St Pauls

St Paul’s: In 1144 there was a community of monks at Kershall and this cell continued as a monastery until it’s dissolution in 1540. In the 19th century Colonel Clowes came to reside in Broughton and wanted to give the people a church of their own. He obtained permission form the First Bishop of Manchester to use the grandstand of the now defunct Kersal Moor racecourse, as both a place of worship and a school. At a meeting in 1850 there was discussion regarding the site of a new church and a subscription list was started. A fund was set up to raise £5,000 for the church. £2,500 for the rectory and money for an endowment fund. Contributions form £1 to £1,500 were received. In April 1851 the foundation stone was laid for St Paul’s church and was consecrated in May 1852. The population of the parish was some 1200 people compared to the 10,000+ today. The annual income of the church was £611 The church stands at the highest point above sea level in the city of Salford. It has an impressive tower and unique double spire over 160 feet high. There were also 3 smaller spires at each of the three remaining corners of the tower but they were blown down and never replaced. Over the years there was much reordering on the inside of the church and in 1924 it necessitated the congregation moving into the school for major redecoration. During the Second World War the church survived relatively unscathed. In the early 1980’s it was again re-ordered to provide social areas for community functions. The churchyard was extended in 1928 and again in 1951. It now contains over 4000 graves and some 11,000+ burials. Amongst those buried there are members of the Holt family of brewers, Dr. Angus Smith (a chemist who discovered acid rain), James Crossley (former president of Chetham society), Henry Edward Schunck (scientist who built his own private laboratory in Kersal) and Edwin Waugh (Lancashire dialect poet). In January 1987 an arson attack destroyed almost 135 years of history. The water and heat wrecked that which remained untouched by the fire. The roof was destroyed; pews ruined; much of the stained glass shattered; organ pipes melted and the bell, weighing nearly a ton, crashed down shattering the stone font. It was decided to rebuild the church within the existing walls but to create a modern, flexible space to serve the whole community. Although this is the story of a church building, the real church is the people who have worshipped there for the last 150 years and who continue to plan for its future.


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