Wednesday, 25 November 2015

St. Stephen's - Grane

St. Stephens - Grane - A Brief History

(Reproduced from a document named "A Brief History"

The first church of St. Stephen's, Grane was completed in 1867.  It's site at Crowtrees placed it in the centre of a then populous and thriving community.

In 1883 however, in the year the church was finally consecrated, the Bury and District Water Board began to purchase land and properties in order to extend the catchment area of their Grane reservoirs.  Over the next twenty-five years many farmhouses, cottages and three cotton mills were demolished or left to decay into ruins.

Many of the populace moved out of the area.  The church was left isolated as attendances declined and it eventually fell into disrepair.  It was felt necessary by the parishioners to have a place of worship at a more convenient site nearer Haslingden.  In 1910 a piece of land measuring 723 and 4/9ths square yards was purchased from Holden Wood Bleaching Company for £120 11s 8d (£120.58p).  The Mission Room was then built at a total cost of £1,800 and opened in April 1911.  The Mission Room immediately became the centre of church life.  Services were held in the upper room whilst a lower room was used as a Sunday School, a Men's Institute and a social centre.

The first memorial to the sixteen men of the parish who died in the 1914-1918 war was a framed series of photographs centred by a photograph of the church.  Underneath was written - "In memory of our lads who have fallen in the war 1914-1918".  This was unveiled in the Men's Institute on Sunday 10th August, 1919 by the Mayor of Haslingden, Councillor Halstead.  (N.B. There is now no trace of this memorial.)

In February, 1921 Major D. Halstead, acting on behalf of the directors of the Holden Wood Bleaching Company, gave a one acre site at Three Lane Ends, near the junction of Holcombe Road with Grane Road, to the parish for the purposes of building a church.  (The site, known as "Bincroft", was used as a football field at the time).

They had two conditions to the gift.  Firstly, the church was to be built within five years and secondly, a stained glass window in memory of the sixteen men of the parish who died in the 1914-1918 war had to be installed in the church.

In November 1923 a commisssion set up by the Bishop of Manchester recommended the removal of the church from the Crowtrees site and re-erecting it at Three Lane Ends.  A tender of £6,150 to carry out the whole of the work was accepted from the Haslingden building contractors, Thomas Tattersall Ltd.

Demolition of the church began in May 1925 and was completed by September, when the corner stones were removed.  Each stone of the church was marked with a course and stone number and transported to the new site.  A similar method was used when dismantling the interior.  Additional costs for a new top for the steeple, a new vestry, the memorial window, etc., brought the original total to over £8,000.  The site of the old church was marked by a stone cross. 


Original site of St. Stephens - Dedication Service after the Church had been removed  (Click over photo to enlarge)

Bishop of Blackburn - Opening Church after move to Three Lane Ends  (Click over photo to enlarge)

St. Stephen's Grane  (Click over photo to enlarge)
Photo:kindly contributed by Marjorie Corbridge
Haslingden Choir at last service held at St. Stephens Church - Grane  (Click over photo to enlarge)

St. Stephens Church Mothers Union c1950s  (Click over to enlarge)

Thanks to Pauline Emmett Dagg for correction of title and also for adding some of the names as follows: Evelyn Emmett is mid row 3rd from the left. Doreen Hamilton is on the back row 2nd from the right.  Edna Duckworth is on the back row 2nd from the left.  Alice Jennings back row 5th from left.  Alice Seymour back row 3rd from left.  Mrs. Keir back row 6th from right.  Mrs. Hamer front row 3rd from the left.
I can remember the gentleman sat down at the front who I seem to remember was the Curate Mr. Turner at St. James Church when Mr. Fred Bamber was the Vicar. Also thanks to Elizabeth Smethhurst who has also added the following names:

Back Row 1st right is my grandmother Elizabeth Holden, nee Taylor and third from right is her sister Emma Wiggins.  They were members of St. Stephen's M.U. for many years.

Photo: uploaded here on 10th December 2015

Interior of St. Stephens Church, Grane (Click over to enlarge)

Photo: Kindly contributed by Alec Taylor and uploaded here on 8th April 2016,

St. Stephens Grane with Rev. Fred Bamber and Mrs. Bamber  (Click over to enlarge)
Photo: Kindly contributed by Alec Taylor and uploaded here on 13th April 2016 

This is a photo of Mrs. Roscoe who were the Quarry Owners at Grane   (Click over to enlarge)
The family also supplied the stone for St. Stephens Church.
Photo: Kindly contributed by Alec Taylor and uploaded here on 18th April 2016 

(Click over to enlarge)
An event at St Stephens, probably in the church hall, in the 1960s. From the left at the back, the names I know are: Alderman Bert Bussey, the Mayor ( directly in front of him is Mrs Bussey), Fr James MacDonald, Curate, Bob Barnes, Canon Fred Bamber, Unknown, my mother Kathleen Blomeley.
Photo and text kindly shared by Michael Blomeley