A pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Rt. Rev. Michael Campbell OSA, the Bishop of Lancaster in the presence of Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the ICKSP took place to mark this occasion.
The church is in the gothic style by Edward Welby Pugin and the church was initially meant to have a spire, but a lack of funds prevented it from being built!
St Thomas of Canterbury and The English Martyrs is built at the site of what was once known as Gallows Hill and the site if executions in the wake of the 1715 rebellion.
Pugin had prepared ambitious plans but these were revisited due to the estimated cost of £7825 10 shillings! The amendments saw the new plans not have a west tower. The church (still not finished) was opened on 12th December 1867.
In 1888, the church was enlarged at the east end of the nave and sanctuary, to E.W. Pugin’s designs. This increased the accommodation by a third, providing for another 500 people, and cost £8,000
A narthex was created as recently as 1965 and this was at the expense of interior seating. Unfortunately, a fire occurred in 2000 and the restoration work saw the creation of a Parish Room at the expense of confessionals.
The homily delivered by Bishop Campbell can be read here.