Last Updated : 3rd March 2013

A New Church

Work carried on here for 28 years until 1909. Owing to the growing of Saint James' Parish to such large proportions, a scheme was inaugurated by the then Vicar of Saint James' (The Revd H.F. Walker, MA) whereby a new Parish would be formed which would include the rapidly growing district of Clarksfield. The boundaries of the new Parish were to be:- Lees Road, Cow Lane, Dunkerley Street, Huddersfield Road, Spring Street, The Cemetery and Clarksfield Road.

The site of the present Church, Parish Hall and Vicarage was given by the Lees family of Clarksfield House. In 1910, a sum of 1,500 was assigned for the building of a new Church School, which was the foundation of the present Parish. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs John Ogden of Moorhey House, on 25 November 1911 and on 20 July 1912 the new Church Hall was dedicated by the archdeacon of Rochdale.

A Bazaar was held in November, 1913 towards a fund to build a separate Church but the First World War interfered with this plan and-until 1924 Saint Barnabas was a Mission Church of Saint James', served by Lay Readers and Curates from that Church.

In 1924, Saint Barnabas was declared a Conventional District, which meant that the Parish was separated legally from Saint James'. At the same time, the Revd G. K. Knowlson joined the new Parish as its first Priest-in-Charge.

The buildings that had served as a combined Church and Parish Hall now became the Church and a new Parish Hall was built. The present Church was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Manchester, Dr Guy Warman on the 27 February 1932. He was accompanied as Bishop's Chaplain by Canon Aeneas E. Mackintosh, the Rural Dean and Vicar of Oldham. The Church wardens were Mr Fred Russell and Mr Eli C. Bayliffe, and the Vicar was the Revd Sydney Cook. It was reported that the Church was full half an hour before the start of the service, the Parish Hall next door was also full and people were standing outside around the doors. In his address the Bishop said he had been impressed by the fervour and enthusiasm of the people of the new Parish and he felt confident of its future.

A house at 76 Clarksfield Road was purchased for a Vicarage. To raise the necessary monies towards its cost, the church supported a levy fund of a sixpence a week.