A Brief History of Saint Paul’s, Royton.

By an indenture made on the 9th August 1753, Thomas Percival of Royton, in consideration of the sum of one shilling, paid to him by Ralph Taylor and other trustees, sold a plot of land in Royton called Downey Field and another plot of land called The Acre. Their purpose was to erect a good substantial building of brick or stone and oak timbers and other lasting materials in the form of a chapel…. Thus were the beginnings of Saint Paul’s

The chapel was ready to be dedicated on the 10th August 1754 and consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Chester on the 1st July 1757. This building was a chapel of ease to the mother church of Saint Mary, Prestwich.  Indeed, the Vicar of Prestwich is Patron of the Living to this day.  It was a rectangular building, lighted by four windows in the north and south walls, with galleries running along all inner walls.

In 1854, the building was enlarged.  An additional bay and window was added at each end.  The steeple which had stood outside the church was now incorporated into the building.

In 1883 the church was further enlarged by taking out part of the east wall and building the present chancel.  The east window in memory of John and Jane Holden was inserted at this time.

In 1888 plans for what was almost the rebuilding of the church were approved.  The Nave was taken down and a new and enlarged Nave erected.  On the south side, many graves which had once been outside were suddenly inside the new building. Choir and clergy vestries were added and a new organ chamber was created on the north side.  On Saturday 6th April 1889 a stone laying ceremony saw the laying of two stones.  One stone was laid by Mrs. Holden of Highlands House, the other by Colonel le Gendre W.Starkie.

Thus the old rural chapel faded from local memory and the new stately Parish Church took its place in the affections of succeeding generations of Roytonians.

Whilst the interior of the present church has been reordered many times, the only significant structural alterations were those of 1919 which incorporated the War Memorial.  In 1925 a new Choir Vestry was created and a chapel of Our Lady was provided by removing the west wall of the old Choir Vestry.

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Our Schools

The Church has always been connected to St. Paul’s Primary School. In 1785 it was decided that the village needed a Day School. This was built in Chapel Lane and continued there until 1833 when St, Paul’s National School was built in Chapel Croft. The connection was still kept, the old school becoming the Sunday School. In 1838 a dispute between the then vicar and the Sunday School led to a break away. The National School flourished and in 1887 it was extended. In 1929 the older children left to go to the newly opened St. Anne’s Secondary School. Even then the school was overcrowded, leading to Downey House being purchased from Dr. Bentley in 1933 for approximately £2,000.

By 1977 the old school had outlived its usefulness and a new school was built in Hindle Drive. The connection between the Church and school still being maintained. The Vicar and some parishioners serving on the Board of Governors. By the middle 1990’s the L.E.A. decided, to incorporate Downey House Infants School  with the Junior School in Hindle Drive; extending and improving that building. The Church took over Downey House and developed it as their Parish Centre. In 1998 St. Paul’s Aided Primary School & Nursery was born, a great step forward as the connection now became greater than before.

Acts of collective worship are quality time enjoyed by staff and pupils alike. The School also has its own Church services on a regular basis. A great achievement for all concerned.