St Thomas Leesfield, Parish of Leesfield, Lees, Oldham
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In the Parish of Leesfield the Parish church is St Thomas Leesfield. There are 2 daughter churches St Agnes & St Hugh's.
In 1844 a small group started to meet at Leesfield House for the purpose of responding to the spiritual needs of the expanding population. At the first meeting on March 4th 1844 it was decided to build a church at Leesfield and Mr George Taylor gave the site in lieu of his subscription of £100. This church was St Thomas Leesfield and the site was known as ‘Bonfire Half Acre’ with the chancel of the church being built on ‘Mischief Plot’.
The design of the church by architect Mr Shellard was perpendicular Gothic, with a hammer beam roof and stained open wood tracery and involved the use of many ancient looking figure heads both inside and outside the building.
The foundation stone was laid on October 9th 1844 by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester in the presence of the Bishop of Chester along with supporters of the project.
On the feast of St Michael and All Angels September 29th 1846 the Parish of Leesfield was constituted with Canon Robert Whittaker as incumbent, but with services continuing at Leesfield House along with a new Sunday School until the church was ready.
In 1847 the new Diocese of Manchester was formed from Chester and in 1848 Manchester’s first bishop consecrated the church of St Thomas the Apostle, Leesfield on June 21st, along with the surrounding burial ground.
Baptisms, marriages and all services followed the Book of Common Prayer. The organ was installed in the west gallery in 1860 followed by the clock and installation in the tower of a full peal of 8 bells. The tower bells were first rung and the clock started on Whit Friday May 25th 1866.
There was also urgent need for a parish day school and a larger space for Sunday School which was agreed and the foundation stone was laid on Whit Friday June 2nd 1880.
The church of St. Thomas, Leesfield was most recently renovated between 1995 and 2004. The work totalled around £1 million which means that the Mother Church at St. Thomas is in generally good condition. It has its own splendid 3 Manual Organ and numerous stained glass windows. Four of these windows are by the Belgian stained glass artist, Jean Baptiste Capronnier which give a focal point to the west end of the church. It has a seating capacity of 600.
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|As well as service times the church is open to visitors from 10.30 am to 1 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays, subject to occasional variation for weddings and funerals.Please see website or facebook page for the most up-to-date information.|
|There is a Community Room within the church building.Contact Audrey on 0161 652 2987 for details.|
The current editor is: Elizabeth Dent