Building Christ Church Stannington
In 1818 and 1824 the Church Building Acts were passed by Parliament. The first established the Church Building Commission for the purpose of creating new parishes and building new churches in areas which had seen rapid population growth during the years of the Industrial Revolution. The 1818 Act, “The Million Act”, provided a sum of £1,000,000 and the 1824 Act a further £500,000 to provide grants for building extra churches and chapels and other projects relating to parsonages and burial grounds.
Several “Million Act” churches were built in Sheffield. The village of Stannington was allocated a church which was unusual for a rural community but the need was acute as villagers were obliged to travel to Bradfield or to the mother church at Ecclesfield or to Sheffield.
A grant of just less than £3000 from the Million Fund was made on the understanding that the land for the church and churchyard should be purchased by public subscription. A significant contribution was made by the Misses Harrison of Weston Park (who also provided money to build the church at Wadsley).
On 16th October 1828 Thomas Richard Ryder, Vicar of Ecclesfield, laid the foundation stone. It was quite an occasion with a procession from the Peacock Inn, Knowle Top, preceded by a band. Samuel Parkes records that taking part in the following order were:- The constables, The Children of the Sunday School, the Vicars of Ecclesfield and Sheffield, The Mayor of Doncaster, the architect, the gentry, the superintending committee and the Stannington Union Sick Society, and the Inhabitants. Afterwards the worthies were entertained while they took tea, by the village folk and schoolchildren who sang two hymns written by James Montgomery for a similar purpose.
The church was consecrated on 20th July 1830 by the Archbishop of York, Edward Venables Vernon, in whose diocese the church lay. Christenings and Burials could be solemnised straightaway but marriages later in 1858.