St Wilfrid, Dilworth - Roman Catholic
After 1860 a movement was started among the Catholics of Longridge to have a place of worship in their midst.
The Rev. Henry Browne of Ribchester took the matter in hand with the approbation of Dr. Turner, Bishop of Salford, and began collecting subscriptions. A field was purchased, fronting the highway, that part of it called Pitt Street, for £500 and a school chapel was commenced. There was such neighbourly feeling among the people of Longridge at this time that many Protestants helped the Catholics to carry loads of stone for their church.
The foundation stone was laid on Whitsun-Eve, 1867, Father Browne preaching on the occasion. It was a very rainy day. The Rev. Seth Clarkson was nominated to the mission and made some changes in the plans of the building.
The Rev. Thomas Davis was put in charge of the mission and opened the school-chapel formally on Sunday, February 14, 1869. There were no benches in the building on the opening day. After blessing the building he admitted the people and celebrated Mass, preaching a suitable sermon.
The Rev. Thomas Davis retired from the Mission through ill-health, and went to join his brother at a mission in London. The care of the school-chapel was then put into the hands of the Rev. Isidore De Gryse, of Chipping, who during this vacancy obtained supplying priests for Sundays from Stonyhurst as well as he could.
The Rev. Charles Boardman, attached to the Cathedral, Salford, received orders from the Bishop to take upon himself the charge of this mission. He arrived here on Friday, June 30, 1871, and commenced ministerial work. He was born on March 5, 1831, at Bedford Leigh, Lancashire, and had studied at Mount St. Mary's and Stonyhurst. He had been Prefect of Studies at Beaumont College, and later sub-Editor of the Month. There was no presbytery so he rented a neighbouring small cottage. For a time he ran a school for foreign students.
A large and beautiful church in the, early English style was opened by Bishop Vaughan in 1886. Dr. Boardman collected many valuable books and paintings, and the parish still has an old carving of Thomas More made by a Lancashire Catholic in penal times.
Fr. John Wissink, a priest from Holland, came in 1895 and for many years ruled the parish as a model pastor of souls. He added the fine steeple and bells. The future Bishop of Salford, Fr. Marshall, was appointed here in 1934 to recuperate from his heavy labours in Manchester. Fr, William Watts is the present parish priest.
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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