St Barnabas’ Church
Clarksfield, Oldham


The first ever wedding at St Barnabas’ Church

St Barnabas’ Church was originally a mission church of St James, Barry Street, Oldham. Its foundation stone is dated November 1911.

In direct consequence of being a mission church, the building was not licensed for weddings and baptisms. The situation changed on 27 February 1932, when the Bishop of Manchester dedicated the present Church. At the same time, the present Parish of Clarksfield was carved out of the giant parish of St James. Sydney Cook was the first Vicar.  

As a parish church in its own right, St Barnabas’ Church was now available to conduct weddings and baptisms. So, a mere handful of days after its dedication, St Barnabas’ Vicar was calling the banns of marriage for a local couple, Norman Hill and Annie Lees. The first ever wedding in our church occurred on Saturday 28 March, 1932.

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Revd Cooke presented Norman and Annie each with a copy of the Book of Common Prayer. He wrote an inscription on the inside fly leaf. Inside Annie’s copy (below), it said:

To Annie Lees on the occasion of her marriage to Norman Hill March 28 1932 being the first marriage in the Parish Church of St. Barnabas, Clarksfield, Oldham. With all good wishes from Sidney Cooke (Vicar).

The inscription in Norman’s book is the same except for the necessary changes of name and grammar. 


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The wonderful event was soon advertised in the April 1932 edition of St Barnabas’ own newsletter (please click for a larger image):


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Norman and Annie remained in Oldham for the remainder of the long lives together. Indeed, their son — also called Norman — remains in Oldham, and is now a member of St Mary with St Peter, otherwise known as Oldham Parish Church.

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Page posted 10 September 2012