Wakefield Family History Sharing
Walkers History of Wakefield
2nd edition 1939 (privately printed)
The Roman Catholics
There was no mission at Wakefield before 1826, when the Rev. George Morris was sent by the Provincial to open a mission in the town. Father Morris purchased the land on which St Austin's stands in 1827 from Thomas Rishworth, and a church was at once built, and registered as 'a place for the religious worship of Papists of persons professing the Popish religion' on January 17, 1828 at the Christmas Quarter Sessions held at Wakefield. The Church was opened on March 4 in that year. In 1867 proposals were madeto build a new church and a plot of ground with an adjoining house in Southgate was bought. For sometime the fathers lived in this house, now the offices of Locke and Company Limited, but the position was thought to be unsuitable and the property was resold in 1869 and the fathers returned th Wentworth Terrace. In 1879 the present Church was enlarged at a cost of £3,400 ; a new chancel, Lady chapel and baptistry, sacristry with organ chamber above, and a vestry on the north side of the chancel were added to the original building, giving a total length from east to west of 105 feet with a width of 40feet ; a new alter was added, above which was placed a copy of the taking down from the Cross by Caracci from the original painting at Stonyhurst. The Church was re-opened on November 11, 1880. In 1890 further decorative work was done, figures of St Austin the patron saint of the church, and of St Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, were added to those already in the sactuary. In 1910 a great picture painted for the alter-piece was placed in position ; the design by Signor Bottoni is that of the Virgin with child Jesus enthroned, on the right of the throne stand St Austin, on the left St Patrick ; in the distant background is a glimpse of the river Calder and the Chapel on the Bridge ; in the foreground is St Ignatius holding the book of the constitution of the Society, while on the other side is seen Sir Thomas Moore in his Chancellor's robes. In August 1931 it was decided to withdraw the Jesuit priests from Wakefield and to staff the Church with secular clergy and the Rev. Father Leteux from Denaby Main was appointed as Rector.
To read fully the events, read 'Wakefield its History and People' by J W Walker OBE FSA