Christ Church Heaton
Diocese of Manchester
Church of England
In 1878 a second-hand Iron Church was erected to provide for the servants from the palatial homes of the cotton magnates of Bolton that lined Chorley New Road. The first generation of mill owners continued their allegiance to Deane parish church, being the ancient parish from which Heaton was carved.
In 1896 the present church was consecrated. It was designed by local architect, R. K. Freeman and took just over twelve months to build at a contract cost of around £4,000. The provision of essential furnishings cost nearly as much! The font (at the west end) is half the shell of a clam which is significant as the shell is the Medieval symbol of pilgrims and reminds worshippers that we are all 'pilgrims in this world' seeking to attain Heaven through Christ Jesus.
The next generation of the landed gentry moved their allegiance to Christ Church. In 1901 the Chancel was enhanced with some fine woodwork. The delicate Choir screen was installed; the reredos enlarged and new choir stalls replaced existing mediocre pine stalls. One considerable defect was in the extent and physical state of the original organ. When the church became the House of God for the mill-owners, the instrument was considered quite inadequate to lead the worship of the Lord and a new instrument was built in 1908. This was reconstructed and enlarged in 1946 to provide the basis of the fine instrument that leads our worship today. The stained glass windows have their own stories to tell.
Changes are constantly being made to meet the requirements of the present generation as the church is for the living Christian community. The most significant in the past decades was the construction of the Parish Centre in 1987.