Catholics in Bury

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Catholics in Bury

Post  rowan on Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:10 am


I'm researching my McKavney + McCreanor family history in the Bury area and would like to know more about Catholicism in Bury from about 1870 onwards. From my hasty research I gather that Catholicism wasn't 'big' in Bury and that there weren't many places of worship (that were legal) and I wanted to know what a Catholic would have done in these times. Both strands of the families named above were Catholics from Northern Ireland (they moved to Paradise Street and Lord Street respectively) and I'd love to know what their options were. Was St Maries on Silver Street the only place they had to go for mass? What were the attitudes of normal Bury people to these Catholic 'newcommers' from Ireland? And also, what was the Irish population in Bury towards the late 19th century? I'm full of questions, if anyone can help I'd be extremely greatful! Very Happy
Thanks, Rowan from Manchester


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Re: Catholics in Bury

Post  bamber on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:14 am

I come from a large Catholic family in Bury and our church is Guardian Angels on Leigh Lane. The original GA church used to be on Walshaw Rd junct Harvey Street but that was demolished in the 1960's. I remember the old Guardian Angels 'iron church' (called so because it had external corrugated iron sheets on the walls) and my parents were one of the last couples to be married in it before it was deconsecrated. The site of the old GA church on Walshaw Road was previously occupied by a couple of small Roman Catholic churches since 1880. Those who attended Guardian Angels Junior School eventually went on to St Gabriels High School on Baron St Bury. This high school absorbed catholic children from schools at St Bernadettes in Whitefield, St Josephs in Bury, St Maries in Bury and Guardian Angels. There were Catholic schools at Bury Convent School, Manchester Road Bury, Holly Mount, Tottington.

You may get some info from these schools to help your enquiry.

I found this extract in some of my old research files from a source long forgotten but it may be of interest to you. "Before 1825 the Catholics of Bury were looked after by the priest at Rochdale. In that year the Rev. Michael Trappes obtained a room in Clerke Street where Mass was said. The following year, Fr. William Turner took over the chapel from Rochdale, and in 1832 was succeeded by Fr. Walmsley, who moved to larger premises, in Henry Street, although the place was little better than a warehouse. The first resident priest was Fr. Peacock, who was to look after Bury, Heywood, Radcliffe, Elton, and Tottington. A fine, devotional church was opened in 1842, substantially the building standing today. When Fr. Peacock retired, he was succeeded at short intervals by Fr. Allen and Fr. Rimmer. Canon James Boardman was able to foster the growth of the parish during his long residence from 1852 till his death in 1880. In 1861 he laid the foundations of a new parish in Moorgate by purchasing an old marine stores known as "the old rag shop" in Walmersley Road. This was the founda tion of St. Joseph's. Fr. Michael Byrne became Rector in 1880. On his death in 1898 Fr. David Walshe succeeded. From 1906 to 1913 the parish was under the guidance of the Very Rev. Dean David Power, who had the task of providing new schools. When he left for Blackburn, his assistant, Fr. P. Keighley, became administrator and later Rector. Dean Keighley was knocked down by a non-stop motorist, whilst returning from a sick-call on the night of March 16th, 1934. The next parish priest was Fr. A. P. Keegan, whoretired in 1940. Then came Fr. William Dorran, who had been parish priest at Mossley. He was made a member of the Diocesan Chapter in August 1948. In 1949 the church was now clear of debt and was consecrated by Bishop Marshall in October of that year. Dean Dorran went to Colne in 1950.
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." </BLOCKQUOTE>


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Irish Catholics in Bury

Post  Noisybrook on Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:59 am

Roman Catholicism was always quite a small congregation in Bury. I grew up in the 70s and went to St Bede's RC church which has now been destroyed. I think St Bede's was built in the 1950s. Before then my grandmother went to St Joseph's which was in a meeting room above the Co-op behind Walmersley Road somewhere.

My relatives that still attend church go to St Marie's on Silver Street.

After the Irish famine a lot of Irish Roman Catholics from County Mayo settled in Bury. Most living around Paradise Street in utter squalor. There was a big Fenian following (the beginnings of the IRA) and there were many riots between Fenian Catholics and Hibernian Protestant Irish in the late 1800s. There were 2 unofficial meeting pubs on Paradise, The Royal Oak and the Britannia. Each held meetings to plan the riots. One of the worse involved one of my ancestors and went down St John's street (still there). A confectioner's shop was completely destroyed and the Irish women looted it running away with foodstuff in their aprons. Paradise was a scary place!



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St Joseph's Catholic church

Post  Maddie42 on Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:47 pm

St Joseph's was in Peter Street behind Walmersley Road. I think the parish priest at that time was called Father Deegan. My infant school days c. 1950 were in the old school with a 'big school' for the older pupils across the yard. It had wooden dividers between the rooms and a large coal fire with a metal fireguard around to heat the classroom.

The Senior school became St Gabriel's in a new building behind Bury Grammar school where I later started my teaching career years and that's many years ago now.

In researching my family tree I found that my great grandmother Susan O'Donnell was raised a Catholic from County Mayo. I presume she came to work in the mills.


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