History The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Eccles has stood on the same site for at least 800 years and is therefore the oldest church in the City of Salford. As such, it is attracting an ever- increasing number of visitors who wish to share in a sense of history and also, perhaps, establish some sort of link with the thousands of people from the parish who over eight centuries have worshipped and found solace and comfort within its walls. The Parish Church has a fascinating story to tell which is well worth following up. These web pages will help you to do so by setting out chronologically the changes to the building since Norman times and showing how they fitted into the national picture. We have tried to ensure the accuracy of our information by using the most recent research to update the usual authorities. We hope that this site will encourage you to visit us and add to your understanding of the way our parish church has continued over so many hundreds of years to reflect the life of the community it serves. The Earliest years 600-1150 The Earliest indication we have of Christianity in Eccles is to be found not in its ancient parish church, but rather in the name of the town itself. The name Eccles is derived from the Primitive Welsh word which is  borrowed from the Latin "Ecclesia" meaning 'a church'. Primitive Welsh is the form of the Celtic language which the Anglo-Saxons met when they first settled here and this would suggest that there was a church in this area even before the Saxons arrived.   The oval churchyard at Eccles also suggests a Celtic origin.  (Christians were no strangers to this area - there is evidence that there were some at Castle field as early as c.185 AD.) In fact, there is a local legend that in the fifth century the area was visited by St. Germanus, accompanied by St. Patrick, who set up an altar on the site of the present church. This was probably already a holy place and here they would preach in the open air, marking the spot by erecting a carved stone cross. In time, the altar would be sheltered by the building of a sanctuary - a term which means "a holy place". Later a nave would be built to shelter the congregation, the two parts being connected by a narrow, arched opening, The sanctuary would be the priest's responsibility, whilst the nave would belong to the congregation, a pattern that influenced the design of churches for many centuries to come. The medieval South Porch, which had already been rebuilt once in 1790, was rebuilt once again in 1921 and dedicated as a memorial to the Eccles men who were killed in the 1914-18 War. Their names are inscribed on the inside walls of the porch and number well over 100.