Sts. Thomas & Elizabeth RC Church
We are delighted to confirm our Church is open fully with Mass every Sunday at 9.00am.
We are also delighted to welcome our new Priest-in-Charge, Father David Branford. His predecessor, Fr. Peter Sayer, has taken a well-earned retirement and we wish him well.
The church is a beautiful example of Victorian Gothic design. The architect Charles Hansom began his career with his brother, Joseph, in London before moving to Bath and eventually Bristol where he developed a very successful practice with an enviable reputation.
The builder, George Taylor, of Coventry was an unusual man in that he eventually became an architect.
The stained glass was created by William Wailes of Gateshead. His home there was eventually transformed into a public park. Wailes was a famous stained glass artist whose work can also be found in places like Ely and Chichester Cathedrals.
The front of the two altars and the rood screen were carved by George Myers of London. He is known to have worked closely with AWN Pugin, the world famous architect and designer.
The BeginningsFrom 1556, the adjacent Thurnham Hall was owned by the Catholic Dalton family. Naturally during the oppression of the Catholic Faith, they played their part in protecting the priests who worked so hard to keep the faith alive. The list of priests at Thurnham begins in the 1630’s with a Fr John North.
In 1780 a lady from Euxton, Chorley, Miss Jane Daniel left a legacy of £1000 to establish a Mission at Thurnham on the understanding that her cousin, Fr James Foster, was appointed the Priest-in-Charge. In 1785 her wish was granted. Miss Daniel also challenged Mr John Dalton, who had just inherited Thurnham, to match her bequest. John gave the land on which the present church was built and a glebe of 7 acres 0f farmland, the rental income from which was intended to keep the priest.
The parish still owns that parcel of land, but the current rent has fallen well below the cost of maintaining a priest! That’s inflation for you.
Please feel free to email Fr Branford on FrDavidBranford@gmail.com
Date For Your Diary
The Church will be open to the public on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September for Heritage Open Days. Open fron 12.00noon to 5.00pm each day. See a display of old vestments and the famous Treasures of Thurnham.