Jacob Picton B.A - 1829 to 1831
Exactly one month after his appointment, Jacob Picton, who came from Liverpool, opened the first of our present registers. He recorded that on the 18th October, he had baptised Thomas, son of Thomas and Harriet Whitelegg of Bosden. This was to be the first of 132 entries in this register before the present church was built. In the same year he started the Sunday School.
Preparing to Build
On the 10th April 1830 Mr Picton made another application to the Church Commissioners. This one was hardly as humble as his predecessor's, for he quoted an anticipated cost of £6000, toward which the local inhabitants hoped to contribute £1000. He told them that the chapel would serve the whole of the four townships covering an area of 10,000 acres.
The commissioners replied by granting £2,000 and instructed Hayley (7) and Brown, a firm of architects in Manchester, to draw up plans for one of their 'Waterloo churches' at a cost of £3,000, of which it was said that their chief characteristics were 'unmitigated ugliness and hopeless inconvenience'.
These churches and chapels were built to a strictly utilitarian design, to seat as many people as possible, allowing 20 inches for an adult and 14 inches for a child. There had to be equal free seating to rented ones. The bell tower, unless privately donated, had to be comparable to the amount collected by local subscriptions only.
Working on these guide lines the architects provided seating for 1005 of which 823 were for adults and 182 for children; of these 503 seats were free and 502 rented, made up as follows.
- Ground floor:
- 418 persons occupying 74 rented pews
- 98 persons occupying open seats.
- 84 persons occupying 12 rented pews
- 405 persons occupying open seats.
The recess for the communion table was to be no more than 3 feet deep, and the bell tower measuring 75 feet 10 inches in height by 15 feet square was not to cost more than £150.
Other specifications were that the style was to be Gothic of the 13th century with no crypt or vault. The whole of the chapel was to be of wall stone except the plynth, cornice and weatherings, which were to be obtained from the Legh estate quarry at Carr Brow. The 22 inch thick flags for the aisles were to come from the same source. The roof was to be of best Welsh slate.
No iron work was allowed except as required for the roof and galleries. The pulpit, pews and desk had to be of deal and painted. There was to be no cost for the foundations because this was to be provided by dismantling the yard and wall surrounding the old chapel at Mill Lane. The local farmers and carriers were expected to transport the material to the site free of charge.
The estimated cost of the building including all expenses was to be £3,016.6s.41/2d.
A False Start
At the beginning of 1831 contracts were signed with Thomas Broadhurst to supply the wall stone from his quarry near Bollington. The ready dressed stone blocks would cost 6 shillings each at his wharf.
The cost of transporting the stone along the recently opened Marple-Macclesfield canal, as far as High Lane, was part of the contracted price agreed with Henry Wallington, who was to build the chapel, on the understanding that on completion of the foundations he would receive £800.
Unfortunately the local people could not raise this amount in time and so the construction came to a premature halt. Whether because of this we know not, but in the November of 1831 Jacob Picton resigned.
(7) Hayley lived at Levenshulme and designed, a number of churches and chapels in and around Manchester.