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The History of our Churches

In the Parish of Leesfield the Parish church is St Thomas Leesfield. There are 2 daughter churches St Agnes & St Hugh's.

St Thomas Leesfield Church

In 1844 a small group started to meet at Leesfield House for the purpose of responding to the spiritual needs of the expanding population. At the first meeting on March 4th 1844 it was decided to build a church at Leesfield and Mr George Taylor gave the site in lieu of his subscription of £100. This church was St Thomas Leesfield and the site was known as ‘Bonfire Half Acre’ with the chancel of the church being built on ‘Mischief Plot’.

The design of the church by architect Mr Shellard was perpendicular Gothic, with a hammer beam roof lit by dormer windowsand stained open wood tracery and involved the use of many ancient looking figure heads both inside and outside the building. The Church is built of coursed stone with ashlar surrounds to openings quoins, parapets etc.  There is a bell tower at the west with a slate covered roof, the nave roof is of slate and has a double pitched aisle on both sides. 
The beauty of St Thomas Leesfield is evident as soon as you walk in, with a seating capacity of 600, it has it's own splendid 3 Manual Organ and numerous stained glass windows. Four of these windows are by the Belgian stained glass artist, Jean Baptiste Capronnier which give a focal point to the west end of the church. The stone font with beautiful carved wood is situated at the rear of the church. 

The foundation stone was laid on October 9th 1844 by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester in the presence of the Bishop of Chester along with supporters of the project.

On the feast of St Michael and All Angels September 29th 1846 the Parish of Leesfield was constituted with Canon Robert Whittaker as incumbent, but with services continuing at Leesfield House along with a new Sunday School until the church was ready.

In 1847 the new Diocese of Manchester was formed from Chester and in 1848 Manchester’s first bishop consecrated the church of St Thomas the Apostle, Leesfield on June 21st, along with the surrounding burial ground.

Baptisms, marriages and all services followed the Book of Common Prayer. The organ was installed in the west gallery in 1860 followed by the clock and installation in the tower of a full peal of 8 bells. The tower bells were first rung and the clock started on Whit Friday May 25th 1866.

There was also urgent need for a parish day school and a larger space for Sunday School which was agreed and the foundation stone was laid on Whit Friday June 2nd 1880.

The Church is grade 2 listed, and has been successful in gaining grant assistance for two phases of repair work from English Heritage.  This has enabled the nave, aisles, vestry and south porch to be restored; the most recent renovation being between 1995 and 2004 with the work totalling around £1 million.

St Agnes Church Knolls Lane

Sunday School at Knolls Lane began at a cottage at High Knolls, but the need for a permanent base was needed and the foundation stone for a Sunday School and day school was laid down by Miss Agnes Whittaker on May 21st 1869.

By 1880 the need for a church was noted and the completed church was opened and dedicated to St Agnes for public worship by the second Bishop of Manchester on November 27th 1880.

St Hugh's Worship Centre, Holts

Following the development of new housing at Holts Estate, using the Henshaw Trust which was responsible for the church schools of Oldham Borough, a Church of England Aided School was built. This also acted as a worship centre through a sanctuary built on to the hall.

On December 8th 1956 the Lord Bishop of Manchester opened the school and dedicated the sanctuary to St Hugh.

In 1965 Leesfield got a curate whose main priority and responsibility was to create a daughter church with a council and life of its own and weekly communion.

When the school was reduced in size in 2002 many alterations were made and the Worshsip Centre was moved to its current place in the School Hall.