History of St John’s

The Catholic Church in Chorlton

The new church dedicated to Our Lady and St. John the Evangelist was begun in March, 1926. The church was blessed on Saturday, June 11th, 1927 and the first Mass said on that morning. The next day, Trinity Sunday, June 12th, the Bishop of Salford, Dr. Thomas Henshaw, said Pontifical High Mass and gave Pontifical Benediction.
–    So began the journey of faith at St. John’s.   –
Although Chorlton was the birthplace of St Ambrose Barlow, who was martyred – in rather grim fashion – in 1641, the Catholic Church did not have a formal presence in Chorlton again for another 250 years.

In 1892, Fr Jerome Vaughan established St Peter’s Chapel on Barlow Moor Road. He was succeeded at St Peter’s by Fr Paul Dootson. 

Fr Frederick Pozzi Holt went on to establish St Augustine’s church on High Lane, which he served, until the appointment of Mgr Joseph Kelly in 1916, who in turn, would oversee the raising of the church we are so lucky to enjoy today. 
The Church of St. John, was built to replace St Augustine’s, which would go on to future uses including as a school and since 2001, St John’s Parish Centre. The new church was not to be named St. Augustine’s as it was considered too confusing, with St. Augustine’s Chorlton-on-Medlock only 3 miles down the road. In addition, Mr and Mrs John Leeming had bequeathed money to secure the building of the church, so dedicating the church in the name of St John the Evangelist was deemed to be particularly appropriate.
The church and presbytery were to be very impressive buildings, with the very fine interior in carved oak, mosaic and stained glass, commissioned from Stuflesser, Eric Newton of Ludwig Oppenheimer and also Mayer of Munich, exhibiting some of the very best examples of their work.

St John’s became a thriving parish and in turn, went on to support the establishment of St Teresa’s, Firswood and St Ambrose, West Didsbury. Today, the church continues as one of the largest in the diocese, with a thriving community and care of three outstanding and ever more popular schools. A legacy, for which the early pioneers of the parish would be very proud.