St Mary, Dunkenhalgh - Roman Catholic

Church picture

St Mary,
Devonshire Drive,

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Old church (1819)


The church has/had a graveyard.

Church History

It was founded before 1756 on Burnley Road. The current church on Devonshire Drive was built in 1959.
The Catholics of this district went to Mass at Dunkenhalgh, the home of the Walmsleys and the Petres, until a chapel was built in 1819. In 1816, when Dunkenhalgh was being rebuilt, it was decided to build a separate chapel for the parish. Until this was built, Mass was said by a priest from Stonyhurst at Sparth House, according to tradition.

St. Mary's, Enfield, as it is sometimes called, was built on land given by Mr. R. G. Lomax of Clayton Hall, whose family inherited the ancient Catholic estate of the Grimshaws at Clayton Hall. When the chapel was built, the congregation was about 400 in number, and included some from Ireland, although many of the people came from outlying places such as Accrington, Church, Rishton, Great Harwood, Padiham, etc., so that this, parish of St. Mary's is the mother church of several modern ones.

No logbooks are left for the period from 1819 to 1892. There is a baptismal register from 1815, which must have been begun at Dunkenhalgh. Until the mission was taken over by the diocese in 1873, some fourteen Jesuit Fathers had helped the mission. Father John Leadbetter had the most remarkable tenure of office, staying from 1833 to 1873, when he went to Stonyhurst. Father Thos. Fox was the first secular priest. From 1881 to 1892 Fr. J. Hothersall was Rector. Father J. Crombleholme was here until 1905; he was a great expert on orchids and was recognised as an authority on such. He was relieved from 1905 to 1908 by Fr. J. Taylor and then returned until 1923, when he retired to his family in New Zealand, and still remains. Fr. Bartlett (to 1925) and Fr. Gorman (to 1930) are both buried in the churchyard. Fr. F. Foy, Fr. J. Fairclough, and Fr. H. J. Fielding, after working here for a period have left for other parishes. The present parish priest is Fr. J. V. Reynolds.

The church is a plain building rather like the style of the Non-conformist chapels of those days, but inside it is pleasant and devotional. A huge picture of the Presentation by Caracci hangs over the high altar. The parish also has some fine silver of ancient style that belonged to the sanctuary at Dunkenhalgh-a crucifix, a chalice, and patten. There is also an unknown painting of the crucifixion of considerable beauty.

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.



Church Records

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Original Registers


Copies of Original Registers



The church is located at OS grid reference SD7488631146 (Lat/Lon 53.776035,-2.382569). You can see this on maps provided by: The Burnley Road church was located at OS grid reference SD7570631469 (Lat/Lon 53.778978,-2.370152). You can see this on maps provided by:

This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no connection with the churches themselves. For current information you should contact them directly.

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