St Ann, Stretford - Roman Catholic
This flourishing parish was originally linked with Barton, and thus with the de Trafford family at Trafford Hall. Provost Croskell, who had retired from Manchester because of ill health, was residing at Barton as assistant priest when the first chapel was opened at Stretford in 1859. The Provost used to travel to Stretford visiting the Catholic families.
The de Trafford family took a great interest in the new parish and Sir Humphrey de Trafford built the present handsome Gothic church, opened in 1863. Stories are still told in the parish of how, when the church was being built, anti-Catholic fanatics would try to destroy during the night what had been set up during the day. However, these troubles were overcome and a graceful steeple built as well as the church. Lady Annette de Trafford, a member of the famous Tichbourne family, gave the beautiful altar. She was one of the most generous benefactors of Salford Diocese.
Bishop Turner had the privilege of consecrating the church in 1867. The parish priest at the time was Canon Matthias Formby, a native of Salford Diocese (Bamber Bridge). Canon Formby had to come to Stretford in 1863 after being at Mulberry Street. Although he was nearly 79 when he died in 1892, his death was unexpected and came of pneumonia contracted while performing a work of mercy.
A prominent figure in the diocese, Canon John Beesley, later Provost of the Chapter and Vicar-General after the death of Mgr. Gadd, came to Stretford in 1893. He died in 1910, having been Vicar-General, together with Canon Boulaye, since 1907.
Mgr. Provost Beesley came of an old Fylde family, but was born in Liverpool in 1834. His services to the Cathedral are recorded elsewhere. His funeral took place from the Cathedral to commemorate his work there. Bishop Casartelli spoke to a large congregation from Salford and Shrewsbury about the Provost's devoted work at the Pastoral Seminary. "Never shall I forget the retreat that he gave to those of us who were preparing for Holy Orders; those wise counsels, those words of advice and encouragement that sank into our souls, that I hope we may say produced a profound impression upon our subsequent lives. To the whole of the Diocese there was owing a debt of sympathy in the loss of a priest who stood first among the clergy, not only by the dignity of his office but, I would venture to say, by those sacerdotal virtues which had distinguished him and made him a model to every priest."
Canon Charles MacDermott Roe was the next Missionary Rector. He was 82 when he died here in 1922. Born where now stands the Manchester Town Hall, he had been taken as a youth to Plymouth diocese by Bishop Errington. He returned to his native diocese in 1867. As Rector of St. John's, Padiham, he built the presbytery there. During his long life he worked in a record number of different parishes, amongst them St. Patrick's, Bolton, where he built the schools. For a time he was Chaplain at the Good Shepherd, Blackley. Other parishes where he worked were: Weaste, Castleton, Reddish, St. Mary's, Burnley, and St. Mary's, Levenshulme. He wrote a deeply spiritual book on prayer called The Kingdom of God.
Fr. John Henessy and Fr. Edmondson (since 1929) have been parish priests in recent years.
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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