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St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall
St James the Less Roman Catholic Church
St James the Less Roman Catholic Church
Burnley Road, Rawtenstall

Though there was a small number of practicing Catholics in the Rossendale area after the Reformation they kept a low profile for over two hundred years and had to worship secretly until the Tolerance Act of 1778. The first Catholic chapel in the area was at Sunnyside, Crawshawbooth which came into being as a result of a prolonged strike at Sunnyside print works in 1828. Because of this dispute John Brooks the mill owner recruited labour from Manchester and amongst them were a number of Catholic families. At this time the nearest Catholic church was at Towneley Hall in Burnley some seven miles away so John Brooks gave them the use of a room at the print works and later a building at the bottom Pinner Lane near the print works. The chapels were served by the priests of Towneley from 1828 until 1836 when Father James Carr became the first resident priest.

With a growing congregation and the need for a larger building, Father James Rylands obtained land for a new church at Constable Lee, Rawtenstall in 1842. The church was completed by Father Thomas Rimmer, who became the first parish priest, and opened on the 24th September 1845.

The Parish Registers of St James the Less

The following registers are held at Lancashire Records Office. All other registers are at the Church or their whereabouts are unknown.

BaptismsMarriages
1836 - 1855*1836 - 1855*
1876 - 19411869 - 1941
1947 - 19621947 - 1953
1961 - 1962
*These registers include entries for the Mission at Sunnyside, Crawshawbooth.

The Priests of St James the Less
1845 -Father Thomas Rimmer 1908-Father James W. Thomson
1848 -Father James Anderton 1915 -Father D. Pickeling
1848 -Father Thomas Unsworth 1916 -Father Joseph Callaway
1851-Father Henry Swale 1927 -Father Francis Clarke
1854 -Father Joseph Scott 1938 -Father Clarke
1875 -Father Denis Byrne 1938 -Father James McGinnell
1878 -Father McCormack 1940 -Father J. O'Sullivan
1881 -Father J.C. Musseley 1969 -Father Joseph Landregan
1893 -Father John Peter Klein 1976 -Father George Hamer
1906 -Father Augustine Hageman 1993-Father David Lupton
Click on image to enlarge

War Memorial and Peace Garden