Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton, Lancashire, England

The main attraction of Gorton for me, as the author of this Kinder family history, is the Brookfield Unitarian Church which lies on the main road from Gorton to Manchester.  It is likely that this is the church which was used by my Early Kinders including James Kinder and Mary Rider.  It is also likely that James and Mary's first 5 children were baptised here.

Robert Sidall[2] has collected much Brookfield Church memorabilia including this edited description of the bicentenary celebrations of 1903 --  "In 1903, the members of Brookfield Church, Gorton, celebrated the bicentenary of the opening for public worship of the Old Chapel, known as Gorton Chapel, in the year 1703. Whether this date be exactly correct is not certain but it is close.  In those days Gorton was a village, with a small population.  The inhabitants, as far as reported, were engaged in hat making and in hand-loom weaving.  The stream, now known as the Gore Brook, would then present a very different appearance from what it does now.  Its waters were stocked with fish, which drew the patient angler to its banks to while away a lazy hour of an evening.  In a large house not far from the river lived the Lord of the Manor, or Squire, and round about were the cottage homes of the people.  There was then no well-made Hyde Road as there is now; there would be no schools, as at present, except the dame's school.  The education then given would be mostly given on the Sunday.  The only place of worship for yearsprevious to 1700, to which the people would resort, was the Parish Church, known as Gorton Chapel, then under the protection of the College authorities at Manchester, corresponding to the Cathedral Chapter now.  But in that time of religious turmoil there were a few people in the village who were dissatisfied with the tenets of the State Church, and who openly dissented from its teachings.  They would not attend the Parish Church, but they met secretly for worship in the upper room of a house near the top of Cross Lane, just where it joins Abbey Hey Lane today.  We may rest assured that these Dissenters would not long remain content with their temporary meeting-place, and hence we find that about the year 1703 a Dissenting Chapel was built and opened for worship in what was known as Gorton Vale.  This building was the Old Chapel in which our forefathers met to worship God Sunday after Sunday, and the opening of which we are commemorating this year."

Church and Graveyard Layout

  1. Robert Siddall,