The First Vicarage
After three years at Norbury Mr Gordon was still without an official vicarage. During the 43 year incumbency of Mr Worsley, the Vicar had lived in his own private residence, first at Torkington House, at the corner of Torkington Road and London Road, and then at Park View (16) on Torkington Road.
However, immediately on the arrival of Mr Gordon a committee was formed which, taking advantage of the Parsonage Act of 1866, set about the task of raising half the estimated £1,800 required for the building of a vicarage.
The first year was spent in collecting £960, by a house to house collection. Unfortunately when they applied for a similar amount from the Commissioners set up by the Act, they found that funds had run out and it was eighteen months before their request was granted.
Even then they could not start the project. Another year and a half elapsed while they endeavoured to obtain a reasonable tender from one of the local builders.
At last on the 9th of June 1879 a contract was signed with Samuel Howerd & Son, (17) and the committee adjourned to the site, given by the patron of the living, W.J. Legh Esq of Lyme Hall, where Mr Green, (18) the senior member of the vicarage committee cut the first sod 'in a manner very creditable to himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned'.
However the fates had just one more trick to play, for on the 19th March 1880, as a cart carrying some of Mr Gordon's furniture turned into the drive of the new vicarage, it collided with one of the 'handsome' gate pillars, demolishing both it and part of the wall.
During the summer, weather permitting, Mr Gordon held evensong in the church yard, which attracted large crowds of non churchgoers, who gathered in Church Walk (now the church car park) to hear the choir sing.
In 1878 a change took place, which was the result of Mr Gordon's dramatic gestures and missionary endeavours. On the 23rd of August of that year the London Gazette announced that her Most Gracious Majesty had once again signed an Order in Council, this time at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, which stated that as from that date the parish of Norbury would be extended to include:
All that portion of the township of Torkington not already in the parish of High Lane. The whole of the township of Bosden, and that portion of Bramhall that lies between Hatherlow Lane and Bramhall (Moor) Lane and extending thence along the middle of that lane to its junction with Jacksons Lane and Mill Lane, (19) and so extending along the middle of the last named lane to the centre of Mill Bridge, and from thence first southward and then south eastwards, along the stream known as Lady Brook, for a distance of 61 chains, or thereabouts to the boundary of the parish of St. Thomas Norbury, aforesaid.
This increased the population of the parish from approximately 800 to 3000. That made it a more viable unit ecclesiastically but also, by establishing a church parish, it paved the way for a new civic entity.
This change was welcomed with great enthusiasm, for it was anticipated that it would be the forerunner of a new Hazel Grove District Authority, which had been talked about for so long. Another 22 weary and frustrating years were to elapse however before that hope was realised; but Mr Gordon's ministry had released the forces which set in motion the creation of a united community of Hazel Grove.
(16) Park View is now called Amatola Lodge
(17) S. Howard & Son also built the Mechanics Institute (now Civic Hall)
(18) William Green whose name appears on the 1843 plaque on the west gallery
(19) Mill Lane is now called Bridge Lane and the bridge Womanscroft