History

 

Parish Priest: Fr Martin Kelly

Email: martin.kelly@dioceseofleeds.org.uk

St Mary's RC Church,
Gibbet Street,
Halifax,
West Yorkshire,
HX1 5DH

Tel: 01422 352141

St Alban's RC Church,
Huddersfield Road,
Halifax,
West Yorkshire,
HX3 0AZ

Tel: 01422 352141

Our Parish is one of the oldest in the Diocese of Leeds.  The Mass was said in Halifax throughout most of the Eighteenth Century in various rooms and meeting houses.  Only after Catholic Emancipation in 1829, however, did it become possible to erect a more permanent place of worship for the Catholics of this district.  Land was obtained opposite the old place of executions on Gibbet Lane and in 1834 the foundation stone of St Mary’s Church was laid by Fr Joseph Wright-Fairclough, the first Parish Priest. Soon, in 1846, schools were added to the complex of buildings, by Fr John Rigby, to ensure the Christian education of the children of the parish.

In 1861 during a stormy night, a great section of the church collapsed but was soon rebuilt.  The parish was divided in the 1890s to create the new parish of St Bernard’s, Boothtown, which was named in honour of Fr Bernard Wake, Parish Priest of St Mary’s, who had worked hard to build up the Catholic community in that part of the town.  St Mary’s in the meantime had become too small for the existing congregation and after the First World War a great project was undertaken by Canon John Foley to extend the Church to its present proportions.  This project was completed by Dean Peter Russell, who beautified the church with the addition of Italian marble altars, pulpit and rails.

The church was consecrated in its centenary year of 1934 by Bishop Cowgill of Leeds.  The growing Catholic population, however, necessitated further splitting of the parish, and in 1934 St Columba’s Church was built and set up as a separate parish in the Pellon District of Halifax.  Finally in 1954 St Alban’s Church in Huddersfield Road was opened and Fr Edward Quinn was installed as first Parish Priest two years later.  In 2005, Bishop Roche decided that the needs of the area could best be served by reintegrating St Alban’s Parish into its mother parish of St Mary’s which left the parish as it is today.

Parish Priests of St Mary’s 1834 – Present

Fr Joseph Wright-Fairclough 1834-1840
Fr John Rigby 1840-1849
Fr James Hostage 1850-1855
Fr Matthew Kavanagh 1855-1862
Fr James Kelly 1862-1869
Fr Joseph Geary 1870-1882
Fr Bernard Wake 1882-1892
Canon James Gordon 1892-1896
Canon Patrick Mulcahy 1896-1911
Canon John Foley 1911-1931
Dean Peter Russell 1931-1945
Fr J Reginald Stack 1945-1954
Fr J Leo Mitchel 1954-1964
Fr James Noonan 1964-1973
Canon James Belton 1974-1992
Fr Michael Ingwell 1992-2005
Mgr David Smith 2005-2016
Fr Martin Kelly 2016-Present

 

Parish Priests of St Alban’s, Halifax, 1956 – 2005

Fr Edward Quinn 1956-1959
Fr Cyril Roddy 1959-1968
Fr Hugh Barr 1968
Fr Austin Hewitt 1968-1975
Fr Bernard Duffy 1975-1985
Fr Francis Carroll 1985-2000
Mgr David Smith 2000-2016
Fr Martin Kelly 2016-Present

 

Priests Born, Baptised or Educated in the Parish

Fr Leo Lawless
Fr Gabriel Coyle OP
Fr Philip Wallis
Fr Owen Evans
Fr Edward Woodhouse
Mgr Dennis Rafferty
Fr Bernard Duffy WF
Fr John Gallagher SJ
Fr John Tomblin
Fr Joseph Hughes SJ
Fr Hubert McNamara
Fr Peter Ward
Fr John Gott
Fr Robert Staton
Fr Paul Reid
Fr Thomas Durkin
Fr Paul Luniuw
Mgr Philip Moger