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The History of Newchurch Parish Church

The Parish Church, originally a Chapel-of-ease to Winwick, was built around 1528, and a tower was added in 1691. The nave was re-built in 1753. The red brick structure, which was regarded as somewhat ungainly, was totally destroyed by fire during the early hours of Sunday April 19th 1903. It is thought that the fire probably arose through the overheating of the flues. All the stained glass windows, pews and fittings perished in the fire. Fortunately, the registers and the bells were rescued (all the original Church registers are now held at the Cheshire Records Office in Chester).

The present church is a fine stone building, dedicated to no saint, but is called ‘Newchurch Parish Church’.
 Some notable people...

The Holcrofts made a great mark in history. Sir John Holcroft was knighted at the Coronation of Edward VI. His grand nephew, Lieutenant Colonel John Holcroft, of Holcroft, bequeathed a gold chain to help towards substantial repairs at Newchurch. His daughter, Maria, married Colonel Blood at Newchurch on 21st June 1650. Colonel Blood subsequently became notorious for his daring plot to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London. In March 1671 he dressed up as a curate and offered his nephew in marriage to a guard’s daughter! He died at his home in London in 1680. He had such a reputation for trickery that his body was later dug up by the authorities to make sure that he had really died! He is buried at St. Margaret's Church (now Christchurch Gardens) near St. James’s Park.

Click here as we often have people asking about Colonel Blood and where they can get information.

Thomas Wilson, who was Curate of Newchurch from 1686 to 1692, became Bishop of Sodor and Man in 1697. In his early thirties, he is one of the youngest Bishops the Church of England has ever known. When he arrived on the Island he found many of the church buildings in a ruinous condition. He eventually rebuilt most of the churches in the diocese, along with establishing public libraries.

Books needed to be in Manx, the language of the people. On 30th May, 1707 he published the 'Principles and Duties of Christians in English and Manks with Short and Plain Directions and Prayers' which was the first published book in Manx. He translated the Gospel of Matthew, with the help of his Vicars General, and this was published in  1722. The remaining gospels were translated but not published in his lifetime.

He was much-loved and respected on the Island and, following his death on 7th March, 1755, it is said that his funeral was attended by nearly the whole adult population of the Island. The modesty of the man was reflected on his tombstone, but his son made sure that his reputation was not forgotten with the inscription that he included.

Sleeping in Jesus, here lieth the body of
THOMAS WILSON, D.D., Lord Bishop of this Isle,
who died March 7, 1755,Aged 93,
and in the 58th year of his Consecration.

This Monument was erected
by his Son, Thomas Wilson, D.D., a native of this Parish,
who, in obedience to the express commands of his Father,
declines giving him the character he so justly deserved.
"Let this Island speak the rest!"

 A window at Newchurch is dedicated to his memory.

Click here for further information about Bishop Wilson
Subpages (1): Churchyard Nature Notes