New Book Charts Unique Church History

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The history of a Tameside church which dates back to the 1530s has been chronicled in a new book which was launched on Thursday, April 14. The book charts the history, recent restoration work and archaeological investigation work of St Lawrence's Church in Denton.

It is the latest in the Archaeology of Tameside series being brought to the public through a partnership between Tameside Council and the University of Manchester Archaeology Unit.

St Lawrence's is one of only 29 medieval timber-framed chapels and churches to survive in England and Wales and was the last to be built, in the 1530s, just a few years before the Reformation.

The book, St Lawrence's Church and the Archaeology of the Medieval Timber-framed Churches of England and Wales, by Dr Michael Nevell and Ivan Hradil was launched by Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Cllr Roy Oldham, at St Lawrence's Church on April 14 as can be seen in the following video.

It is priced £7.95.

Many publications for sale are on display so that customers can browse at leisure.

Text Only Version

Dr Michael Nevell. University of Manchester Archaelogical Unit

We've had a team of 6 or 7 people over the years working on the church, because this is isn't something we've just knocked up so to speak, in the last 6 months. This book has been in gestation since 1993 when the restoration works first began on St Lawrence's. So this is the product of 12 year's work both by the council, by the church, and by the university, in recording and studying the building. So it gives the university, great pleasure to thank Tameside for their continuing support of the Tameside Archaeological survey. And I hope that we can continue to produce books on sites as wonderful and unique as St Lawrence's in the future.

Councillor Oldham, thank you very much.

Councillor S.R. Oldham, Chief Executive Tameside Council

Mr Mayor, Madam Mayor, Canon Cassidy, distinguished guests. We're here again. This is the 12th volume, the 12 th book that we've had completed by the Manchester University people. And it's a particular one this. Many of them which we had done were general and covered the whole of Tameside. But in this particular addition, we're talking about St Lawrence's church. Which as every knows, is a particularly important facility, dates to the 16 th Century, and is one of few timber frame churches that exist. There are 29 of them, and this is one of them. It's commonly known as the ‘old peg'', because it didn't have any metal nails, it was put together with wooden dowels. It was preserved to some degree by the Victorians who nailed ship's boarding on it, Tongue and groove boarding, covering up the vertical posts, the old posts, and the wattle and daub, and painted it black and white. Most of that's been removed, and you can see now exactly how it ought to be.

Tameside Council is committed to preserving our buildings, and to revealing our heritage. Too few people are aware, and particularly the younger ones, of the interest in history, that the area of Tameside has. Whether in fact it be, a religious building like St Lawrence's, or some historical fact like Ridge furrows in Meadowland. I am very pleased to see this document, this volume, which reveals to everybody, the history, and the way that the church was built, and it's importance in the historical framed buildings of this country. Looking at the list of ministers, the first is Sir Roger Ward in 1533,and the present one is the Reverend Ronald Cassidy, Canon Cassidy,1989, with a dash, and I hope that that dash stays there for some considerable time, and I'm sure you do. Because it's been an extraordinary situation, that Reverend Cassidy has been so helpful, in allowing people to visit the area which he is pastor over, and to get all the details and facts and figures so, I'd like to thank you on behalf of everybody Canon, for being so helpful, because we don't always meet that sort of situation, but you have been particularly helpful. And I'd like to thank Mike Nevell, and Ivan Hradil for producing this volume. Thank you again for this book and I officially declare that it is on sale to all who wish to purchase... Thank you

Canon Ron Cassidy, Rector St Lawrence's Denton

May I say just very briefly, on behalf of the folk of St Lawrence's, our thanks to the leader, to Tameside Council and all who supported this project, and to Mike, and in particular his ability to get to discover things about the past that we've been wondering about for ages, it never ceases to amaze me. I'm sure he must have his own version of the Tardis at home which actually takes him back to these times to discover the facts. But, as he himself said, we've had a long working relationship with the archaeological department stretching back to 1993, as we've gone on with different stages of the restoration work. Then Mike and his team have stepped in to help us understand what we've discovered, and to help explain it and put it in context, and that's been a very rewarding relationship. The other point I'd like to make is that archaeology is not just about the past, yes it's about learning about the past, but the work that was done for example recently in the ground survey in the churchyard, will be a great help to us, in the future projects that we have here, particularly the housing and the community centre that we're proposing to build, again in partnership with the council. So it links, past, present, and future and I think it's particularly valuable to us at St Lawrence's for that reason, so thank you Mike, thank you Leader, and thank you all that have participated in this programme.