The Church

We have to be honest about the church building's origins.

Way back in 10th century we are aware that there was some form of Christian presence in the Deane area. There are no documents surviving that show where, or even if, there was a building used for worship. What we do know, however, is that Bolton and Deane are mentioned in the Domesday Book. So that is where we will start to piece together the history of our church buildings.

There was a monastery at Stanlawe on the banks of the Mersey. They set up a church at Eccles and in turn built a chapel at Deane. What we do not know is whether there was a formalised meeting place already existing in the area. It is likely that as an established hamlet existed then some form of meeting place would have been been created for social purposes.

The first documented evidence is that of a priest being assigned to the hamlet. His name was Thomas and the date mentioned was 1227.

We then follow the document trail and find reference to the mother church of Deane, at Eccles, building a chapel at Deane. Again, there are no documents surviving that show what the building looked like. Detective work now becomes an influence in our understanding.

We know that the tower is the oldest part of the building. Nowhere near as tall as it is now, but still a substantial structure. If careful observation is made of the stonework it can be seen that there are three distinct areas. The bottom section rises to a height of around *****feet. The next section pushes the height to around ****** feet and the the final section to ******* feet. There is a low door in the tower wall on the west and this is of Norman style. Architects will argue that there was not a magical date when the styles changed but that change happened gradually, but the style could not have existed before a certain date.

We also know that the population at Deane was not in the thousands, so we can safely assume that the farmers in the area were not the only villagers. There would have been the blacksmith or farrier, the miller, builder and others essential for a disciplined community. So the congregation would not have been sufficient to fill a large building.

Evidence for the growth in the church building comes from the differences in the pillars. There are no two that are of the same dimensions.

Let us return to the tower. There is a small door on the west wall but a very tall arch on the east wall. Coupled with the stonework the conclusion to be drawn is that the church stands on the original site of the chapel.