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The Greek Merchants of Prestwich & Higher Broughton

Greek immigrants first settled in Manchester in the early 1830s, mainly coming from the Greek Island of Chios (Scio in English). After the war of independence that broke out in 1821, a massacre of the Greeks on Chios by the Ottomans followed in 1822 and Greek islanders were either killed, starved, enslaved or expelled.

The re-settled Greeks in Manchester had formed their own committee and church by 1843, and an East Orthodox Church is known to have existed on Waterloo Road in Strangeways from 1849.

The present day Greek Orthodox Church, The Church of the Annunciation, on Bury New Road in Higher Broughton, was designed by Clegg & Knowles architects from Manchester, and was opened in 1860-61. This is the oldest purpose built Orthodox church in Britain and is Grade II listed.

Clegg & KnowlesThis Architectural partnership began when they jointly entered a competition to design the Salford Workhouse in 1851. They came third in the contest and were awarded £20 (£3,000 today), but they went on to have a prolific career together. By 1857 they had designed the Greek Orthodox Church in Higher Broughton. In Prestwich they designed Heathlands around 1860, as well as the Rooden Lane Methodist Chapel (1865) and Rooden Lane Weslyan Schools (1866) , both in Heaton Park. They were responsible for several of the grand Warehouses around Manchester and also Headlands on Hilton Lane in Prestwich in 1872. In 1874 they were employed to rebuild part of the Manchester Athenaeum which had been destroyed by fire. Their last engagements were to perform alterations to the mansion of Buille Hill in Pendleton.

The Greek Church is in the style of a classical basilica chosen because of its simplicity of design and to reflect the wish of the Greeks to assimilate into the surrounding community. The front is of ashlar stone, and the rest is brick with ashlar dressings. On the front is a three-bay portico with Corinthian columns and a pediment with a modillion cornice and an apex cross. The bays on the front and sides of the church are divided by Corinthian pilasters, and the windows have pediments. At the rear is an apse, and a former presbytery in a similar style.

The interior of the church is of historical significance with the iconography of the iconostasis screen being painted between 1861 and 1863 by Theodoros Vryzakis (1814-1878), considered to be the first Modern Greek painter. Notably, the composition for the Church in 1861 was the only arrangement he undertook whilst creating the historical works for which he is most famed.

Interior Iconostasis Screen

Screen Detail

The church also originally supported a splendid domed ceiling, considered the most remarkable feature of the whole building, which was painted in 1870 by C. D. Duval with a representation of Christ Pantocrator (Christ in Majesty). Unfortunately, the woodwork of the ceiling was suffering from dry rot by 1962, and the entire roof sadly had to be replaced.

An Example of a Christ Pantocrator ceiling

Over the years, the Church and its community have been served by many priests, most notably the Protopresbyter Konstantinos Kallinikos, later honoured with the title "Great Economos" by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, an honorary doctorate of theology by the University of Athens, and the "Order of the Redeemer" for services to the nation by King George I of Greece. Konstatinos served his community from 1904 until his death in 1940 and is buried at St Mary's Church in Prestwich, though his name is recorded as Constantine Callinieos.

The upturned stone of Konstantinos Kallinikos

St Mary's Greek Sections As the Greek Church had no burial ground, permission was granted for burials to take place at St Mary's Church in Prestwich. There are six sections where 35 Greek burials took place between 1899 & 1971. The majority reside in "NS1" and "NS2", "New Sections" funded by Prestwich Hospital in the 1886, after they had filled up the churchyard with pauper burials. The general area of NS1 & NS2 is referred to as "The Greek Section" by the Churchyard Action Group Volunteers. The sadly upturned stone of Constatinos requires lifting and replacing upright. This will require a heavy lifting mechanism and good footings for it's legs, plus either volunteers or funding for stone masons to attend site. See this link for more info on the CAG and how you can volunteer or donate to help with the upkeep of the ancient churchyard.

By the 1960s, the number of Greeks in the area had declined, but following Independence from the British Empire in 1960, there were internal conflicts in Cyprus and Greek Cypriots migrated to Manchester during the 1960s-1970s. This revived the Greek community, with the Greek Cypriots swiftly becoming the majority of the church's present day community in Manchester, and has now grown significantly from its humble beginnings.

The Greek community has established a church hall, which is used to host church and community events such as Saint's and feast days in the Orthodox calendar. The hall also incorporates the Hellenic School of Manchester which supports 9 teachers and 110 pupils. The pupils not only learn the Greek language but also culture and history. The hall facilitates the school's functions and performances as well as national holiday celebrations and the annual school barbecue. You can even learn Greek dancing! The church has celebrated its 150th anniversary (2010), and nowadays forms the hub of the Greek and Greek Cypriot community.

Here are some of the more influential Greek families who have lived in this community.


This Greek Merchant family lived near Sedgley House and by 1901 had moved to Sedgley Mount. Alexander had been a church warden at Higher Broughton, his mother in law Olympia Aslan is also buried in the family plot at St Mary's.

Alexandroff Grave


This Greek Merchant family lived at "Morningside" on Singleton Road, and two of their sons lived at The Holme and Heathlands from 1901 until 1963. George C Demetriadi was a trustee of the Greek Church. One of the sons was known locally for being chauffeured around in his Rolls Royce and handing out coins to kids at Rainsough around Christmas. The family married into the Petrokokino family, and share a vault at St Mary's Church.

Athanasius Demetriadi's Silver Ghost


This Greek Merchant family, and partners with the Frangopoulo and Stavert, Zigomala families, lived at Claremont Villas (1881) and Norcliffe in Higher Broughton(1900) and also at Sedgley House from 1881 until 1904. The family married into the Demetriadi family (above) and share a vault at St Mary's Church. A daughter married the Mather family of Mather & Platts, who lived at Woodhill. They owned one of the first cars in the area and employed James Lamb to furnish their house.

Petrocokino Family

Petrocokino Family Grave

The court case involving Petrokokino Family Vault The Petrocokino vault was the subject of a court case in 1912 when Merope Petrokokino, widow of Thermistocles, died at Norcliffe, Broughton Park. Her will, dated 14 Jan 1911, was subjected to judicial review. As co-executrix Esmeralda Negroponte petitioned the court to clarify provisions of the will relating to £1,000 for the upkeep of the Petrocokino vault at St Mary's, along with £500 for annual memorial services at the Greek Church which also received a £500 gift. The court deemed the first two provisions to be in perpetuity, not charitable gifts and thus invalid. The legacy of £500 to the Greek Church was permitted. ("What is a Charitable Bequest?", The Manchester Guardian 13 Dec 1912, p 6).

Judicial Review


This Greek Merchant family, a member of whom inspired the naming of a James Bond Villain, lived at Park Mount in Higher Broughton, Singleton Lodge (Brooklands) on Bury Old Road, Prestwich and later Whalley Range. The family were business partners and married into the Schilizzi family who lived next door at Higher Broughton at Park Point. You can read more here.

Nicholas Scaramanga

Constantine was a cotton merchant from Istanbul and brought his wife Virginia and his children, to Salford by 1871 (4 Victoria Terrace, Murray Street,Broughton, Opposite St John's Church). By 1887 his son Paul (b:1865) had joined Herkomer Art School in Bushey, and he later joined the Staithes Group of Artists.
By 1891 the family (including Paul - now a Grey Cloth Agent) were living at 263 Bury New Road, and by 1901 Constantine & Virginia lived at "Glen Lodge" 489 Bury New Road, a large house on the corner of Mayfield Road, Kersal, near Sedgley Park. The other corner house on Mayfiled Rd was owned by Abel Heywood, son of Abel Heywood, the twice Lord Mayor of Manchester. Abel junior took over his father's publishing business when he had died in 1893. Paul Politachi had been the respondent in a divorce case in 1896, with £5,000 damages (£739,000 today) awarded against him, and he claimed bankruptcy shortly after. Later that year he married the woman from the court case and changed his name to Paul Plato Paul.

"Woman Feeding Chickens"
Under the name Paul Paul he painted, chiefly in oils using small strokes of pure colour in the manner of the French Impressionists. Living in London he painted on the North Yorkshire coast during the peak of the Staithes Group and also in Etaples (France), Walberswick in Suffolk. Paul was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1903 and in that year exhibited 'The Old Pier, Walberswick' and 'The Road to the Village' in their winter exhibition.
The Family plot in St Mary's contains Paul's parents, Constantine and Virginia, and one of his sibling John (b:1872).

Politachi Family plot, with an intricate marble statue.

Other Greek family burials at St Mary's between 1903 & 1971 include:

John E Agelasto
married Aspasia Petrocokino, was an East India Merchant and partner with John Ambrose Negroponte and John Antonio Ralli. They lived at 265 & 491 Bury New Road, Higher Broughton. John was a church warden and Higher Broughton and his brother in law and a God Parent of their daughter was Themistocles Pandia Petrocochino, Knight of the Order of The Saviour and "The Oldest Greek in Manchester" at his death. He is buried in the Petrokokino vault at St Mary's (photo above)

was a merchant living on St Paul's Road of Bury New Road in Kersal. Just around the corner in 1881, lived 5 more Greek families, including Demtriadi, Petrokokino and Alexandroff. He was executor of the Will of John Alexandroff.

Shipping Merchant of 485 Bury New Road.

Callinicos Constance Callinicos was a priest at the Greek Church in the 1920s

was a Levant Merchant and lived at ‘Kersal Hill’, Park Cottages, Singleton Road in Higher Broughton. Emmanuel Casdagli appeared in Manchester as early as 1863 and was church warden 1884-1885. His sons Theodore and Xenophon continued in business as Emmanuel Casdagli & Sons. Emmanuel was the winner of the French Tennis Open in 1898 and won silver in the Olympic Singles and bronze in the doubles, at Athens in 1906). His brother married into the Negroponte-Agelasto family line. Another son Dimitrios won two Olympic silver medals at Athens 1896. Both players were born at Springfield, now the Rectory of Our Lady of Delours on Bury New Rd. Xenophan is buried at St Mary's in Prestwich.

Xenophon Casdagli (Tennis player)

were partners with the Petrokokino family, S.N. Francopoulos was listed as trustee of the Greek Church. He is buried in the Petrkokino family vault at St Mary's.

Petrocokino Family Grave

Rev. Eustatius was an Archimandrite or Priest, of the Greek Church. His son Constantine was a medical student and was forbidden by his father from marrying the girl of his dreams. Constantine took poison in his grief and was admitted to Prestwich Asylum. [ref: Cul de Sac Theatre


Shipping Merchant, lived at Sedgley Bank, on Singleton Road.


appears to have traded in Egypt & the Red Sea from premises at St Peter's Square in Manchester, and died at Colwyn Bay


Frank was a Shipping Merchant living at "Claremont," Tower Grange, New Hall Road in Higher Broughton and warden for the Greek Church. His wife was a daughter of Eustratius Scaramanga.



Kimon Syroyannis traded from Whitworth Street in Manchester and was buried in the Demetriadi family vault.

Here is a Link to a photo gallery of Greek Graves in St Mary's Churchyard.

Donate to the upkeep of the St Mary's Churchyard

Your kind donation will go towards tools, or employing professional stone masons to reinstate stonework damaged by time, trees, animals or humans.

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Take a tour of St Mary's Graveyard