Church of England Diocese of Manchester St. James with St. Ambrose Oldham

Vicars of Saint James's


Since Saint James's Church opened in 1829 there have been 16 Vicars to date. Read about them on this page. All information is correct as of the date of publication. The year in brackets at the start of each paragraph is the year when that person became Vicar of Saint James's.

(1829) Reverend William Fullarton Walker died in 1857 aged 55 years old. He was buried on the north side of the churchyard at Saint James's. He was outlived by his widow by 7 years; she was buried in the same grave.

(1857) Reverend Richard Austin Tuckniss came to Saint James's Church from Burnley. He died in 1864 aged 40 years old. Father Tuckniss is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity, Southport. 

(1864) Reverend Robert Septimus Gooday died in 1878 a few days after preaching his Good Friday sermon. He is buried in Greenacrces Municipal Cemetery in Oldham.

(1878) Reverend Thomas Lloyd Knapp left Saint James's Church in 1902, after 24 years devoted service, to become Vicar of Threekingham in Lincolshire.

(1902) Reverend Henry Fowler Walker. Very little information is available about Fr Walker after he left Saint James's. However, from a souvenir booklet produced for Saint James's Centenary Bazaar in 1929, we know that Father Walker was still alive at this time.

(1914) Reverend Leigh Leyland Orton left Saint James's in December 1923 to become Vicar of Saint Augustine's Church in Pendlebury. Some time after, it was reported in the press that Father Orton had died in tragic circumstances of acute appendicitis.

(1924) Reverend Thomas Randolph Musgrave died in 1939, he had already left Saint James's. Parochial Church Council Minutes from 25th September 1939 read "A wreath has been sent to the late Father Musgrave and a letter of thanks from Mrs Musgrave was read".

(1932) Reverend James Donald Coope Gregory left Saint James's in 1942 to become Vicar of a church in Chesterfield. He died on 19th September 1952 from a heart attack.

(1943) Reverend Kenneth George Horner was inducted as Vicar of Saint James's Church on 25th May 1943. Father Horner stayed only a short time. Parochial Church Council Minutes from 26th February 1945 read "Father Horner advised the Parochial Church Council that he was resigning the Living of Saint James's". At a meeting of the Parochial Church Council on 16th April 1945, Father Horner spoke of his retirement from Saint James's and thanked all of the people at Saint James's for the kindness showed to him and his mother.

(1945) Reverend John William Chismon. No information available at this time.

(1958) Reverend John A Southern. We made contact with Father Southern in early 2010. At the time, he was 83 years old and living near Wigan in North West England.

(1961) Reverend Earnest A Lister died suddenly at home on 6th December 1965. He was Vicar of Saint James's Church at the time of his death.

(1968) Reverend Ronald Croft is currently Priest in Charge at Saint Hilda's Church in Prestwich.

(1971) Reverend William Wilson left Saint James's in 1979 to become Vicar of Holy Innocents Church in Fallowfield, Manchester. Father Wilson retired in May 2010. The church he was at prior to his retirement was Saint James's, Sussex Gardens, London.

(1979) Reverend Paul Plumpton became Vicar of Saint James's in 1979 and retired in April 2017. He was the longest serving Vicar of Saint James's since it opened in 1829.

(2020) Reverend Graham Hollowood is the current Vicar of Saint James's Church.

Clergy Housing

To date there have been 6 houses serving as a Vicarage to Saint James's Church. The first one was on Derker Street (then known as Dirtcar Street), Oldham. The second one was on Spring Street in the Greenacres area of Oldham. Sheltered accomodation for the elderly now stands on this site, fittingly called 'Saint James Court'. The third house was at 53 Ronald Street, Clarksfield, Oldham. The fourth Vicarage was on Prince Charlie Street, Derker, Oldham. This was at a time when Saint James's shared a Vicar with Saint Ambrose Church, Oldham. The fifth house was at 8 Rosedale Close, Derker, Oldham. The present Vicarage was purpose built in 1989 and is on Yates Street in the Derker area of Oldham.