Brookfield Unitarian Church,
The main attraction of Gorton for me, as the author of this Kinder
history, is the Brookfield Unitarian Church which lies on the main road
Gorton to Manchester. It is likely that this is the
church which was used by my Early Kinders
Kinder and Mary Rider. It is also likely that James and
Mary's first 5 children were baptised here.
Robert Sidall 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 worshipof the Old Chapel, known as Gorton Chapel, in the year 1703.
Whether this date be exactly correct is not certain but it is close.
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