It was founded in 1877. One of four new Barrow parish churches to be named after the four evangelists, whose areas were designated in 1877. Four temporary church buildings of brick and timber were built to similar designs, provided by Lancaster architects Paley & Austin. They were simultaneously dedicated on 26 September 1878.
St Matthew's was dedicated by the Bishop of Carlisle; the "temporary" building was finally vacated on 31 May 1964 and the present new church was consecrated 21 Oct. 1967.
The rapid growth of the town soon rendered more church accommodation necessary than could be given by the three then in existence, and the Dukes of Devonshire and Buccleuch, Sir James Ramsden, and other magnates of the district, realising the want, subscribed £24,000 towards the erection of four new churches. Of this sum the Duke of Devonshire furnished £12,000, the Duke of Buccleuch £6,000, and the remaining £6,000 by other gentlemen. Four brick structures, all after the same model, were erected, and all opened on the same day (September 26, 1878), when the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of Carlisle, Hereford, and Seder and Man officiated. The buildings are only of a temporary character, and will be replaced by more fitting edifices when the fund left out of the £24,000 has accumulated to a sufficient amount. The churches are appropriately named after the four Evangelists. An event so unique as the consecration of four churches will mark September 26, 1878, as a red letter .lay in the history of Barrow. The records of past ages and the annals of older towns will be searched in vain for a similar occurrence.
St. Matthew's Church is on the Abbey Road estate, and has sitting accommodation for 500. The parish comprises an area of about 200 acres, and contains a population of 5,500. The living is worth £200, and has been held since the foundation by the Rev. G. R. Meaby, M.A. (Cantab.) The interior has been tastefully decorated, and a Sunday School erected since the opening.
from Mannex's directory of Furness and Cartmel, 1882.
Whilst every effort has been made to record exact details of record office and library holdings you are recommended to check with them before visiting to ensure that they do hold the records and years you wish to examine. Similarly check with transcript publishers to ensure they cover the records and years you require before making a purchase.
The Cumbria Record Office, Barrow hold:
- Baptisms 1878-1974
- Marriages 1880-1971
- Banns 1893-1978
This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no connection with the churches themselves. For current information you should contact them directly.