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A Short History Of The Parish of S. Margaret Hollinwood and S. Chad Limeside

The land on which Oldham stood was part of the Parish and Township of Prestwich with S. Mary Oldham a  Chapel of Ease to the parish of Prestwich. St. Mary Oldham was the nearest church in which the folk of  Hollinwood could attend worship.



People were finding themselves unable to obtain seats in that church. Negotiations to purchase land on which to  build a new Chapel in Hollinwood began and the new Church dedicated to St. Margaret of Antioch was  completed by 1768 and was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on July 8th 1769. The Builder was Edmund  Whitehead and an account of his work was recorded on his gravestone in the churchyard. It is said that the  building cost only £500 and that a grant towards the building cost was received from Queen Anne’s Bounty. A  flagon, chalice and paten were presented to mark the Consecration and are still in first class condition and are  brought out for use on special occasions. In the Consecration Deed it was laid down that the curate was to keep  registers and to charge double fees for baptisms, weddings and funerals. Half was kept by him the other half was  to be sent to the Rector of Prestwich. He was also directed to assist with the administration of Holy Communion  at St. Mary Oldham on Christmas Day and Easter Day. The Church was smaller than the present building and  when built had no tower.



 A small tower and the clock with its stone faces was added and was given it is said as a ‘Thank’ offering for the  deliverance of Europe from the tyranny of Napoleon. The first Priest–in-Charge was the Rev John Darbey. He
 founded a Sunday school on August 2nd 1784, only the second one to be founded in the District. To mark the  occasion a gift of 100 spelling books was made by Robert Raikes the originator of Sunday Schools. John  Darbey was also responsible for the founding of the Hollinwood National School that was built by public  subscription. It was opened on August 2nd 1786 and was enlarged at a later date. The first organ of which we    have record was installed in 1810 and paid for by public subscription.


S. Margaret’s became a Parish Church in its own right and the Rev. John Holme became the first Vicar of the  Parish. The Incumbency of the Rev. John Robinson [1861 – 1885] saw the building of the present Church. By  now the population of Hollinwood was around 8,000 and the Church, apart from being too small for those  wishing to attend had become unsafe. The Wardens were advised that the floor was so damp and the  woodwork so rotten with dry rot that it would be cheaper to build a new Church rather than carry out extensive  repairs to the existing building.



 Early on a Building Committee was formed and by May 1877 plans had been received and those of Mr.  Freeman of Bolton were accepted. The old Church was demolished and a temporary iron building erected near  the site, licensed and used for weddings and other ministrations although the School was used for Sunday  services. The Bishop of the Diocese laid the foundation stone for the new Church on Easter Monday 1878. It  had been laid down that the cost of the building was not to exceed £6,000 but costs rose and the Vicar made  many appeals for more money. The ‘massive tower’ was abandoned leaving the next generation to complete this  work. The building was eventually finished and furnished and it was not until August 1882 that the figure of  £9,659. 16s. 3d. the final cost of the building had been cleared.



The Lord Bishop of the Diocese consecrated the new Church on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels,  September 29th.



The present three manual organs were installed by Hill of London at a cost of £874.



The decision was made to complete the Tower and this work cost approx. £1,700 The Dedication of the Tower  and Bells by the Bishop of Burnley took place on 20th March 1906.



The building of a new Church Hall and Institute on Incline Rd. and this was opened and Dedicated on 29th April  1911. It was destroyed by an air raid on October 12th/13th 1941. The building of the Hall saw the last major  building project to take place until the late 1950s.



 The Organ was renovated and a new Lady Chapel and St. Nicholas Chapel created. The new Vicarage was  completed in 1960 and a new Parish Hall opened in 1961.


1945- 1950

 It was during the Incumbency of Fr. Denne that the new Parish of St. Chad was first proposed. S. Margaret’s  Parish had grown in size with the building of the Limeside and Hollins Estates and other properties. The split into  two parishes seemed inevitable. It was expected that the new parish would have a population of around 10,000.



The new District of St. Chad was created and the Rev. J.B. Ginnever appointed Priest- In-Charge. In 1963 the foundation stone of a new church to replace the dual purpose building was laid by Fr. Goodman, Parish  Priest of S. Margaret’s on 8th February. In 1965 The new Church was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese on 30th January. Fr. Clive Hilton who had  been inducted as Priest-In – Charge in 1962 became the first Vicar of the Parish in 1964. For many reasons  what had been a thriving parish declined over the years and the church in recent years suffered from almost  constant vandalism. A small but faithful congregation eventually agreed that there was no option but to have the  building demolished and to have a combined Parish with S. Margaret’s. The Building was demolished and by an  Order In Council dated 16th July 2002 the new Parish of St. Margaret Hollinwood and St. Chad Limeside was  created.



The new Saint Margaret’s Aided School was opened. In September 1988 a 30 place nursery unit was opened.



The state of the Parish Hall was causing great concern and eventually it was decided to sell the old hall and build  a smaller one. The Hall and land were sold to the Baptist Housing Association who built the sheltered  accommodation that is now St. Margaret’s Gardens. A new, much smaller Hall was built by Oldham  Community Employment Agency with the support of Oldham Borough Council and the Manpower Services  Commission. It was built with money from the sale of the old hall and adjacent land and a grant from Oldham Council, (renamed The Canon George Community & Parish Hall in 2008). .


This Millennium

The main project this millennium has been the renovation of the church tower. This was completed in 2008 with renovated clock and bell. The new level access and main doors make the church truly accessible for all to come in. December 2008 also saw the installation of a fine carved oak reredos at the high altar, this was translated from Saint John The Evangelist, Great Harwood which had been closed and now demolished. It was re-dedicated by +Martyn, Bishop of Beverley who has Episcopal care of the parish.

2010 saw us being given a grant by English Heritage for repair of the roof on the North side of church preliminary work has been undertaken and the main work will begin in the spring of 2011. Future projects will include restoration of the organ.


This is a short history of the present parish and a full history of the Parish from 1769 to 1996 by Barry Dainty (© S. Margaret’s Church) is available priced  £5. (including postage).