Bolton St Peter & St Paul RC Church

Bolton St Peter & St Paul RC Church

Just a brief history of the church and school that many of my relatives used.

Parish records are partially available on Lancs Online Parish Clerk website –

  • Baptisms – 1794 to 1855
  • Marriages – 1795 to 1922
  • Burials – 1836 to 1880


  • The church was founded in 1794 on Pilkington Street, it was originally known as Pilkington Street Catholic Chapel and was the first Catholic place of worship in Bolton. At this time the site was outside the town, in a churchyard surrounded by trees and fields.
  • The original church had a graveyard
  • During the 19th century the area became more and more built up with cotton mills, and factories along with rows of terraced houses for the workers.
  • The original school was built in 1855
  • In 1870 a fund was started to erect a new church and hall.
  • The church hall was opened in 1896
  • The current church and presbytery were completed in 1897.
  • The graves from the old church were reinterred at Tonge Cemetery
  • A new infants school was built in 1916
  • In 1920 the Lady Chapel was remodelled as a war memorial
  • The current school was built in 1936
  • By the 1970s the church hall had fallen in disrepair
  • In 1983 a fire spread from the hall to the church and damaged the sanctuary. The church was repaired but the hall was subsequently demolished
  • In 1994 the large presbytery was vacated
  • In 2010 the church closed when Father John McNamara retired and a shortage of priests meant there was no one to replace him. The diocese had planned to close the church in 2007, but Father McNamara managed to keep the church open until his retirement. The parish was merged with the nearby parishes of St William of York, St Edmund and St Patrick, and St Ethelbert
  • The school remains open.

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