The Catholic church is represented in Bollington by St Gregory’s church in Wellington Road, St Gregory’s primary school in Albert Road, and the Salesian mission at Ingersley Hall which the church refers to as Savio House.
The church was established here by Father John Hall, from Macclesfield, in 1830. This was a time when the local Catholic population was expanding rapidly as a result of the influx of Irish families to work both in the mills and on the construction of the Macclesfield Canal. The first church, or rather, chapel, was two rented cottages which served both as church and school.
In 1834 William Turner of Shrigley Hall gave land to both the Anglicans and the Catholics for the construction of new churches. While the Anglicans built St John’s in Church Street, opened June 1834, the Catholic St Gregory’s chapel was constructed off the end of nearby Chapel Street and opened in March 1834. Fr Hall continued to minister to Bollington from Macclesfield until the first resident priest Fr Edward Kenrick came in 1842 staying until 1845.
In 1952 Fr Thomas Osbyrne came to the town. He was described as ‘perhaps the most dynamic of all Bollington’s parish priests‘. In 1957 he demolished the original buildings and built the present church and presbytery in Wellington Road. The cemetery remained in Chapel Street. He erected an ex-army hut behind the church to serve as a church hall.
In 1981 the Salesians became responsible for the parish. At about this time the Salesians vacated Shrigley Hall, which then became an hotel, and took Ingersley Hall (Savio House) where they remain to this day.
In 1866 the church converted a row of cottages in Chapel Street (those to the right in the picture above left) to become their first school in Bollington. In 1962 Fr Thomas Osbyrne built the new school in Albert Road and converted the Chapel Street premises back to cottages. The original door of the school at the west end retains a memorial stone over it which is visible from the roadway at the junction of Chapel Street and Harrop Road. The wonderful picture (left) of the interior of the school was very kindly passed to us by Jane Greenaway, for which we are very grateful. The children have just been presented with Coronation mugs, almost certainly in 1902 for King Edward VII. No doubt a very formal event, with all the school teachers, officials and the incumbent Father standing at the back. The main door is behind them, which is the Chapel (east) end of the building. As well as the mug, they appear to have been presented with a suitably printed paper or card commemoration of the event.
The new school was built in Albert Road, opening in 1962, and remains a popular quality primary school.
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Our thanks go to those who researched and discovered the history that is presented in these pages. Please read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement. Unless otherwise noted, the historical pictures are from the Civic Society picture collection at the Discovery Centre and also available online.
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