Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester

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Holy Name Church
Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Chorlton on Medlock
Image-The Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester-2.jpg
View of the entrance
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Holy Name Church
Location with Manchester
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Holy Name Church
Holy Name Church (Greater Manchester)
Coordinates: 53°27′52″N2°13′52″W / 53.4645°N 2.2311°W / 53.4645; -2.2311
OS grid reference SJ8475796438
Location Manchester
Denomination Roman Catholic
Status Chapel of ease
Founded15 October 1871 (1871-10-15)
Founder(s) Bishop William Turner
Dedication Holy Name of Jesus
Consecrated 1923
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade I
Designated18 December 1963
Architect(s) J. A. Hansom and Son
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1869
Length186 ft (57 m)
Width122 ft (37 m)
Spire height185 ft (56 m)
Materials Moulded Terracotta
Warwick Bridge stone
Parish St. Augustine Church [1]
Deanery Chorlton-on-Medlock
Diocese Salford
Province Liverpool
Bishop(s) Rt. Rev. John Arnold
Rector Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ
Priest in charge Fr Peter Scally SJ
Priest(s) Fr James Crampsey SJ
Director of music Mr Luke Mather
Organist(s) Mr Simon Leach
Music group(s)Mrs Sarah Insall
Parish administratorBr Geoff Te Braake SJ

The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus on Oxford Road, Manchester, England was designed by Joseph A. Hansom and built between 1869 and 1871. [2] The tower, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott, was erected in 1928 in memory of Fr Bernard Vaughan, SJ. The church has been Grade I listed on the National Heritage List for England since 1989, having previously been Grade II* listed since 1963. [3]

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.7 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.287 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.

Adrian Gilbert Scott English architect

Adrian Gilbert Scott was an English ecclesiastical architect.

Bernard Vaughan British writer

Bernard Vaughan (1847–1922) was an English Roman Catholic clergyman, brother of Herbert and John Stephen Vaughan.



Fr Bernard Vaughan SJ BernardVaughan.jpg
Fr Bernard Vaughan SJ

In 1860, William Turner, the first bishop of Salford, invited the Jesuits to make a home in Chorlton-on-Medlock, at the time a middle class suburb.

William Turner (bishop of Salford) English Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Bishop of Salford

William Turner (1799–1872) was an English Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Bishop of Salford from 1851 to 1872. After his ordination to the priesthood, he served in the poorer parishes of central Manchester, and was appointed Vicar General for the Lancashire District.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded by Ignatius of Loyola with the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

As well as the growing middle classes, Manchester was home to a large and expanding population of Irish immigrants who migrated to work in cotton manufacturing, especially after the Great Famine. In the area known as Little Ireland, the Parish of St Mary, Mulberry Street was unable to cope; in twenty years, thirteen priests had succumbed to typhus whilst working amongst the city's poor. [4]

Great Famine (Ireland) Famine in Ireland, 1845–1849

The Great Famine, or the Great Hunger, was a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. With the most severely affected areas in the west and south of Ireland, where the Irish language was dominant, the period was contemporaneously known in Irish as An Drochshaol, loosely translated as the "hard times". The worst year of the period was 1847, known as "Black '47"). During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%.

The Hidden Gem church in Manchester, UK

The Hidden Gem, officially St Mary's Catholic Church, on Mulberry Street, Manchester, England, was originally opened in 1794, with devotion to St Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption, then rebuilt in 1848.

Typhus group of infectious diseases

Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure.

The Jesuits had a formidable record of outreach and missionary work, and this was put to good use. Whilst he was rector from 1888 to 1901, [5] Fr Bernard Vaughan SJ took part in a series of debates with the Anglican Bishop of Manchester, James Moorhouse, over rival claims of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church of England to be the Catholic Church in England and successor of St. Augustine. In their jubilation, the young men of Holy Name pulled his carriage from the city centre all the way to the church. [6]

Outreach activity of providing services to populations who might not otherwise have access to those services

Outreach is an activity of providing services to any populations who might not otherwise have access to those services. A key component of outreach is that the groups providing it are not stationary, but mobile; in other words they are meeting those in need of outreach services at the locations where those in need are. In addition to delivering services, outreach has an educational role, raising the awareness of existing services.. It includes identification of underserved population and referral to services.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

The Bishop of Manchester is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Manchester in the Province of York.


Main altar Altar, Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester.JPG
Main altar

Bishop Turner was keen to have a church in Chorlton-on-Medlock staffed with priests who could meet the intellectual, apologetic and controversial needs of Manchester. Jesuits from St Helens came to settle, at first in a temporary church (now the site of the Holy Name Hall, which has since been sold). Holy Name was made a parish church to serve the growing populations of the parishes of Longsight and Chorlton-on-Medlock, as villas were replaced by streets as the population of industrial Manchester grew. The construction of the building re-inforced the power of the Jesuit order and the revived confidence of the English Catholics. It is the largest church in Manchester and dominates the surrounding area.

St Helens, Merseyside town in Merseyside, England

St Helens is a large town in Merseyside, England, with a population of 102,629. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, which had a population of 176,843 at the 2001 Census.

Longsight inner city area of Manchester

Longsight is an inner city area of Manchester, England, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the city centre, bounded by Ardwick and West Gorton to the north, Belle Vue to the east, Levenshulme to the south, and Chorlton-on-Medlock, Victoria Park and Fallowfield to the west. Historically in Lancashire, it had a population of 15,429 at the 2011 census.

The church's's dimensions and proportions are on the scale of a 14th-century cathedral; it is 186 feet long east to west and 112 feet wide. The architect Joseph Aloysius Hansom (who gave his name to the Hansom Cab) based the building on Gothic styles of France. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described it as

Cathedral Christian church that is the seat of a bishop

A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches. Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appeared in Italy, Gaul, Spain and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century, by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches and episcopal residences.

Gothic architecture Style of architecture

Gothic architecture is a style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Originating in 12th-century France, it was widely used, especially for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century.

Nikolaus Pevsner German-born British scholar

Sir Nikolaus Bernhard Leon Pevsner was a German-British art historian and architectural historian best known for his monumental 46-volume series of county-by-county guides, The Buildings of England (1951–74).

"...a design of the very highest quality and of an originality nowhere demonstrative; ... Hansom never again did so marvellous a church." [7]

Although mediaeval in appearance, it is a counter-Reformation church, designed to teach the faith through its external liturgical and devotional manifestation. It gives maximum exposure to the solemn celebration of the Mass (a raised altar near the congregation with no rood screen, and a shallow, broad sanctuary), the cult of the Eucharist (the eye is first carried to the tabernacle and the exposition throne above), preaching (a large pulpit to place the preacher intimately in the congregation), and the hearing of confessions (the whole north side is taken up with confessionals designed for long hours of priestly ministration). Consequently, the pillars in the church are unusually slender, accomplished by making the roof of the church from hollow terracotta tubes, manufactured by Gibbs and Canning Limited. [8]

Built in brick, it is clad in brushed Warwick stone. It has been suggested that Hansom's original design called for a broad steeple 73 feet high. In 1928 the tower was built, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott.

The nave can accommodate 800 worshippers. Small chapels adorn the south side, along with the baptistery towards the west. On the north side are confessionals, each with a fireplace. Between the confessionals and the chapels are the Stations of the Cross. Throughout the church there are devotional statues and images.


Nave Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester.JPG

At the Holy Name Mass is celebrated in English. The celebration of the liturgy is designed to be catechetical, with solemn ritual, music, hymns and a familiar preaching style. Sunday Mass lasts about an hour. Weekday Masses, designed to suit the student timetable, are at 1.05pm in the church and 6.00pm in the chaplaincy - the latter during term time only. Each lunchtime there is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at noon, during which confessions are heard.


The organ is located at the west end of the nave. Built in 1871 by William Hill & Son of London, [9] it has 48 speaking stops over three-manuals and pedals. [10] It was completely rebuilt in 1926 by Messrs Wadsworth Ltd and restored in 2004. It is maintained by David Wells of Liverpool. The lead pipes on the front of the case are ornately diapered and were restored to their original colour scheme of lighter shades of red and green with gold motifs. Above the organ and choir loft are two gilded angels.

Music for the Solemn Mass follows the decrees of the Vatican, and utilises Gregorian chant and polyphony on Sundays (with congregational English hymns), whilst for major solemnities there are classical organ and orchestral settings from the 17th to the 21st century.


The bishop asked the Jesuits to close the church in 1985. By then the congregation had dwindled because of local shifts in housing and demographics, and the church was closed for most of the day. The diocese did not want it, so the major superiors of England and Wales were asked to consider its viability. A community of secular priests and lay brothers (an Oratory of St Philip in Formation) came to Manchester in 1992 and since then the church has been in the process of massive renovation project. It is open daily and congregational numbers have increased.[ citation needed ]

In September 2012, it was announced that the Jesuits would return to Manchester to take over the chaplaincy to the Universities, the Royal Northern College of Music and the church. The Oratory community at the Holy Name under Fr Raymond Matus was relocated to St Chad's, Cheetham Hill where Bishop Terence Brain had granted them permission to establish a Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. [11]

The Smiths

Manchester popular music band The Smiths referred to the Holy Name church in one of the lyrics in Vicar in a Tutu, "I was minding my business lifting some lead off the roof of The Holy Name church".

Funeral of Pat Phoenix

The funeral of locally born actress Pat Phoenix, best known for her role of Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street , was held at the church following her death in September 1986.[ citation needed ]

See also

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Manchester is a city in Northwest England. The M13 postcode area is to the south of the centre of the city and includes parts of the districts of Chorlton-on-Medlock and Longsight. The postcode area contains 38 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, one is listed at Grade I, the highest of the three grades, seven are at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade. The area includes the main buildings of the University of Manchester, some of which are listed, as are some hospitals. The area is otherwise mainly residential, and the other listed buildings include houses, some of which have been converted for other uses, churches and chapels, public houses, former public baths, a museum, a milepost, railings, a statue, and a war memorial.

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  1. Directory, Diocese of Salford Retrieved 29 January 2013
  2. Harris, Penelope, The Architectural Achievement of Joseph Aloysius Hansom (18031882), Designer of the Hansom Cab, Birmingham Town Hall and Churches of the Catholic Revival (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2010).
  3. Historic England, "Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Name of Jesus (1271296)", National Heritage List for England , retrieved 4 December 2017
  4. History, Hidden Gem Church, Manchester Retrieved 29 January 2013
  5. Holy Name Church, Oxford Road, Manchester History Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 29 January 2013
  6. Vaughan's Sermon a Paean of Praise, New York Times Archive Retrieved 29 January 2013
  7. Pevsner, Nikolaus, Lancashire: Manchester & the South-East (2004) ISBN   978-0-300-10583-4
  8. Pevsner Architectural Guides - Manchester, Clare Hartwell, 2001, ISBN   0-300-09666-6
  9. "Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester - The Organ". Archived from the original on 6 August 2007.
  10. "The National Pipe Organ Register - Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester".
  11. "The Manchester Oratory by Holy Name" . Retrieved 2 September 2012.[ permanent dead link ]