Great Harwood is a lively and progressive small market town in the Borough of Hyndburn. There are many interesting features and activities. Every year in the summer time the War Memorial Park hosts a Prom Concert. There are many lovely walks in the neighbouring countryside. More information available here: https://www.great-harwood.org.uk/.
It was 1856 when Great Harwood first had a Parish Priest to serve the Town. In those days however there was no Church and Masses were celebrated in a 'Mass House' which was a rented cottage on Queen Street, the home of the first Parish Priest, Father John Dunderdale, later to become Canon Dunderdale. He served the people of the town for 30 years and supervised the building of the first Church, Our Lady and St. Hubert.
Our Lady and St. Hubert's Church, now a grade II listed building and its impressive stained glass windows were designed by Architect, Edward Welby Pugin, son of Augustus Welby Pugin who designed the Houses of Parliament. A local landowner, James Lomax who had already built a school for the Catholic children of the town, financed the building of the Church which cost £6,000. On the feast day of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 1858 the foundation stone was laid. The Church was opened by his Lordship Dr. Turner, the Bishop of Salford on the feast day of St. Hubert 3rd November 1859. It is now undergoing restoration as it has been affected by the elements and other factors over the years.
As the population of the town increased from 1,659 residents to almost 14,000 by 1911, it became necessary to build another Church. By this time Father Henry Hill was the Parish Priest at Our Lady and St. Hubert's and was the inspiration behind the building of the second Church and school. The second parish was to become St. Wulstan's. Father Hill purchased three and a half acres of land at the other end of the town for £1,000, aided by a bequest. Money was raised by the parishioners and a temporary corrugated iron church was built on the land in 1912 and served by the Curate from Our Lady and St. Hubert's, Father Patrick Wren, later to become Parish Priest at St. Wulstan's. The foundation stone for the permanent Church was laid on 3rd October 1936.
Inevitably history has turned a full circle and as you can see we are back to one Parish Priest, Father Anthony Clarke to serve the Parish of Our Lady and St. Hubert with St. Wulstan but now involving two Churches and many more parishioners.
Now in 2009 renovation of the graveyard at Our Lady & St. Hubert's has been completed. A great deal of laborious research to enable the successful identification of the very old graves was a project undertaken by Trevor Fielden, a parishioner. This was necessary prior to the contractors moving in to carry out the groundwork to make the graves, memorial stones and lawns safe and attractive.
A corner of the Graveyard prior to renovation, many of the memorial stones were unsafe, and the ground was difficult to maintain.
Following renovation. The stones have been made safe or removed and the lawns laid for easier maintenance.
If you have ancestors who lived in Great Harwood and attended either of the Catholic Churches, you may wish to place their names in the book of remembrance. If so please contact Julia Ashworth with the name of the deceased and the date of their anniversary. The name will be entered in the books at both Churches and prayers will be said on the date of their anniversary. The books are updated in June and January every year.
The Parish Walking Club is open to any parishioners. The walks are held on the 1st Saturday of each month and generally start at 10.15 a.m. The normal meeting point is outside Mercer Hall.
Sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing are an essential for most of the walks. If you enjoy fresh air, exercise and beautiful scenery come and join us!
Videos from various Lourdes pilgrimages, Holy Land and Centenary Flower Festival are available on the Videos page.