Catholic Family History Society
Registers of St Wilfreds with St Mary RC Parish, Preston, Lancashire: B M DCode:
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Registers of St Wilfred with St. Mary RC Parish, Preston, Lancashire on CD/DVD
Bap. 1768-1803 & 1813-1899; Mar. 1769-1803, 1813-1829 & 1836-1899; Death/Bur. 1768-1803, 1817-1854 & 1891-1915. Published as Adobe Acrobat files by the Catholic Family History Society. Price £7.67, 90gms.
The Jesuits served the Preston Mission from at least 1701 and possibly earlier from 1685, first in an older chapel, then in a newly built St.Mary’s on Friargate, from 1761. This chapel was used by Preston Catholics for over thirty years. The Jesuit records of 1750 show 520 ‘customers’ in Preston, but the ‘1767 Returns of Papists’ names 730 Catholics in the Township. By the late 1780s. St.Mary’s had become too small for the congregation and was closed and used as a warehouse, when St.Wilfrid’s Church was constructed off Fishergate, opening in June 1793. It was a plain brick building with a balcony around three sides. The congregation, however, continued to increase, so much so, that St.Mary’s re-opened in 1815 as a chapel-of-ease. It remained in use as a Catholic church until 1992, when it was closed. Then later that decade it was demolished. A small shrine now occupies the space where the front door of the church stood. Later in the nineteenth century St.Wilfrid’s was extended and substantially renovated both inside and out. This is the church we see today.