St George Stalybridge
Old St. George's New St. George's
The Parish of St George, Stalybridge has an unusual history. Originally consecrated in 1776, the building of the 'Cocker Hill Chapel of Ease' was a welcome alternative for Anglicans as the other options for worship were to travel either to the Parish Church in Ashton-Under-Lyne or to Mottram, although none-conformists were well served with a Baptist, a Congregationalist and several Methodist Churches in the town.
By 1835 the Cocker Hill Chapel was in poor condition and in danger of falling down and so a new Church was comissioned and consecrated in 1840, also dedicated to St George, The Hague. The Vicar of Old St George's, Revd Isaac Newton France, took over as incumbent of the new church and the old church was allowed to close. This did not go well with the old congregation who organised and financed the rebuilding of the old church and it was reopened on the 29th of September 1843 and prospered with Revd. William Hall as vicar.
New St George's did not prosper as Revd France appears not to have been popular, also the building of several other Anglican churches in Stalybridge and Dukinfield reduced the catchment area. In 1846, Revd France exercised his 'right of return' and went back as incumbent to Old St Georges church, displacing the successful Revd. Hall. This unpopular move met with strong resistance which continued until Revd France collapsed and died in 1850. The full story is detailed in the book 'Two Into One Will Go' by Canon Paul Denby ( Text available on the links on the left of this page ).
The situation of having two churches dedicated to St George in Stalybridge continued for 127 years until Old St George's was decommissioned in 1967 and the two congregations were merged.