First World War Conference, Oscott College, 14th October 2015


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oscott College

There is to be a conference on the English Catholic Church and the First World War at St Mary’s College, Oscott, Birmingham, on Wednesday 14th October jointly organised by the College and the Archdiocese of Birmingham Historical Commission. The lecturers are

  • Dr John Pollard, author of Benedict XV: the Unknown Pope and the Pursuit of Peace,
  • Fr Mark Vickers, author of By the Thames Divided: Cardinal Bourne in Southwark and Westminster,
  • Dr James Hagerty co-author of The Cross on the Sword: Catholic Chaplains in the Forces
  • Dr Judith Champ author of A Seminary goes to War: Oscott and the First World War.

Conference fee, including coffee, tea and two course lunch—£20
A detailed programme can be found on the Oscott Website

For all further information and bookings, contact Mrs. Maggie Wilson. Tel 0121 321 5026. Email

New Book on Rev Rowland Broomhead


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We are pleased to announce the publication of the much anticipated biography of the Reverend Rowland Broomhead, one of the key figures in the Catholic revival in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The book is the result of many years of work by Mr Peter Lupton, of Norden near Rochdale, an old boy of St Bede’s College, Manchester, and is a ‘must-buy’ for anybody interested in the restoration of the English Catholic church.

The book has been published by Gracewing and is available from their website and from all good online booksellers at the price of £20.




We are pleased to announce that our Annual Day Conference and AGM will be held at the Carrs Lane Conference Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, B4 7SX on Saturday October 3rd 2015. This is a new venue for us and we hope it will be a convenient location for all as it is close to bus, rail services, and car parks. We look forward to welcoming friends old and new.

The two main speakers this year are:

Ruth Barbour of Warwick University on ‘The Middling Sort of Catholic in eighteenth century Warwickshire’.
Tony Hadland of the Oxfordshire Local History Society on ‘Recusants of Oxfordshire and Berkshire’
A Family History Help Desk will be available at lunch-time and late afternoon. Please use this to ask any questions of our researchers to help your investigations and bring along any documents and materials that you would like to discuss.

The cost is £15.00, it is subsidised by the CFHS and includes a sandwich lunch, and tea/coffee and cold drinks.

Tickets are available by post from:

Mrs J M Smith
10 Irving Close
Cheques payable to Catholic FHS please. You may also pay on the door but please let us know in advance if you are intending to do this.

New Book – The History of the Catholic Faith in Lytham

This bo551304ok describes how the worshipping community developed around the small Benedictine cell established in the grounds of Lytham Hall, was pastored in Penal times and beyond by Jesuits on the English Mission and by priests of the Northern Vicariate, until the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act created the climate which allowed Fr Walmsley to set up the present church on Clifton Street. The ensuing 175 years have seen 8 parish priests, a large number of curates and assistant priests, 3 permanent deacons and two congregations of religious sisters working to support the Catholics of Lytham. However, this book is more than the story of a building or a history of priests: it is the story of how we and our ancestors have lived our Catholic Faith in response to the varied challenges of these times, with lay people playing an ever greater role.

The book can be purchased from the website of St Peter’s RC Church, Lytham.

Annual Conference Reminder

The Catholic Family History Society Annual Conference & AGM

Saturday 3rd October 2015, 10am

Carrs Lane Conference Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham

Ruth Barbour of Warwick University will be giving the morning talk

The middling sort of Catholic in eighteenth-century Warwickshire

Tony Hadland of Oxfordshire Local History Society will be giving the afternoon talk on

Recusants of Oxfordshire and Berkshire

Please contact Jean Smith to book your place.CFHS

Catholic Sites on Heritage Open Days 2015


Heritage Open Days 2015 run from the 10th to the 15th September and the following Catholic sites are opening their doors during at least one of those days.

Please see the Heritage Open Days website for more information on a particular venue.

North East England

County Durham

  • St Cuthbert’s RC Church, Old Elvet – 1827 church by Ignatius Bonomi.
  • Ushaw College – Former Catholic seminary


  • Biddlestone Hall RC Chapel – Private family oratory.


  • St Charles Borromeo RC Church, Hull – 1829 Rococo style church.
  • St Hilda’s RC Church, Whitby – 1867 church by Hadfield
  • St Cuthbert’s Church, Bradford – Grade II listed church with artwork by Eric Gill

North West England


  • St Werburgh RC Church, Chester – 1875 church by Edmund Kirby.
  • St Alban RC Church, Macclesfield – One of AWN Pugin’s best preserved churches.


  • St Ann’s RC Church, Ashton under Lyne – Historic church by EW Pugin.
  • St Christopher’s RC Church, Hurst Cross – Post-war split level church
  • St Chad’s RC Church, Cheetham Hill – The Manchester Oratory – 1847 gothic church presently under restoration.
  • Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Blackpool – Post-war chapel and shrine.
  • Our Lady’s RC Church, Brownedge – Benedictine priory church.
  • St Clare’s RC Church, Liverpool
  • St Francis Xavier RC Church, Liverpool – Grade II* Listed Jesuit church dating from 1848
  • Church of the Sacred Heart, Darwen
  • St Joseph’s RC Church, Darwen

South East England


  • Inglewood House, Kintbury, Hungerford – Former De La Salle College
  • St James RC Church, Reading – Pugin’s first Catholic Church, dating from 1837


  • Our Lady of Good Counsel & St Peter RC Church, March – Post war catholic parish church.
  • Sacred Heart RC Church, St Ives – A church moved ‘brick by brick’ from Cambridge in 1902.


  • St James the Less RC Church, Colchester – 1837 church by J.J. Scholes


  • Our Lady & St Andrew RC Church, Hitchin
  • RC Church of the Holy Rood, Watford – Grade 1 listed church


  • Our Lady RC Church, King’s Lynn – 1896 church


  • St Mary the Virgin, Guildford – 1847 church
  • St Raphael’s RC Church, Kingston upon Thames – 1847 Grade II* Listed church

South West England


  • Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Tavistock – Grade II* Listed former Anglican church.


  • Lulworth Castle RC Chapel – 18th century private oratory.


  • Eyre Chapel – Private oratory by Hansom

East Midlands


  • St Joseph’s RC Church – Post-war church.

West Midlands


  • St Peter’s RC Church, Gloucester – 1858 gothic church by Blount.


  • St Edmund & Frideswide RC Church & Friary – Greyfriars Friary


  • St Giles RC Church, Cheadle, Staffs – One of AWN Pugin’s finest churches
  • Holy Trinity, Newcastle under Lyme – 1834 church in Medieval gothic style


  • Cloughton Court, Alcester – Tudor stately home. Home to the recusant Catholic Throckmorton family
  • Leamington Spa Mission – 1828 former Catholic church
  • Leamington Spa Polish RC Church – 1830 former town hall.
  • Princethorpe College, Rugby – Former Benedictine Priory from 1833.
  • St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham – AWN Pugin’s Cathedral.
  • Birmingham Oratory – Grade II listed Italian Baroque complex and church

St Chad’s, Cheetham Hill CD


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The Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society are delighted to announce the completion of the CD of baptisms for St Chad’s RC Church, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, covering the period 1772-1893.

St Chad’s is the Catholic mother church of Manchester with its origins in the mid 18th century, and spawned the daughter parishes of St Mary’s, Mulberry Street (The Hidden Gem), and St Augustine’s before relocating to its present site on Cheetham Hill.

The new CD contains transcripts, indexes and original scans of the first twelve volumes of baptism registers and will be an invaluable resource for anybody researching their early Catholic ancestors in Manchester.

The CD can be purchased from the MLFHS Bookshop.


Salford Diocese Parish Registers Project


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The Salford Diocesan Archives are proceeding with a plan to digitise early parish registers from every one of churches in the diocese. The project is being supported by the diocesan hierarchy, and was given the support of the new Bishop, John Arnold in his recent Ad Clerum.

The project includes all baptism, confirmation, marriage and death registers deposited at Lancashire County Record Office, and those still held in the parishes, and covers dates up toRegisters of St Ann, Fairfield the mid 20th century.

As of the end of August 2015, the registers from all churches in the Borough of Manchester have been completed, with exception to Mount Carmel, Blackley, and this church is now scheduled for September.

The Boroughs of Stockport and Tameside were started in August, Heaton Norris has been competed and Denton is scheduled for September.

The Borough of Salford is also underway with only the Cathedral, St Peter’s, Greengate, St Thomas of Canterbury, Higher Broughton and St Edmund, Little Hulton, still being outstanding.

Once scanned and in PDF electronic book format, different registers are being passed on to the Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society, the Catholic Family History Society, the Lancashire Online Parish Clerks, and to other individuals for indexing and transcribing.

For more information the Salford Diocesan Archives can be contacted through their website below.

Salford Diocesan Archives


The English Catholic History Association are taking bookings for their visit to coventry-cathedralCoventry on Tuesday 8 September 2015.

The recently refurbished church of the Most Holy Sacrament and St Osburg is well worth a visit.  In addition you will have the pleasure of the famous ‘Three Cathedrals’ tour at Coventry Cathedral.

The programme is as follows:

  • 11 am  Visit to the Catholic church of St Osburg, Barras Lane, Coventry, CV1 4AQ
  • 12.10 pm  Mass at St Osburg’s
  • 12.45 pm  Make own arrangements for lunch – there are facilities in Coventry Cathedral for lunch and tea, for example
  • 2.15 pm  ‘Three Cathedrals’ guided tour at Coventry Cathedral
  • 4 pm  Departure

Cost:  £12 per person which includes admission to Coventry Cathedral and the guided tour. A booking form can be downloaded here.




Thanks to British GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS) for letting me know about this useful web site.

The London FamilySearch Centre’s recently upgraded website now includes a series of interactive maps showing the boundaries of a range of key jurisdictions in England as at 1851. The separate layers available include:

  • Counties
  • Civil registration districts
  • Dioceses
  • Poor Law Unions
  • Hundreds

For each layer, you can zoom in to parish level and confirm the relevant jurisdiction. Readers can choose from three different background options:

  1. Map: A simple map
  2. Satellite: Modern arial view
  3. Ordnance Survey: 19th-century Ordnance Survey map

When you find an locality of interest, you can home in on “street view” or follow up a range of options such as compiling a list of parishes within a particular district. Your search can also move on to discover associated material in the Library catalogue and Research Wiki .

This facility is a major boost for anyone with English ancestry. It is particularly helpful if you do not live in the same area as your forebears and are unfamiliar with the record-keeping organisations that operated there in the past.

The facility is available at

(With thanks to Francis Howcutt and Philippa McCray)


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