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1979 St James Church & Hall Gatley (1)  FM.jpg
1911 Reverend Bruster SWScan00403-2.jpg
1913 Gatley show SWScan00414_edited.jpg
1894 Bruster girls SWScan00417-5.jpg
1928 c SWScan00723.jpg
1936 Reverend Leaman in his study SWScan00747-3-2.jpg
1937c Leaman children SWScan00747-2-2.jpg
1956 SWScan00631 (2).jpg
1956 SWScan00632 (2).jpg
1967 Reverend JP Lloyd.jpg
1988 Chester Football comp BR Robert Davey Vicar Gillian & Peter Boulton Richard Dixon Ric
Paul & Hilary Moulton with her mum Marjorie Kelley.jpg
2012 04 Canon Bob Read at Easter wearing chasuable presented on leaving first time.jpg
2010 12 12 Balloon Launch with Bishop Willie Pwaisiho.jpg


1881 - TODAY

Prior to 1875 the Stockport (Stockport Etchells) part of Gatley was in the Parish of St Thomas Stockport this was a new parish, a daughter church of St Marys Stockport

The Parish of St Mary Cheadle lay between these Parishes and Gatley. Gatley residents would probably have attended churches in Cheadle or Northenden rather than travel the extra miles to Stockport. There was still a requirement to pay their dues to Stockport.

The Manchester (Northern Etchells) part of Gatley lay in the Parish of St Wilfred Northenden and currently is in the Parish of St Luke Benchill.

St Catherine Heald Green originally formed part of St James Parish and is now a daughter church of St James.

In 1875 a hall was built on Gatley Green to be used initially as an Anglican school with church Services on Sundays.

There were three curates of St Thomas’s who successively had responsibility for the new parish. They were the Reverend William Stanier, the Reverend W. A. Diggins and the Reverend Percy M. Herford.

The first baptism in the schoolroom took place on 18 June 1876 and was of Tom Clarke Chandley. The first Schoolmaster was Joseph Walker, with Miss Mary Bennett as his assistant. On 2nd May 1879, seven children were baptised at morning prayer, and on Easter Day in that year an altar cloth presented by Miss Herford was used for the first time. On 28th September 1879, Bishop Kelly confirmed eighteen St. James' candidates.


1881 to 1888

By December 1881 a church had been built next to the hall and the Reverend Herford was appointed the first Vicar of Gatley. In July 1882 James Findlow a carpenter and Jane Dawson a nurse were the first couple to be married at St James. They were both employees at Barnes Convalescent Home and their witnesses were too. Miss Roberts was the Matron and James Armstrong the Steward.

Reverend Herford, his wife Helen and family lived at Beechcroft at the junction of Gatley Road and Kingsway.



1888 to 1928

In 1888 Reverend John Bruster a curate at St Andrew’s Bebington, on the Wirral, was appointed Vicar of St James Gatley. He was inducted by Canon Gore, Archdeacon of Macclesfield, on 29 August, 1888, and retired in 1928 after forty years service. He was a man of vision, with clear-cut views and a strong personality, and led a very full life.

On 31 August, 1888, he started daily morning prayers in the Church, these being followed by Scripture lessons in the Church School. He moved into  Melbourne Cottage at 58 Church Road with his wife Millicent and first child Helen Margaret. Mary and Edith were born while they lived there.  In 1894 they moved to the purpose-built vicarage at 11 Northenden Road. The family played an active part in village life for forty years.

He was President of the Floral and Horticultural Society which ran the Gatley show on land next to the vicarage from 1910 to 1928. During the Great War of 1914-18 he served with the Cheshire Volunteers. A founder member of the Ratepayers Association he often commented on local issues such as the postal services and the need for a public transport provision to link the village with Cheadle and beyond.

His mouthpiece was the parish magazine. He constructed a building in the vicarage garden to house the printing press and then wrote, edited, printed, and distributed the magazine. He paid children ½d per month for helping to deliver the news sheet to every house in the village. He had various sick room appliances which he loaned to parishioners, and was an enthusiastic photographer, a painter, and a member of the Guild of Inventors. He was keen to see a Church built in Heald Green and worked towards that end. He died in November 1936, at the age of eighty four.



1928 to 1936

In 1914 when World War 1 broke out John Tyler Whittle was training for the mission field. In the first month of the war he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corp and went to France. He was gassed in 1917 and was invalided out of service. He again took up the ministry and was ordained in 1919. He was inducted to the benefice of St. James by Dr. H. L. Paget, Bishop of Chester, on 20 December, 1928. In 1929 he started Girl Guides, and restarted Boy Scouts, their colours being dedicated in Church in 1930. Before he left Gatley in 1936 he saw the foundations of our daughter Church St. Catherines Heald Green, laid. There was also a thriving Sunday School and other organisations which overflowed into the Y.M.C.A. building on Church Road, into a room over 45 and 45a Church Road and into the old Primitive Methodist Chapel. Another Church organisation called the Girls’ Friendly Society had also been formed and had donated a handsome bishop’s chair to the Church. A Freewill Offering Scheme and a Clergy Fund had been started. Tyler Whittle died in Bournemouth on 27 January, 1969



1936 to 1947

He was Vicar of Gatley in the difficult and uncertain period of 1936-47, which included the whole of World War 2, as well as the years which led up to it. Our daughter Church of St. Catherines, Heald Green, was still under our care, and our Curate the Rev. E. H. Christopher helped there as well as at Gatley until 1940.

Mrs. Leaman opened a branch of the Mothers’ Union in Gatley, becoming its first Enrolling member in 1937, with 41 members. Alterations were made to the Church Hall, including the stage and lighting, and oak panelling was installed in the Church sanctuary. A Freewill Offering Scheme was revised, and the Church played its part in War Savings, the Red Cross, evacuees, and the Home Guard, encouraged by a thoughtful and dynamic Vicar. Reverend Leaman with his wife Mary Wilkinson Leaman and their children Pat, Ann and Donovan, organised and were involved in efforts of every kind.



1947 to 1956

 James Mitchell McTear was instituted and inducted Vicar of Gatley on 17th December, 1947, by the Venerable F. J. Okell, Archdeacon of Macclesfield, with Canon A. du T. Pownall, Rural Dean, performing the ceremony. The Rev. McTear had been two years Vicar of St. Matthews, Edgeley. He was an Army Chaplain in the 1939-45 War, and served at ‘Hell Fire’ Corner, Dover, Harwick, and in Egypt and India. He left Gatley in 1956 for Birkenhead.





1956 to 1964

The Reverend. A. L. Manning was inducted to the living of St. James by the Bishop of Stockport, the Rt. Rev. D. H. Saunders Davies, on 11th June, 1956. He was educated at St. Johns College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and came to Gatley from Wrenbury, Cheshire. His wife, Mary, and his children Kyle, Catherine, and Keith were all active in Church affairs. During his ministry a Mens’ Society, a Church Womens’ Fellowship, and a Dramatic Society were formed, with the Vicar playing parts in the latter. He was not only a man of great charm, but was also practical.

 During the Rev. Manning’s ministry various gifts were given to the Church, including the priests’ stalls, pulpit, lectern, font cover, missal stand, and a bookcase for choir books all of these items being in oak. He left Gatley in autumn 1964 for Timperley where he became Canon in 1965. He later became incumbent at Woodford, Cheshire.


1964 to 1969

Reverend J. P. Lloyd came to Gatley from Eglwys Oen Duw near Benlah Breconshire and was inducted to St. James by the Rt. Rev. Gerald Ellison, Bishop of Chester, on 12th December, 1964. During the five years he was with us he became friend and advisor to the whole of his congregation. He had the very special ability, not found in all incumbents, of being equally popular with young and old, and even the more sophisticated of the youth in the parish found common ground with him. 

The photograph on the right shows him in a very characteristic pose, making a careful note of some item raised by a parishioner at a Church Garden Party at Gatley Hill. Next to him, facing the camera, is his wife, Gwen, who worked closely with her husband, and took part in most parish activities. She was Welsh, full of drolleries, and could reduce a room full of people to helpless laughter in a few minutes with some anecdote of life in a country vicarage. They had four sons, Christopher, Timothy, Geoffrey, and Jeremy. Mr. Lloyd left Gatley in 1969, when his health had become impaired, and he took up a living at the quiet little village of Bickerton in Cheshire. He lived in retirement in Nantwich.


19699 to 1979

The Reverend. Gordon Strutt Bishop of Stockport officiated at his induction. Born in Ipswich John Frederick Serjeant was educated at Kings College University of London and St Boniface’s College Warminster. He was Curate at St Chad’s Over Winsford and then, before coming to Gatley, Mr. Serjeant was at St. Luke’s Brinnington where he served for ten years. His wife Margaret, and three children, Elizabeth, Jeremy and David, took an active part in village life. During his ministry he started a Vicar’s surgery which was held in the vestry each Monday for anyone who wished to consult him on personal matters.

On 12th August, 1979, Mr. Serjeant conducted his last service at St. James, and then joined a Group Ministry at St. Peters, Holton, Suffolk.


1980 to 1992

The Reverend Read took office in 1980. He was trained for the ministry by the Society of the Sacred Mission at Kelham, and was ordained at Durham. He came to St. James from Wilmslow, where he was Curate for four years at the Parish Church of St. Bartholomew. His Institution and Induction to St. James took place on Thursday, 7th February, 1980, the Lord Bishop of Stockport, the Right. Reverend. Gordon Strutt, and the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, The Venerable Rennie Simpson officiating.

Bob Read was born in Wallasey in 1947, and his wife Joan was born in Wilmslow also in 1947 They were married at Wilmslow on 9th September, 1979. Bob and Joan immersed themselves in the life of the parish. A particular memory is a Flower Festival organised by Joan in 1990 which was a resounding success.

Bob worked with local churches, our church groups and supported the youth group to diocesan football competitions and other occasions. In 1992 Bob and Joan moved to the parish of  St Albans in Offerton.


1992 to 2001

The Reverend Paul Moulton initially trained and practiced as a teacher. He was the Vicar at St Cross Knutsford before he taking up his position in Gatley. Paul, his wife Hilary and their family Nick and Sue took an active part in the life of the church and village. The photograph on the right shows Paul at the opening ceremony of the Walter Stansby Memorial Garden on Church Road. On leaving Gatley Paul and Hilary moved to St James and St Paul's Church Marton where he was responsible for four churches.


2001 to 2006

David Fisher had his first career in the law before training for the ministry. He was a curate at St George's Stockport prior to his appointment to St James. While he was incumbent in Gatley he married Gillian, daughter of Peter and Barbara Borthwick of  Norwood Road. Their first child Ceridwen was born while they were in Gatley. When he left Gatley he took up the living of St John the Evangelist at Great Sutton on the Wirral before being appointed to the position of Canon Precentor at Bangor Cathedral. His next appointment was to All Saints Carshalton in Surrey.


2007 to 2014

Now a Canon, Bob Read returned to our Parish. He was warmly welcomed by one and all. While his first imcumbency began with the celebrations for the Church building's centenary and the publication of 'Gatley a pictorial history of the Parish of St James the Apostle' his second appointment coincided with the 130th anniversary and this led to a series of events including the launch of 130 green balloons by Bishop Willie Pwaisiho, a pet service, a renewal of wedding vows and a day of thanksgiving and fellowship. In 2014 Bob and Joan retired. Some of their retirement was spent in the village.



Matthew was born in Whitefield and lived there until he was seven. His family then moved to Lytham as his dad was appointed the vicar of St John's, Lytham.

He read theology at Manchester University as an undergraduate and after leaving university was unsure what to do but felt a call to ministry. He worked in various jobs for two years, including as a postman, a barman and in a shop, and then went to do a year's placement as a pastoral assistant at St Mary's, Tottenham. It was during this time that he was accepted to train for ordained ministry and went on to study at Westcott House in Cambridge for three years. He was ordained Deacon in 2002 and served at St James, East Crompton in the diocese of Manchester, and then went on to serve at St John's and St Luke's, Heywood for nearly ten years. Emily and he were married in 2005 and they have two children, Joel and Anya.

Site under development. Please come back soon and see our new material.

St Mary Stockport 2-2.jpg
St Thomas Stockport
1893c Melborne Cottage Church Road.jpg
1894 Mr J Bruster erects a building to house the parish magazine printing press assisted b
1937 c after leaving Gatley SWScan00725.jpg
1947 Reverend Leaman & Family SWScan00763-2-2.jpg
1937 Mothers Union begins SWScan00744.jpg
1953 SWScan00568 (2).jpg
1956 - 64 Family holiday with Mr A Wood SWScan00633 (2).jpg
1964 Garden Party (2)-2.jpg
1990 Flower Festival 001 (3).jpg
1990 Pastor Tony Powell Revd Bob Read Revd Stephen Brown.jpg
1998 25 04 Opening Walter Stansby Mem Park.jpg
031 DF & GF.jpg
2011 12 04 Anniversary Party.JPG
2018 05 Back in Gatley in retirement _20180506_095959.JPG
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