The 'Martyrs

A Brief History of the Church

The Church of the English Martyrs, Whalley Range, was opened on Sunday July 5th , 1896, the Feast of the Precious Blood. For twenty years there had been St. Bede's Mission attached to St. Bede's College, which provided for the religious needs of the local catholic population. In 1893 Bishop Bilsborrow relieved St. Bede's of its pastoral care for the district and appointed Father James Rowan, a former teacher at the college, to care solely for the district.

Father Rowan was responsible for the foundation and building of the parish Church of the English Martyrs. He worked tirelessly in raising the funds needed to pay for the new church and worked zealously in the pastoral care of his people. The splendour of the church of course was achieved over many years and one of the most beautiful features in the church is our Rose window. This was presented to the parish in memory of Freda Waugh in 1919 and depicts the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.


Thanks to the efforts of Father Rowan and the generosity of all our kind benefactors the church was paid for within 26 years and thus consecrated for service of God's church on the Feast of the English Martyrs, May 4th 1922.

The parish church has like the rest of the church and world seen great changes in the way people live. But one thing has been constant in the life time of the parish's church. The parish of English Martyrs through its priests and people has contributed to the life of the local community, deaneries, dioceses, country and world. Many priest have been given to the church by the parish of the English Martyrs and many have great association with it.


As we are now well into the third millennium, the parish of English Martyrs, is still a shining witness to the world for Christ and his church. In 2002 the church went under a complete renovation programme to restore this beautiful church to its former glory, and if you visit our church I think you will be impressed.


 As the building is grade 2 listed, great care had to be taken when choosing materials and carrying out the work.

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