Parish Celebrations for 200 years

Thursday 18th July 2019

This summer, two parish communities of churches within the Diocese of Salford are celebrating their 200 years anniversaries by holding celebrations within their parishes.

In early July, Bishop John celebrated Mass at the Church of St Mary and St John Southworth, Samlesbury, to mark the bicentenary of the Church and in August, parishioners at Pleasington Priory will do the same.

Both churches, though very different buildings architecturally, were dedicated 200 years ago and have a long and interesting history.

St Mary and St John Southworth, Samlesbury

St Mary and St John Southworth church in Samlesbury stands in a secluded and beautiful spot on a wooded hilltop which overlooks the Riber Ribble. The church, which replaced a chapel, was completed in 1818 and was officially opened in July 1819.

The church has close links to local Martyr, St John Southworth, a member of the local gentry family of Southworth of nearby Samlesbury Hall. Following his canonisation in 1970, his name was added to the original dedication of St Mary’s.

The Celebration

The church was full to the brim for Mass, said by Bishop John, with parishioners, friends and those who had connections with the parish travelling from near and far. The church rang with vibrant and enthusiastic singing of traditional hymns and the manual organ was played by a former parishioner whose mother was choir mistress for many years.

Following Mass, there was a buffet and an opportunity to delve into the history of the parish by looking at displays of photographs, newspaper cuttings and booklets, as well as historic vestments and a chalice dating back to 1786.

St Mary and St John, Pleasington Priory

Pleasington Priory was built from designs by John Palmer, who was the architect responsible for Blackburn Anglican Cathedral.  It was a pioneering building of the Gothic Revival in England, notable for the quality of its stone carving, and is one of only a few grade I listed buildings in the Diocese.

Today, it is home to a thriving parish community who are soon to celebrate its 200th year.

On August 24th, Bishop John will celebrate Mass at Pleasington Priory. Following this, a celebration will be hosted at St Bede’s School where refreshments will be served, offering an opportunity for the community to gather and reflect on years gone by.


Looking to the future

We join both St Mary and St John, Samlesbury, and Pleasington Priory in celebrating their bicentenary anniversaries.

Our Diocese is home to hundreds of churches with vibrant parish communities.  We give thanks for the rich history in our Diocese and look forward to the future, one which we hope will see us all respond to the call of Pope Francis to be Missionary Disciples.

Are you celebrating any key moments in your parish?

Let us know by emailing



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