In the early 19th century Godley was a township in the parish of Mottram-in-Longendale. Rapid industrialisation changed the area. In 1824 the Macclesfield Canal was constructed through Hyde. In 1841 the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway opened as far as Godley.
In 1847 the new parish of Godley cum Newton Green was created. At first a room served as Sunday school and church. A purpose built school opened in 1849. The church was built, it was consecrated in 1850, although additions continued to be made, the last being the tower in 1879. The first marriage at St John's took place on 12th August 1850, between James Plant and Sarah Mottram. The first interment was that of Martha Shepley, on 30th May 1850.
In 1923 Godley became part of the town of Hyde. In 1974 Hyde was transferred into the new County of Greater Manchester. It is now part of the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside. The administrative centre is Ashton-under-Lyne. Local history information is held in the library at Stalybridge, however registers of baptisms 1847-1909, marriages 1850-1963 and burials 1850-1906 are held in the Cheshire Records Office at Chester.