St Michael and All Angels, Ashton-Under-Lyne

Bellringers Peal Records

A Brief History of the Church

St Michael and All Angels is the main Parish Church for Ashton-Under-Lyne.

The Domesday Book (1086) records a St Michael's Church in the east of the parish of Manchester, although sources are not agreed as to whether this was indeed in Ashton.

A church certainly existed on the present site in the 12th Century which became a Chapel of Ease to the Parish of Manchester. Ashton was granted status of a Parish in its own right in 1281.

In 1423-1420 Rector John Huntingdon rebuilt the church. The Assheton family paid for the re-building and also for the St Helen's windows which were completed in 1499. This stained glass is the most complete set of medieval stained glass in the North of England

This tower was struck by lightning in January, 1791 and great damage was done (5 peals had been rung by this stage). The tower was repaired, but this was only to last until 1817 when it was demolished and a new tower built by 1818.

In March 1821 a serious fire caused much damage to the original church building and it was only fully restored to its present state in the period 1840 - 1844. Further re-building took place in 1883 and three years later the tower was again found to be in a dangerous state and completely rebuilt 1886-1888. This, the present tower, is 139'6" high, 19' higher than the former tower.

The church is best known for its 15th century stained glass which depicts the story of St Helena - this has just been restored (September, 2009).

An unusual feature of the church is the three deck pulpit placed half way along the North side with pews facing it rather than the altar.