A series of letters relating to the Opening and Consecration of the Church.
1. Bishop O’Reilly to Hugh and Richard Ainscough.
Bishop’s House Liverpool
July 15, 1876
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th ult. in which you intimate your intention to build and endow a church at Parbold, to be served by the Benedictines, and to thank you for what you propose to do for God’s honour and the good of souls,
I not only give my sanction for what you propose to me, but I pray God to bless you and yours for evermore, abundantly here and eternally hereafter, for your gift. I shall be happy to inspect the plans as soon as they are prepared and to bless the foundations as soon as you are prepared to commence the works.
The church and mission may be served by the ‘Benedictine Fathers as long as the Superiors are able and willing to supply a priest for the work, and serve the mission to the satisfaction of the Bishop.
Again thanking you, and praying God to bless you.
1 am. Gentlemen,
Very faithfully yours,
BERNARD, Bishop of Liverpool.
2. Hugh and Richard Ainscough to Abbot Clifton, O.S.B.
Dear and Very Reverend Sir,
We have written to the Bishop of Liverpool for his sanction to build a church at Parbold in the district of Wrightington, and have received from him the enclosed reply. We have secured three statute acres of Freehold land, and intend to build on it a Church, Presbytery, and in all probability schools, and purpose to endow the mission with £100 per annum. We and our families have had a long connection with the Benedictines, indeed our Father and Mother scarcely knew any other Priests: and we should, we feel, be fulfilling their wishes as well as our own, if we can secure that the new Mission be served by the Benedictines.
We now beg formally to offer the Mission to the Benedictines, if you will favour us by accepting it. We wish it to be considered as a foundation for the Benedictines, and will place the property in trust in any names you may mention, on condition that you undertake to provide a Benedictine priest constantly to serve the mission, and will yearly say such Masses as we shall agree upon.
HUGH and RICHARD AINSCOUGH
3. Abbot Burchall, O.S.B. to Abbot Clifton.
Woollon August 14, 1876
Right Reverend and dear Fr. Provincial,
It is a pleasure to see the spirit of olden times manifested by the Messrs. Ainscough with reference to the proposed new church etc., on the site they have. purchased. I willingly give leave for your accepting the kind offer of these Gentlemen; and may Almighty God reward them, as well here as hereafter, for their generous and pious intentions.
I am. Right Reverend and dear Fr. Provincial,
Your affectionate Confrere, R. BURCHALL
4. Abbot Clifton, to Hugh and Richard Ainscough.
August 16, 1876
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter enclosing one of your good Bishop’s which I return, making the formal offer of the new Church and Presbytery you are about to erect at Parbold to the Benedictine Order, to be always served by one of its members. As Provincial of that Order, in my own name and that of my brethren, I thank you for your pious and holy offering which in the name of my Order I accept with the greatest pleasure. And I return you my best and sincerest thanks, not only for the gift, hut for the honour you have paid the Benedictines by making selection of them to serve your church.
It is to few men God gives the means, and at the same time inspires with the design, of doing so great a work for His glory; and my prayer, and that of all those who serve your church, will he that God will always give His blessing to you and your families and descendants, and your undertakings.
Again tendering you my best thanks, I remain Gentlemen,
Yours very faithfully and sincerely,
CUTHBERT V. CLIFTON, Prove. Elm.
Unfortunately, before the plans could be prepared, Richard Ainscough died at his home in Mill Lane, Lathom, on July 17th, 1877.
The Wigan Observer of May 11th, 1878 reported “On Sunday afternoon at three o’clock the foundation stone of a new R.C. Chapel was laid at Parbold by the Bishop of Liverpool, Rt. Rev. Dr. O’Reilly. The chapel is pleasantly situated close to the grounds of Lancaster House, the seat of Mr. Hugh Ainscough — and will be known as Our Lady and All Saints.
There was a very large attendance including Fr. Spencer (Ainsdale), Master of Ceremonies, Dean Cooke (Southport), Fr. Margison (Wrightington), Fr. Nixon (Mawdesley)”.
Edmund Kirby (1838-1920), of Liverpool was architect of the church which is described as having a fine tall spire with complicated buttress and pinnacle arrangement below and around it. Windows mostly lancets except for a large rose East Window and with short round piers inside. Accommodation is for 400. Parbold Hill with its extensive quarries supplied the stone, almost resembling granite and Mr. B. G. Dean of Wigan was responsible for internal decoration. Although the donors would never disclose how much money was expended, expert calculations have placed it at not less than £12,000.