St Edmund, Bolton - Roman Catholic
THIS Church, dedicated to St. Edmund, and situate in Grime Street, is the outcome of the energy and zeal of the late Very Rev. Canon Carter, who has done so much to spread the faith in the town by the establishment of missions. It was opened in 1861. The first resident priest of the Mission was Father Conway, who, the following year, was succeeded by Father Dumelie. After a stay of four years, failing health compelled him to leave the Mission and return to his native country, France. Father P. Vermeulan took charge until 1868, when Father, afterwards Dean Browne was appointed. At this time Father Browne was in very indifferent health, but, on his recovery, he worked energetically in his new sphere, and, in addition to enlarging the Church, he built the Boys' and Infants' Schools in 1870. Ten years afterwards he was appointed Missionary Rector of SS. Peter and Paul's, Pilkington Street, his successor being the Rev. Father Marringer. After a stay of four years this priest returned to Germany, and the present Rector, Father Herman Averdonk (Member of the Bolton School Board) succeeded him in December, 1884.
Taken from St Patrick's Schools Grand Bazaar Handbook: 1892
ST EDMUND'S BIRTH
From St. Peter & Paul's grew in 1845, St. Mary's, and in 1860 St. Patrick's and St. Edmund's. We are indebted to the "Bolton Chronicle" of August 18th, 1860 for the following particulars of St. Edmund's Stonelaying, which took place on Monday, August 12th. Bishop Turner performed the ceremony. The upper storey was to serve as the Church, the lower as a schoolroom, the length of the whole building to be 96-ft. by 32-ft. The event took place at 12-00 noon in the presence of a very large concourse of spectators, the neighbouring streets being densely thronged, chiefly with the very poorest of the poor. On the platform were Mr. John Water house, Alderman Dunderdale and Mr. Luke McHale. The procession was marshalled by the Rev. W. Dunderdale (son of Alderman Dunderdale) as M.C., and headed by the Rev. W. P. Corlett of Hindley, in "the habiliments of a Bene dictine monk," and bearing the cross. Also present were the Revs. Boardman of Bury, Benoit, Edmund Carter, James Snape, Michael Byrne, Jos. B. Smith, William Taylor, Jas. Fox, Richard Dunderdale (another son of the Alderman), Henry Jones, William Wells, Thomas Martin, William Sheehan, Seth Clarkson, Peter de Blon, Desiderius Vander-Weghe and E. G. Lynas. Before reaching the stone [to be seen in Blundell Street, under the Sanctuary window], the Bishop addressed the assembly in Grime Street [now renamed St. Edmund Street], saying that the erection of a new Church was at all times a great act of religion, for it was a house not made for man, but for God. It was here that men would commune with heaven, and religion would unfold its benign rules and precepts for their guidance. Here the sacraments would be administered, and the holy sacrifice of the Mass would be offered up for the living and the dead.
After blessing and laying the stone with the trowel and mallet of a workman, Dr. Turner was the first-to deposit his offering (a sovereign) on the stone; the clergy followed and afterwards the general public, the amount deposited being £24 5s. 3d.
Lunch followed at Mr. Bird's, the Lever's Arms Hotel, Dr. Turner not attending owing to another engagement. The Rev. E. Carter presided and at the close proposed the Pope's health, Mr. McHale occasioning great laughter by drinking "The Pope, may he live for ever," and afterwards by his song "The Pope he leads a happy life." The Chairman next proposed the health of Her Majesty, which was followed by the National Anthem. Next came the toasts of the Bishop, St. Edmund's, Rev. E. Carter, etc., the final ones being "The Town and Trade of Bolton," and "The Press." The builder, Mr. Liptrot was present, as also his foreman, Mr. Woods. The latter "alluded to the great difficulty which had been experienced in getting ready for the ceremony owing to the prosperous character of trade and the consequent carelessness of the men, nearly all of whom had been off work for some time."
Bishop Turner was present at the opening of the Church in July, 1861 (St. Edmund's Bazaar Handbook, 1894). The first baptisms were on October 6th of that year, being William Clarke, son of Hugh and Mary Clarke; Catharine Caroline, daughter of Patrick and Catherine Caroline; and Eliza Jane Carey, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Carey. The first marriage was on November 20th, 1866, between John Quinn and Mary Morrison.
The following Priests have had charge of the Parish: Fathers Conway (1861); Dumelie (1862-66); Vermeulen (1866-68); Browne (1868-80); Marringer (1880-84); Dean Averdonk (1884-1917); Chronnell (1918- ).
January 9th, 1871, separate school departments were made for boys and girls, the respective heads being Mr. Robert Gillow and Miss C.M. Chambers.
March 21st, 1873, the Infants were transferred to their own school, the average attendance being 120.
February 21st, 1896, two new classrooms were put in use.
August 21st, 1918, Mr. John Rothwell died, over 30 years Headmaster of the Boy's Department.
Mr. Frank Duffy, after an absence of over 30 years, visited the town and parish on March 19th, 1919, while over from America as member of the U.S.A. Labour Deligacy to the Peace Conference,
December 8th, 1919 to May 18th, 1920 a playground made for the Old School at a cost of £425.
May 4th, 1924, Sister Walburga retired, having been Headmistress of the Infants' Department 28 years.
Taken from St Edmund's Bazaar: 1928
Yet another offshoot of the mother parish of Bolton was St. Edmund's founded August 1860, by Bishop Turner. It was the usual kind of school-chapel with two storeys. The first Rector was Fr. James Conway, from 1861 to 1862, then Fr. Angelus Dumelie until 1866. Another foreign priest was sent to take charge-Fr. Peter Vermeulen-and he remained for two years. Dean Browne was here from 1868 to 1880, followed by Fr. Peter Marringer, 1880-1884. The next Rector was the Very Rev. Dean H. Averdonk; who is still remembered in Bolton for his powerful physique. He was a popular figure and was given a great public funeral in 1917; he is buried in the next grave to Dean O'Brien in Heaton cemetery. His former curate, Fr. Cuthbert Chronnell, now honorary Canon of Salford, became the next Rector. He struggled hard to establish a new mission, at Eastbourne Grove, where he hoped to build a fine church. The site he secured will be worthy one day of the new church to be set up, and he has already built magnificent junior and infant schools. The parish has been cleared of debt since 1936. The Canon has served on the Bolton Board of Guardians, the Bolton Infirmary Board, and is at present a very active member of the Bolton Education Committee.
Taken from "Salford Diocese and its Catholic past", a survey by Charles A. Bolton, a Priest of the above Diocese. Published 1950 on the First Centenary for the Diocese of Salford.
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