In Their Own Image? Church-Building in the Deanery of Manchester 1847-1903: Relationships between Donor, Architect and Churchmanship

  • Meriel Boyd

Student thesis: Phd


Abstract Between 1847 and 1903, spanning the first three episcopates of the newly-created Diocese of Manchester, 228 churches were built, or significantly extended, in the largest by far of its five deaneries, the Deanery of Manchester. Exploration of diocesan, Mancunian, and parochial archival and other sources revealed that sixty-one of those 228 building-projects - over a quarter - had each been funded by a single donor or single family. The fifty 'singular' donors (eight financing more than one project) represented a wide swathe of the middle and upper echelons of society, comprising six MPs; thirty-one industrialists, including twenty-two (predominantly textile-) mill-owners, three engineers, and two colliery- and canal-owners; and thirteen non-industrialists, including five bankers, two landed gentry and three clerics. The scale of this aspect of industrial city philanthropy, and its lack of study are striking. Singular funding by donors of specific buildings provides a fresh angle from which to approach the reasons for philanthropy at an individual level. In each case, what role did self-interest play; what role such impulses as Established-Church-allegiance, evangelism, paternalism, territorialism, and dynasticism? Could a master driving-force, composed of a combination of some or all of those and other possible impulses, have been a donor's desire for worth: self-worth; worth in the eyes of contemporary society; and worth for remembrance in posterity? Were donors essentially creating churches in their own image? The Introduction covers identification of the churches and the ecclesiastical, industrial and historical context of their building and of nineteenth-century Mancunian philanthropy. Chapter One, exploring the donors' biographies, includes, as potential drivers in church-creation, timing of public preferment - providing scant support for its previously identified role in other charitable giving - and alternative donor-self-image-related impulses. Chapter Two considers, as a measure of donor-church-identity, possible linkage of donor to church through dedication, proximity, iconography, memorials, armorials, dedicated space, and burial arrangements. Chapter Three uses choice of architect, their north-western oeuvre, and the balance of architects' and donors' roles, to further assess reflection of donor-self-image in the church. Finally, Chapter Four scrutinises each donor-church-architect nexus for signs of churchmanship; a quality - where present in strength and definable as donor-led - considered strongly indicative of donor-self-image. Donor, church, architect, and churchmanship - key components of the donated church and to assessing in each their interconnections - disclose great diversity. Donor-self-image was indeed present, in its various aspects, in most if not all the churches. Its presence ranged from almost negligible or inconclusive to what amounts to its passionate expression.Archive Note: Research for this project resulted in far more material of relevance to its substance than could be included in the text. The University of Manchester has kindly consented to hold this material, comprising textual and photographic data, as an archive freely accessible on request.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorWilliam Gregory (Supervisor) & David O'Connor (Supervisor)


  • ecclesiology
  • churchmanship
  • architects
  • private donors
  • mill-owners
  • 1847-1903
  • Diocese of Manchester
  • philanthropy
  • Anglican
  • church-building

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