THE PARISH OF PRESTWICH - SAINT MARY
The Parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham as it is still legally known, covered an area of some fifty square mile. The parish stretched from the neighbourhood of Prestolee to the borders of Crompton and on the further side of Oldham. From east to west the parish measured thirteen miles. Oldham was seven miles away from the parish church.
The right of nominating the parish priest was granted to Robert de Prestwich, who took the name from the district in which he held his feudal lands. We know that Robert died in the year 1206. From this time, over eight hundred years ago, and probably for many years more, a place of worship has stood where Prestwich Parish Church now stands.
The present Parish Church dedicated to St. Mary, was started about the year 1450. The Tower was built in 1500 by the newly created Earl of Derby who took possession of the confiscated estates of Sir Thomas Pilkington at the end of the Wars of the Roses (Sir Thomas had been a supporter of King Richard III).
The parish priest of Prestwich in 1493 was Ralph Langley.
See also these notes and picture
Methodism came to Prestwich in 1805, the first services being held in the cottage of a humble handloom weaver, Thomas Jones. In 1829 a chapel to seat two hundred people was erected.