The Church of St Alban's

In 1853, a meeting at St Chad’s Parish church decided that another church was needed due to the growing number of worshippers. The town’s population was expanding as the textile trade increased, and the areas around Sparth Bottoms, Pinfold and Freehold had many densely populated rows of terraced housing.

So St Alban’s Church was built on a site near to the ancient medieval castle site, on land given by Mr Abraham Brierley of West Hill, a high churchman and freemason.  The church was designed by Mr Joseph Clarke, F.S.A, in a “modern Gothic” style adopted by church builders during the reign of Edward 1, 1274. The church was completed at a cost of £5000.

On July 15th 1854, Mr Brierley laid the foundation stone after a service at St Chad’s. A procession – said to be a gathering of between five and ten thousand people - then wound its way from the Parish Church to the rising walls of St Alban's.

The first Holy Communion was celebrated in St Alban’s on Sunday 3rd February 1856 and the church was formally opened on Sunday 9th March. The first Vicar of St Alban’s was Rev. John Webster Parker.

The West Window, depicting the life of St. Paul, was erected by subscriptions as a memorial to the Rev. Parker.

The spire was 140 feet high and the tower held eight bells, presented in 1870 by Jonathan and Ellen Nield as a thanksgiving on the 21st anniversary of their wedding.

Why St Alban’s? – the story was often told from the pulpit of a young Roman officer, Alban, who in 303 A.D, during the Diocletian persecution, bowed his neck to the Roman sword of martyrdom instead of the Christian priest who he had been sheltering.

A declining congregation and increased maintenance costs led to the closure of the church in 1971 and it was demolished in 1973.

The magnificent carved alabaster font, given by Mr Abraham Brierley in 1872, is now in St Paul’s Church, Salford.  There you can also see a wrought iron Altar Rail and 2 alabaster angels, also restored.