FRIENDS OF ASHTON PARISH CHURCH



THE FRIENDS

The Friends, who are independant of the church, were established in the early 1990's and consist of people from many walks of life, with various religious traditions, who are anxious in helping to maintain and enhance this Grade 1 listed building, one of only two in Tameside. It is of historical importance, significant in the life of the town and continues to be a place of worship as part of the Team Parish of Ashton.

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In the last couple of years we have undertaken the restoration of the pew doors and hinges which date from the 1840's. As a Grade 1 building the hinges had to be made to look the same as the existing ones so they had to be obtained from a specialist foundry in Burnley. We then employed a traditional cabinet maker to fit the hinges and restore the doors. The Friends have also contributed to the new sound system which enables the clergy and readers to be clearly audible thoughout the church during services.. The next major project the church is to undertake is the restoration of the mosaic tile floor, towards which the Friends will be making a contribution. The recent installation of new lighting has greatly enhanced the inside of the building and in particular the ceiling bosses.

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THE CHURCH.

The parish of Ashton-under-Lyne was founded in 1281. Until that time its church had been a chapel to St Mary's church in Manchester (later to become the Cathedral). There is strong evidence that it is mentioned in the Domesday Book and that worship on this site may pre-date the Norman Conquest.

While parts of the building date from the fifteenth century, its unique interior reflects the styles of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The medieval stained glass depicts the life of St.Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, and commemorates members of the Assheton family, the former Lords of the Manor. It has the most complete set of stained glass in the North West of England. The association with the Manchester Regiment, whose colours are in the church continues through the Kings's Regiment who use the church and have the Freedom of Tameside. It receives many visitors each year, including local schools and is supported by the Open Churches Trust.

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Shakespeare.

Those who would like to connect Shakespeare with Ashton can appeal to the shield in the window over the south west gallery staircase. It shows the spear of Shakespeare's coat of arms which also appears in the bogus coat of arms of John Ross Coulthart in the north aisle. There was in 1591 a singing boy called William Shakeshaft, an alternative name, with Alexander Hoghton patron of the church and a decendant of the Asshetons. This Shakeshaft was a member of a singing group who are believed to have sang in our church. There was also a Globe Inn from Tudor times within the church precincts. In addition it can be argued that two of our earliest incumbents were from the Arderne family, as was Shakespear's mother. A bust at the side of the choir stalls is a good resemblance of the bard himself.

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The best view of the church with its tower is now from the bypass that cuts through its former graveyard. Inside, the triple-decker pulpit, box pews. elaborate ceiling bosses and stained glass windows are not to be missed. The church is open late afternoons Wednesday to Saturday in the summer. Guided tours can be arranged by ringing Alan Bacon on 0161 330 5829 or e.mail alanfbacon@yahoo.co.uk

MEMBERSHIP FORM

We invite you to become a Friend of Ashton Parish Curch and join us in helping to maintain and beautify this wonderful place of worship which we have inherited, and which it is our duty to enhance for future generations.

Please complete and return to Hon. Secretary, Friends of Ashton Parish Church, c/o Mrs J. Currie, 27, Rushmere, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 9EB

I wish to join the FRIENDS OF ASHTON PARISH CHURCH and I am willing to pay an annual subscription of 5.00

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All Cheques payable to the FRIENDS OF ASHTON PARISH CHURCH.

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News

Visit Carl Rogerson's website carlscam for photographs of Ashton Parish Church. Follow the left hand link for buildings, then churches

some more photos at
ashton-under-Lyne.com

Fund Raising Event in aid of the repair of Church Tower - Barbara Foster talking about Dunham Massey in WWI Wednesday 11 June 2014 Click for more details