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David Simpson

David Simpson was the first Reverend at Christ Church and for whom the building was commissioned.  He was born in 1745 and grew up on a farm near Northallerton in North Yorkshire.  He was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps but was instead called into the ministry.  He graduated with a BA from St John's College, Cambridge in 1769, ordained into the ministry and continued to study for an MA until 177

Revd David Simpson_edited.jpg

Initially appointed curate at a church in Buckingham, he was forced to leave because of opposition to his unwarranted evangelical preaching.  Charles Roe invited Simpson to Macclesfield to become assistant curate of St Michael's and All Angels having met him through family connections. 

When the then prime curate died, a year later, Simpson stepped into his shoes and began to draw large congregations.  He also invited John Wesley, who would later become known as the father of Methodism.


The Church of England didn't look favourably on Evangelical preaching at the time and Simpson, denounced by local landowner Sir William Meredith was sacked by Bishop Markham of Chester, who accused him of being a Methodist in disguise. Roe, an Evangelical Christian, stepped in to salvage Simpson’s career by building Christ Church as his new permanent post.
Simpson devoted his life to social reform and the education of the poorer classes, especially the children working in the mills.  He was heavily involved in developing friendly societies and charitable schools in the town, later becoming known as Sunday Schools.  Macclesfield Sunday School on Roe Street, now known as the Heritage Centre, started out as a non-denominational school in Pickford Street.
Despite his Evangelical beliefs, David Simpson like Roe remained loyal to the Anglican Church right up until his death in 1799.  He was about to break with the church formally through a public declaration in favour of Methodism, but fell ill and died soon after.  The publication was retracted the day after.

A grey and white marble monument by W Muschamp on the south wall of the church honours Simpson's career, likening him to the Good Samaritan.

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