St. Chads Cheadle
Welcome to the website of St. Chad’s Catholic Parish in Cheadle, Stockport. We hope you will find it informative and helpful.
St. Chad's is part of the Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury (registered charity number 234025), comprising of the adjoining villages of Cheadle and Gatley.
CHEADLE AND GATLEY
Cheadle is a small town in the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport in Greater Manchester. It is believed to date back approximately 1,500 to 2,000 years. It appears in the Domesday book of 1086 under the name 'Cedde' which means "a clearing in the wood".
The name is also thought to derive from Chad (perhaps meaning Chad's Hill).
St Chad was Bishop of Lichfield in the 7th century and Cheadle would have been part of his diocese. In 1874 a medieval preaching cross was found near the Parish Church of St. Mary. It is in the distinctive form of the cross of St. Chad, which is also found in the arms of Lichfield Cathedral. The same cross also features on the lamp posts at the entrance to Cheadle Village.
Gatley is slightly smaller and younger than Cheadle. Until Victorian times it was largely a farming community and although now surrounded by urban areas, it still retains something of the atmosphere of a country village.
St. Chads Parish
St. Chad's Parish began as a Mass Centre served from Edgeley. Mass was first celebrated in 1900 in a private chapel at Cheadle Old Hall which stood between Cheadle Institute and what is now Queens Gardens. Fr. Abram, the priest at Edgeley, purchased an area of open ground on Stockport Road between Bank Street and Jackson Street. A corrugated iron chapel was constructed on the site as a Chapel of Ease, dedicated to St. Chad. It was blessed on 2nd October 1904 and was served by the priest at Our Lady's Edgeley - first Fr. Abram and then Fr. McGreever.
In 1928 Fr. Peter Lancelot Pears was appointed to Cheadle as the first resident priest. He quickly realised that a new church was needed to house the growing congregation. Bishop Hugh Singleton laid the foundation stone on 24th August 1930, and the church was completed and opened on 15th February 1931. At the same time Fr. Pears built a presbytery beside the church and he lived there until he left the parish in 1938.
He was replaced by Father (later Canon) Howe. He came to Cheadle from Our Lady's, Stockport, and it was through his efforts that the debt on the parish was cleared. He began to celebrate Mass on Sundays at the King's Hall, Cheadle Hulme and once a month at the Heald Green Hotel. As these communities developed, two new parishes were formed, each with their own church. In 1952 Canon Howe left St. Chad's to become the first parish priest of St. Ann's, Cheadle Hulme.
Canon Howe was succeeded by Fr. Bernard Houghton. Fr. Houghton stayed for almost thirty years and it fell to him to implement the enormous changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council. In order for the altar to be brought forward so that Mass could be celebrated facing the people, the baldacchino had to be removed. The enthusiastic and proficient choir needed an ancient and failing harmonium to be replaced by a single manual organ in 1960. It was upgraded to two manuals in 1979. Fr. Houghton paid off the final debt on the church and so the way was clear for it to be consecrated by Bishop John Brewer on 18th February 1981, just six months before Fr. Houghton retired. Only days after he had left, he suffered a heart attack and died.
Fr. Peter Morgan replaced Fr. Houghton and continued to implement the changes of Vatican II. To encourage the participation of the whole congregation in the liturgy he brought the choir down from the loft into the main body of the church. The old iron church had been used as a parish hall since 1931, but it had passed its sell-by date and it was decided to build a new hall in front of the presbytery. Fr. Morgan left in 1984 shortly before the new hall was opened.
His successor was Fr. Jim Robinson. He continued to build up the parish, particularly its spiritual life, over the next four years. He was replaced in 1988 by Fr. Frank Rice. He oversaw the painting of the interior of the church where the bare brick had become dark and discoloured. In 1997 Fr. Danny Canning replaced Fr. Rice. He oversaw the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the church early in 2006, not long before he left. He had also arranged for a completely new heating system for the church, but he had gone before it was installed. In the summer of 2006 Fr. Danny retired to his native Derry.
Fr. John arrived in September 2006 and he began an extensive programme of refurbishment in the church, the hall and the presbytery. A new sound system was installed in church, the floor was sanded and varnished, the sanctuary carpet was replaced, a whole matching set of furniture was installed in the sanctuary, personalised with the Cross of St. Chad. Meanwhile the parish continued to develop as an active and welcoming community with many longstanding groups and organizations continuing to flourish as they do to this day. Although these are difficult days for the Church, the congregation remains steady at around 250 at Mass each weekend. In 2007 Bishop Brian grouped the parishes of the Diocese into Local Pastoral Areas, so that parishes could co-operate more effectively with each other and share resources. St. Chad's was linked again with its daughter churches, St. Ann's and Christ Church, and Fr. John was elected as Co-Chair of the LPA Team.
Address: St. Chad's Presbytery, Stockport Road, Cheadle, SK8 2AF
Tel: 0161 428 2480