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The Oldest Church in Stockport

St Mary’s Church is the oldest parish church in the town of Stockport in Greater Manchester. It stands in Churchgate overlooking the  Stockport marketplace. The church is part of the National Heritage List for England and is a Grade I listed structure to protect its heritage. A church building was on the existing  site  as early as  1190 but nothing  of this original  church  remains but the  oratory (which is currently an annex to the vestry) remains. About 1310 a new church was built and of this later structure only the  chancel remains.  The current church was built between 1813 and  1817 and it was the  design of Lewis Wyatt. Thirty years after it was constructed there was more reconstruction carried out  in 1848 to replace weather-beaten stonework. The stone is soft and in those days the pollution mixed with rain was very acidic which caused rapid erosion of the stone  The tower originated in the 14th century and this  was restored in 1612and also  again in 1810

In the church are a number of monoliths, consisting of one dated 1753 by Daniel Sephton in  memory of William Wright.  Other memorials include one to Sir George Warren who died in 1801 by Sir Richard Westmacott depicting a standing woman  by an urn on a column, another  to Rev Charles Prescott that died in 1820, also dedicated by Westmacott, showing a seated effigy,  another to James Antrobus Newton who died in 1823 dedicated by  Bacon junior and S. Manning showing  several stooping women, and  to Mrs Hawall who died in 1852 dedicated by the Latham  family of Manchester showing  angels floating over her body. On the chancel arc are the coat  of arms of George III in plaster. The church documents start in 1584. There are  10 church bells. Seven of these were cast by John Rudhall in 1817 and the other three by John Taylor & Carbon in 1897

A rectory was developed for the church in 1744 to replace  an earlier timber-framed building of 16th-century origin. It was the vicarage , and later on the residence of  diocesans of Stockport, up until the 1950s.

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