' in 1622; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i. 66; Manch. Classis (Chet. Soc.), iii, 443. Henry Root is stated to have been there in 1632; Robert Watson, curate in 1639, was excommunicated for contumacy; Mr. Norman reappeared in 1641; Higson, op. cit. 59, 60. 'Cornelius Glover of Gorton, preacher of the Word of God,' was buried at Manchester in 1635. John Wigan, an Independent, was there in 1645–6, and moved to Birch; his appointment was an incident in the strife between the Independents and the Presbyterians; see Adam Martindale (Chet. Soc.), 61.
Adam Martindale followed; he gives an interesting account of the 'wasps' nest' in which he found himself. He had the cordial invitation of the people; his principal promoter was 'an ancient professor that had formerly driven a great trade, and after borne a considerable office as a soldier in the wars, but at that time was out of all employment, only gave himself much to reading and Christian converse,' and was a zealous Presbyterian; others of the people 'were downright for the Congregational way,' to which Martindale himself inclined, and 'one honest gentleman, of better parts and greater interest than he that drove on so eagerly, was against ruling elders as unscriptural and strangers in antiquity.' In consequence of these bickerings, and his salary being in arrears, Martindale left in 1648; ibid. 60–76.
David Dury succeeded, 1649–50; he was 'a painful and godly minister'; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. 8. Thomas Norman, son of the earlier minister of that name, was there 1650–51; Zachariah Taylor, 1651 to 1653; Robert Seddon, 1654 to 1656; William Leigh, 1657. Notices of all of these will be found in W. A. Shaw, Manch. Classis; see also Plund. Mins. Accts. ii, 183, 289.
51 John Jollie, an ejected minister, preached at Gorton in 1669; on one Sunday a minister sent from the warden of Manchester found him in the pulpit and had to retire; Booker, Denton (Chet. Soc.), 85. Yet a Caleb Stopford appears as 'minister of Gorton' in 1662, and other names are given; Higson, op. cit. 71, 72. There is a tradition that 'at one period two different modes of worship, Episcopal and Presbyterian, were conducted in Gorton Chapel, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon'; ibid. 76. Thomas Dickenson, who left for Northowram in 1702, is said to have 'preached at Gorton chapel,' so that the arrangement may have been in force so late as his time; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 55. The state of matters at the chapel was a scandal to the more zealous Anglicans, who wanted the laws enforced against offenders; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 85.
52 Humphrey Chetham, 209. The benefactor is stated to have attended the chapel, and on the south side of the old building, near the chancel, was a gallery called the 'Chetham loft,' used by the family and servants of Clayton Hall; Higson, op. cit. 66. Other books were given in 1730; ibid. 85. See also Old Lancs. Libraries (Chet. Soc.), 62; many of the books are still preserved.
53 Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 88. The house, garden, and little meadow brought in £2 15s. There were two chapel wardens, chosen by the minister and inhabitants.
54 Higson, op. cit. 97–100, where the faculty is printed; this states that the old chapel and its furniture were 'very old, ruinous and decayed,' and that a larger building was needed. A petition in 1753 states that the inhabitants had repaired the pillars and supports of the timber roof; that the building measured 60 ft. by 40 ft.; that the estimated cost of a new chapel was £1,171, which the inhabitants were unable to raise, for though the township was populous it was but small, and the people mostly 'cottagers and labourers and common workpeople in the linen and cotton manufactures,' who could not give much; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 493.
A ballad referring to a church incident about 1800 is printed in N. and Q. (Ser. 4), ii, 555–6.
According to Higson (op. cit. 101) the new chapel was called St. Thomas's instead of St. James's, but the change does not appear to have been permanent. The interior remained unfinished until 1775, when it was properly fitted; ibid. 108.
55 Lond. Gaz. 29 Mar. 1839; 16 June 1854.
56 Visitation list of 1671. From Higson's work the names of the incumbents have in general been taken. In Stratford's visitation list, 1691, the date of Dewhurst's licence is given as 1686; he had been ordained in 1663. He died in 1697.
57 Also curate of Didsbury; Mr. Earwaker's note.
58 He was called perpetual curate.
59 He was blind for the last twentythree years of his life; Higson, op. cit. 127.
60 He was what was then called a High Churchman; ibid. 24.
61 The benefice was sequestered and the incumbent absent for some years; ibid. 143–50, 160. See Raines, Fellows of Manch. ii, 305.
62 Lond. Gaz. 27 July 1866, for district. The patronage was vested in the Rev. G. Philpot, St. James's, for his life.
63 Ibid. 4 July 1879.
64 Ibid. 25 July 1876.
65 Gastrell, op. cit. ii, 89.
66 Higson, op. cit. 23–8.
67 Ibid. 38–41.
68 There was an older Congregational interest in Gorton, but it expired; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 199.
69 Ibid. v, 158–62; Higson (op. cit. 34–6) states that it effected much good in a village which about 1830 was 'disgraced by aggravated scenes of intemperance and fighting both with men and dogs' on Sundays.
70 a The inscriptions are in the Owen MSS.
71 Nightingale, op. cit. v, 56–62. The Grimshaw family were members of this congregation.
72 Higson states that a Sunday School was opened at Little Droylsden (in Openshaw) in 1843, and a chapel near Seven Thorns Well in 1849; Gorton, 189, 206.