Our History


        Droylsden became a separate Parish in October 1844 and the Revd Philip Thompson was appointed Rector. In August 1846 the building of a new Church began at a cost of 3500. On February 11th 1848 the Church was dedicated to St Mary by Bishop James Prince Lee, being the first church consecrated by the first Bishop of Manchester.

        The outside stone wall that surrounds the Church and grounds was erected in 1857 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War and was paid for by public subscription at a cost of 147 The carved head on the left side (north) below the arch represents Archbishop Cranmer; the matching head on the right side (south) represents Bishop Ridley. Both martyred for their Protestant beliefs in the 1500s. Each side of the chancel are tablets dedicated to Elizabeth Midwood and George Ashworth. The East windows over the altar were the first stained glass windows to be put into the church the year 1869.

The upper section of the central window depicts Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane; the lower shows Jesus carrying the cross on the way to his crucifixion. The left-hand window is of Moses holding the tablets inscribed with the 10 commandments. The window on the right shows Saint Paul- in his hands the sword of grace- "Accept salvation as a helmet and the word of God as the sword, which the spirit gives you".

The reredos below is inscribed 'Maurice Livingston 2nd Lt Lancashire Fusiliers Fallen in France Nov 4th 1918.' The four shields on the reredos depict the final hours of our Lords life. Reading left to right: " the betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane; 30 pieces of silver; lantern; sword and cudgel. " the whipping post and whips -Jesus was flogged before his crucifixion. " the cloak of Jesus and the dice the Roman soldiers used to cast lots for his clothes. " the instruments of our Lords crucifixion: the cross, crown of thorns, spears used to pierce and to offer up the sponge, hammer, nails, pincers.

The panels each side of the communion rail bear the names of those who from this parish gave their lives in the Great War of 1914-1918. Written in the scroll feature above the panelling each side of the reredos are the words. 'To the glory of God and in memory of those who from this church gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918.' Those who fell in the second world war 1939-1945 are recorded on the south side panelling. The two clergy stalls are in memory of two rover scouts who also died in the second world war. The stained glass window on the south side of the chancel is in memory of Joseph Hadwen a great benefactor of both church and school. One of the donations in 1857 was to purchase the instruments for St Mary's Church Sunday school brass band, later to become Droylsden reed band. This window depicts the parable of the talents. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."

Turning back into the Nave looking toward the west end of the church the organ built in 1855 at a cost of 250 can be seen. The magnificent Lectern has a much travelled history. It was first placed in St John's church Byrom Street, Manchester in 1878 by Edward Byrom in memory of his granddaughter Eleanora Atherton. In 1928 it was removed to St Matthew's church Liverpool Road Manchester. When this church closed in 1942 the Lectern was presented to St Mary's - the Eagle has flown about quite a bit! The Font is an exact copy of a very ancient Font dated 1400AD in All Saints church Leicester. The carved figures at the top of the four columns are taken to represent God, Jesus, Mary and a Bishop. The three tiles on the plinth read 'Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.' The wooden cover is in memory of John Barnfield.

The window at the South East corner depicts Jesus, "I am the resurrection and the life" and is in memory of Catherine March, and John Holland 1872. Moving to the South nave the two small windows were removed from the former baptistery and re-sited in this position. They show Jesus with the children. "Suffer the little children to come unto me" and the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. "Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness". The large brass plaque is in memory of the Pell-Ilderton family. The next windows are in memory Ann Ashworth. They show Jesus The Good Shepherd, and Jesus holding a lantern and knocking on a door: "Behold I stand at the door and knock." The final windows are of the two saints Philip and Andrew both mentioned in the feeding of the five thousand. Philip said "Lord show us the Father, Jesus replied anyone who has seen me has seen the Father". Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, was a follower of John the Baptist before he became a disciple of Jesus and of course is the Patron Saint of Scotland. The brass plaque records that the windows are in memory of Revd Philip Thompson the first Rector of Droylsden. Note-If you want to learn more about the characters and illustrated stories on the windows you can find them all in your BIBLE.

Enter the Church by the Southwest door (the red door) into the outer porch which was the former Baptistery, indicated by the Dove window above the inner porch door. To the immediate left is a blue plaque commemorating a former Rector of the church Revd A. H. Procter awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War. Below is the stone cross, which fell from the eastern end of the church during a severe storm. Enter the main body of the church (the Nave) starting on the North side (left side).

The first point of interest being a wall tablet in memory of Washington Hurst. Then onto the stained glass windows depicting St John the Baptist the first to recognise Jesus as the Messiah. We also have St John the Evangelist who together with his brother James were disciples of Jesus. The brass plaque indicates the window is in memory of John Higson a local historian whose gravestone is still in the churchyard. The next window depicts Guides and Scouts and is in memory of John Dean founder scoutmaster of St Mary's scouts. The Guide window has the heading Solomon who was a wise and just ruler, the Scouts' headed Nehemiah, responsible for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after their destruction by fire. The windows depict many of the stories that are in the bible. Can you pick out St Mary's in the town silhouette at the bottom of the windows? On the wall at the left side of the window are recorded the names and dates of the former rectors of this parish and to the right on the Northeast wall a memorial to the first rector Revd Philip Thompson. So to the chancel: each side are boards which show the Ten Commandments (Exodus) and the creed (I Believe) also The Lords Prayer.(Our Father), over the arch.