Brindle History Timeline

Brindle was affected by the penal laws which meant that no priest could say Mass - the penalty for doing so was death. Mass was offered in Mass Houses & Brindle Catholics had their own secret means of communicating the location of the next Mass: clean washing was hung on hedges. Throughout this time in Lancashire, priests were offering Mass "by stealth", though no names are recorded; some were Benedictines, some Jesuit.
1677 Alice Gerard of the Well gave ground for a chapel, Newhouse, at Back Gregson Lane (now called Brindle Road, near the Cottage Gardens).
1678 Fr Birkett S.J. of Hough Hill was arrested & sent to Lancaster Jail.
1718 Newhouse Chapel & land forfeited.
1718 Closure of house & chapel near Hough Hill, Top o’th’ Lane.
1721 Fr William Placid Naylor established a chapel in the cottage next to the present presbytery.
1726 Stansfield House bought & held in trust. (The Test Act made it impossible for Catholics to inherit or acquire property & offered rewards for informing on a priest. This shows what a risk was taken by non-Catholics (James Woodcock & others) who bought & held Stansfield House (now the presbytery) in trust until it could be handed over safely to Fr Naylor).
1731 Stansfield House handed over to Fr Naylor.
1774 Vestments & chalice found in a cottage on the road to Townhouse. Similar finds had been made about 50 years earlier in cottages at Jack Green & had been hidden.
1786 Present Church built by Fr Lawrence Hadley.
1787 George Smith erected a school at Coupe Green (still there today - a pair of white cottages called Ampleforth & Ampleforth Cottage, confirming the strong Benedictine links with the parish).
1831 Joseph Knight, a local boy made good, provided a new school near the Church.
1832 Church enlarged.
1882 Fr I Brown gave the best set of vestments to Stonyhurst & took the rest to Parbold.
1889 New apse & altar.
1893 Pictures of St Benedict & St Lawrence installed.
1896 Lady Chapel extended.
1900 Baptismal font installed.
1901 Stations of the Cross.
1902 Lady Chapel screen erected as a tribute to Fr Wilfrid Brown
1924 The Great Pilgrimage at Brindle (Tercentenary of Edmund Arrowsmith’s release from prison).
1927 Vestments returned from Parbold.
1931 Oak panelling added.
1944 Nativity window shattered by a flying bomb which exploded in Gregson Lane on Christmas Eve. This was not repaired until 1953.
1949 Electric lighting fitted.
1977 Tercentenary of the Parish celebrated with Archbishop Derek Worlock (Liverpool), Abbot Ambrose Griffiths & Cardinal Basil Hume. Consecration of the Church.
1975 New school opened at Bournes Row, Hoghton. Old school becomes Parish Hall.
1986 Bicentenary of the Church. Urgent need for restoration work on the Church & roof discovered. Church closed for restoration estimated at 170,000. In the meantime, Sunday Masses are celebrated in the Parish Hall, weekday Masses in the dining room of Stansfield House - the chapel from 1731 in use again.
1987 Church reopens after restoration which finally cost 193,417.57.
1990 Half of the restoration debt paid.
1996 Restoration debt paid off in full.
1997 Parish Hall refurbished.
1997-98 Some of the "12 apostle" lime trees in front of the Church found to be diseased and removed.
1999 Parish priest moves to St Benedict's Monastery in Bamber Bridge.
New bookshop built in church porch area. Officially opened & blessed by Fr Geoffrey Lynch on 14th December.
2010 Ramp & steps outside the front of Church altered to improve access.
2011 Alterations in Presbytery - parlour & dining room converted into one large meeting space & a doorway into the Stansfield Wing opened.
Parish Priest moves out of St Benedict's Monastery & is now resident at St Joseph's.