History

Ellesmere Port - St. Mary of the Angels

( An extract from the book "History of the Diocese of Shrewsbury - 1850-1986"  by Canon E. M. Abbot)

This parish, commonly referred to as Hooton Parish, is now situated in the Borough of Ellesmere Port.
It is linked up with pre-Reformation times through the Stanley family who always had the Mass in their domestic chapel down to 1849. In that year the property was bought by Mr. Thomas Naylor, a Protestant. For a few years after this the Catholics of Hooton went to Mass at Puddington. In 1865, for a few months, the priest there, the Rev. P.F. Baron, said Mass in the drill shed at Childer Thornton for the benefit of the navvies engaged in the construction of the Helsby railway.

The following year, Hooton was established as a separate mission and Canon William Hilton was appointed rector. For some fifteen months he said Mass in the store-loft of the house belonging to Mr. James Craven, who gave the land for a presbytery and garden. In 1867, the present presbytery was finished, the funds for this being mostly collected by the Rev P. F. Baron. Two rooms of the house served as a chapel.

The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 24th March 1878 and it was solemnly opened on 22nd August 1879 by the Bishop - Auxiliary Right Rev. Dr. Knight. On the 10th June 1883 it was consecrated by Bishop Riddell of Northampton owing to the indisposition of Bishop Knight.

Those present at this, the first consecration of a church in the diocese since the Reformation, included Sir John and Lady Stanley Errington and Lady Williams-Bulkeley. Sir John, the last male representative of the Stanley family, generously provided the land for the church and cemetery as well as four cottages on the east side of the presbytery. He defrayed the cost of the new building and was responsible for its furnishing and boundary walls. Later, on the death of Mr. And Mrs. Craven, he bought their house and shop so that a school might be made out of them.

Detail from the stained glass window in the Stanley side-chapel showing the church building.

"...the first consecration
of a church
in the diocese
[of Shrewsbury] since
the
Reformation,"

A detailed history of the church was written by a parishioner, Phil Jeffrey, who also took the photographs shown on this web site Phil can be contacted by e-mail: