SGM is not named after the patron saint of England, but after George Marsh (1515-1555).
This is because of his connexion with our mother church, St Mary’s, Deane. He was
born in Deane. He worked as a farmer. When his wife died he went into the ministry,
studying theology at Cambridge before being ordained in 1552. He was appointed by
Edward VI as an itinerant “preaching minister” for Lancashire, especially Eccles,
Bury and Bolton, and he often preached at Deane Church.
He was a Protestant, but when Queen Mary came to the throne in 1553, she wanted to
suppress Protestantism and restore Roman Catholicism, so he decided to leave the
country, but in March 1554, as he was visiting his family in Deane to bid them farewell,
a warrant was issued for his arrest, so he went to Smithills Hall, where he was detained
on a charge of “preaching false doctrine”. He was imprisoned in Lathom House in
West Lancashire and then in Lancaster Castle. When all attempts to get him to recant
failed, he was eventually transferred to Chester, where he was burned at the stake
on 24th April 1555.
Work was started on SGM in 1878 to replace a small iron building which had served
as both a church and a school. SGM was consecrated on Saturday 6th March 1880 by
the Bishop of Manchester, Right Rev Dr Fraser, although services had begun to be
held in it 2 or 3 months earlier. Our first vicar was Rev T.A. Clarke, who was made
curate-in-charge in 1877 and served as our vicar until 1912.
A day school was built on the corner of Church Avenue where the Co-op now stands
and remained there until 1962, when the site was sold to CWS. We retained the school
yard and built a wooden parish hall in it, which opened in July 1963. It was used
for Sunday School and other meetings. However, around 3am on the morning of Sunday
22nd June 1969 fire broke out and completely destroyed the building and its contents.
Work started on a new brick building in September 1969 and this was completed by
Christmas the same year. The cost of building and equipping the new hall was £10,359
and after the insurance from the old hall was deducted, this left £5,223 to be raised.
An overdraft was taken out to cover this, but it was paid off by June 1971.
1969 also saw a parish mission called “Contact 69”, which was led by Arthur Rose.
It was very effective in uniting the congregation and bringing a number of people
to know the Lord as their Saviour.
In 1976 the narthex was enlarged and the transepts were screened off to provide Sunday
School classrooms. In 1988 the church was re-ordered to split it into a worship
area and a hall and the parish hall, which was therefore no longer needed, was sold
to the New Testament Church of God.
We formed a group with them and other churches (St Paul with Emmanuel, Melbourne
Road Methodist, Noble Street Independent Methodist and SS Peter & Paul’s RC Church)
to form the Derby and Daubhill Churches (DDC), which still exists today and meets
during Lent for Bible study and worship and runs a yearly children’s Holiday Club
for a week in August here at SGM.
Recently we have been joined by the Living Waters Malawian Church, who worship here
on a Sunday afternoon, and Rev Brian Branche has joined us as a street pastor. A
member of our congregation, Andrew Partington has also started training for this
Although our congregation is fairly small at the moment (we get 24-30 people on a
Sunday morning and about a dozen others come to our “Food for Thought” luncheon club),
it is growing and we feel the Lord is blessing us. We are also seeing more youngsters
at our Friday Youth Group.
We trust the Lord to provide for the future as He has in the past, for which we give
Him our grateful thanks.