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Photo-a-Day  (Tuesday, 3rd August, 2021)

St Pat’s Church

St Pat’s Church

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX500)
Views: 2,455

Comment by: Mick on 3rd August 2021 at 07:21

Somebody pinched St Pats bell.
Ive noticed that St Annes in Shevy and St Maries in Standish still have bells to ring.

Comment by: Veronica on 3rd August 2021 at 07:51

Hardybutts used to be a very busy thoroughfare before it was closed off in the middle during the demolition of Scholes....and the building of the new school.
...Sure a little bit of Ireland fell out the sky one day and nestled in the shadow of St Pat's Church not far away ... from my home in John St.... many memories for me in that scene. Thank you Dennis.

Comment by: Veronica on 3rd August 2021 at 08:15

The small bell wasn't pinched Mick, it was removed to make way for a massive clanging bell that shook the foundations of all the little humble terraced houses. It was kept behind a wall at the side , since removed. As kids we all had to collect bottle tops to pay for it. It was Fr Lappin's folly. The small bell in It's 'tower' was rung before every mass on Sunday. I remember the bell ringers at the back of the church. People walked in droves to the sound of the bell ringing. It was a lovely sound..nicer even than the Parish Church bells to me any way.

Comment by: irene roberts on 3rd August 2021 at 08:50

I thought it was St. Williams in Ince at first glance! What a lovely church. It must bring back many happy memories for Veronica and for Tom Walsh as well as so many other contributors to Photo-a-Day. The ancient bell from All Saints Church in Hindley was stolen not long ago but was thankfully recovered.

Comment by: Maureen on 3rd August 2021 at 09:05

I don't know the area Dennis,but that is a lovely shot.
Veronica,I just love that song..always have.

Comment by: Mick on 3rd August 2021 at 09:12

My dear departed salt of the earth Irish grandad lived in Hardybutts

Only bit of Ireland nestled in the shadows of Scholes today are the gypsy's.
I wonder if its them who pinched St Pats bell, last year they tried to pinch the bell from the church in Hindley, but got disturbed, so they left the bell in the church gardens.

Comment by: irene roberts on 3rd August 2021 at 09:27

You have got that totally wrong. Mick! The thieves who took the bell from All Saints in Hindley sold it to a scrap dealer, telling him it had come from an abandoned church. When the scrap dealer saw the plea for its recovery, he realised that the bell he had paid for was the stolen one and he contacted the church and returned it to them. It was all over the local papers so I don't know where you got your story from about it being left in the church gardens! Get your facts right.

Comment by: Mick on 3rd August 2021 at 10:20

A video of the inside of St Pats church for them who haven't been inside for a very long time.


A video of the real St Pats (the one who chased all them snakes) grave in Down cathedral graveyard Ireland.


Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 3rd August 2021 at 16:20

St Wilfrid's Standish has rather an impressive peal of bells too Mick, nice photo btw Dennis. I've never stepped foot in St Pat's strangely enough.

Comment by: Mick on 3rd August 2021 at 19:07

Stan Ive been up in St Wilfs bell tower watching the Standish Campanologist pulling on the ropes, I bet there not a lot of born and bred Standishers who has done that.
I made a video of my adventure of the event, thats watchable on my YouTube channel

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh. on 3rd August 2021 at 19:16

This is an article that appeared in The Wigan Observer.

A Jewel in Wigan's Crown.
St.Patricks Parish.
Tom Walsh.

Miss Egan , long time head teacher of the boys school and a lifelong parishioner. her entire school life was devoted to the parish spending 38 years at the school ;she always referred to St Patrick's Parish
' A Jewel in Wigan's Crown ' others would describe it as ' Thee Parish ' . However it is described there is no
doubt that ' St. Pats ' is much loved parish with a fearlessly proud congregation. This became apparent
when in the resent past the parish was part of consultation on the reorganisation of the parishes of Wigan . Thankfully , St Patrick's was spared , the steadfastness of congregation played no little part in its survival and under the outstanding leadership of Fr. O' Shea the parish goes from strength to strength.
Josh Marshall was also inspirational in the dark days.

It is difficult for people with no connection to the parish to understand how all consuming the parish family was to every aspect of life , everything seemed to revolve round parish life; particularly so before television and other means of entertainment.The social side of life also was taken care of by ' The Club ' with its 2 billiards tables , concert nights , and of course bingo ' The Nolan's ' were regular artists when they were at the outset of their careers .
When the club first opened it was a Mens only club , when the new club opened that rule was relaxed and women were 'allowed in ' at weekends . Later ' The Mother's ' would hold social evenings they raised many thousands of pounds for the parish . Father Lappin often was bowled over by the amounts they donated to the parish

I have recently been given access to the minutes of the club 1946 - 1960 they make fascinating reading .an example on 5th of June 1955 - The committee decided to buy the piece of land in Wellington Street for £20 allowing the the new club to be the full length of the spare land , incidentally the minutes were scribed are signed by John Mc Dermott headmaster of the school and the voice of Rugby League in Wigan , older readers will remember him as an outstanding commentator on Wigan's matches.

After the the tumultuous events of the past few years it was felt that a potted history of the parish would be appropriate . I have relied heavily of the research carried out by two stalwarts Colin Blake and Gerald Fairhurst R.I.P. and all the contributors to the wonderful and well written book ' with the sub title ' it's warmth undiminished ' published in 1997 to celebrate 150th anniversary of its foundation .

In the forward to the book Fr. William Naylor P.P. writes " As for you dear readers, may I invite you to take some pride in this story but not to stop at that. History continues day by day . Your forefathers made you what you are; your children's children will be what you make them. Treasure your Faith , that they, too may enjoy ".I think his words are well worth repeating .

St Patrick's was not a parish when it was opened in 1847, it was a church of ease served by the clergy of St Mary's Mission ( until a change in Canon Law 1918 Catholic Parishes were referred to as Missions )
The then parish priest ,Fr. Middlehurst died only two months after the opening of St. Patrick's .He was succeeded by Fr. William Wells and entires in notice books of the time show St. Patrick's was still under the auspices of St.Mary' s. In October 1848 St Patrick's baptismal records begins ; it is reasonable to assume that this was when it became a parish in its own right .

To digress briefly , from being a church of ease at its inception, St. Patrick's 110 years later had plans to build a church of ease itself . The longest serving and much loved Parish Priest Fr.James Lappin ( 1953 -1985 ) applied for planing permission to build a church on land adjacent to Lamb Street ,Whelley . A tentative name had been chosen ,St. Bridget's, in the end the plans floundered, as things transpired it probably a blessing that they did.

Father Nugent a curate, at St Mary's was promoted
to become first parish priest , he was to go on to found the Nugent Care Society , which still carries out invaluable work today. The work that he carried out among the poor of Liverpool is impossible to overstate . I think it's fair to say that Wigan's loss was Liverpool's gain. He died 1905. A statue of Fr. Nugent can be found in St.Johns Gardens Liverpool . After Fr Nugent's short tenure St. Patrick's, was once again fortunate by the appointment of his cousin, Fr. Huge Mc. Cormick who would serve the parish for 26 years , he saw the parish through difficult days of the cotton famine 1862-1865. He was held in such esteem that when the new girls school was built in 1928, 53 years after his death the school was dedicated to his memory . An unusual aspect of the 'new' school was the senior girls playground was on the roof, it was designed thus because of the lack of space; it was certainly a novel use the land available . A street that ran parallel with the church also bore his name ; I was fortunate to spend my childhood in 'McCormick Street 'and whilst they were basic houses, outside toilets etc ,I would have not wanted my earlier years to be spent anywhere else in the world ! In Wigan Cemetery there is a very impressive memorial to this obviously well respected priest , it was funded by public subscription ,which must have taken a herculean effort in those straitened times.

Including the present incumbent St.Patricks has had 15 Parish Priests, the people of the parish are rightly proud of all the holders of the office. A particular place in older members memories is held for the longest servicing ,Fr. James Lappin, who was a curate for 4 year before his 32 tenure as Paris Priest.The parish has also been blessed with well over 75 curates, the longest serving of these was Fr. Thomas Carney (1912-1928). It would be remiss not to mention Fr. Joseph Burns (1977-1986) the last curate ; he worked closely with Fr Lappin ,they could fairly be called ' The Dream Team ' so well did they work together.

St Patrick's has rich history and has provided Wigan with many Councillors and Mayors . In the WW1 Wigan's ( Wigan Brough) only recipient of The Victoria Cross was a former pupil os St. Patrick's School, Thomas Woodcock V.C. The parish lost many parishioners in both world wars , May they Rest in Peace .

The Darkest Day in its 172 years existence was undoubtably 18th August 1908 , The Maypole Pit Disaster , 75 men were killed , 20 of whom were members of St. Patrick's congregation, many of these were part of the Irish Diaspora . One of the three survivors was also a member of the parish , Mr. Edward Farrell , many of his descendants still live in the community today.

On the Sunday following the disaster a Requiem Mass was said for the dead . Dr. O Dohaghue delivered the address. His remarks echo down the decades, he spoke of " THE VOICES OF THE DEAD CRYING OUT FOR PRAYERS " who could not be have been moved to tears by such a sermon !

On a brighter note the parish boasts many achievements ; building six schools , the present primary school received OUTSTANDING on its last Ofsted inspection . Also building the largest church in Wigan which opened on the 18th March 1880 at a cost of £8000. (£905,000.today's equivalent ) this in the difficult times of the late nineteenth century no mean feat .

Many sporting successes not least the wining The Daily Dispatch Shield in 1926 ( I ought to declare an interest, both my Dad and Uncle were part of that team ) which laid the foundation for ' St. Pats. ' Rugby Club which has a 'rugby worldwide' reputation, known from Fiji to Australia to New Zealand. The parish is rightly proud that the present Chairman of Wigan RLFC Ian Lenagan is a former pupil.

Please God St Patrick's celebrates its bicentenary in 2047. I would like to attend although I would be 102, highly unlikely , but you never know !

Comment by: Roy on 3rd August 2021 at 19:54

St Wilfrid's Bell Tower.
Mick, been there done that in 1952 aged 11 when i was a boy chorister at St Wilfrid's. But now 69 years later i could get up the staircase but they would have to winch me down.

Comment by: Cyril on 3rd August 2021 at 20:16

Underneath the floor towards the base of the tall carved white marble altar that is shown on Mick's video was the remains of candles on a ledge, Fr Lappin went on to explain that when a young curate he would go under there to read his bible, it was he said, "the only quiet place he could find in the church where he wouldn't get disturbed." He was a great character and who I suppose could tell some quite interesting tales, I found that he was quite the opposite of his counterpart over at St Cats, though I doubt he would have agreed and would most likely to have frowned at the suggestion.

Comment by: Cyril on 3rd August 2021 at 20:39

Irene, you're right about the bell from All Saint's being found at a local scrapyard, it was reported in the local press.

I asked you not long ago about an Aunty Betty at Wigan Little Theatre, I've found out that the person people were referring to was Betty Buckley, which you'll know her dance school often performed at the theatre, I've been told she was known to many ex pupils as Aunty Betty, I never gave it a thought it could have been her.

Comment by: Edna on 3rd August 2021 at 21:05

This church holds lots of precious memories for me.My maternal grandad came over from Ireland, and attended this church.I love to hear church bells, I can hear them every Mon night when they are practicing in the parish church in Wigan, from my garden.But not while the virus has been around.

Comment by: Frances Walton nee Kelly on 7th August 2021 at 13:56

My late father Bill Kelly taught at St.qPatricks in the years after WW2 .His parents and parishioners of St.Pats ,William and Lizzie Kelly,lived at 42 Spring St.Dad later taught at St.Johns.When we moved to Crosby he came back every year to play Father Christmas at St.Pats.

Comment by: janet on 30th August 2021 at 10:26

keep it short next time tom good shot dennis

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