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History Group

The group was established a few years ago to research and appreciate all aspects of the history of our church and parish both for our interest and for the benefit of all who value the rich heritage and legacy of our Catholic faith and the contribution it has made to the local community and parish life.

Many hours of painstaking work looking through the Jesuit diaries of former parish priests of St Edmund's stimulated the idea of producing a booklet to record those early years. The contributions of parishioners' past memories also provided valuable material to assist the task. It is a sad fact that many parish records and valuable artefacts have been lost and sold over the years which makes us appreciate all the more the noteworthy historical significance of those remaining items and the features in our Church that make it so special.

The Booklet, 'The Present from Our Past' was aimed to be informative but was also written to coincide with the important 250th anniversary of the Chapel having been built by Fr John Gage in 1762 and which was dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It is the oldest post-reformation chapel still in use in the Diocese. Revised leaflets giving a brief history of the Church and Parish which are a helpful guide for our visitors were also produced.

The History Group has since moved on to update and expand the booklet and has produced 'Years of Faith' within the archives section of this website. This gives a comprehensive account of our Church, Chapel and Crypt and of local Catholicism. Its format serves as not only an electronic version of a book but as a useful guide for those who plan to visit the Church. The benefit of it being online is that it is free (although copyright is asserted), it can be easily updated and it is widely accessible. Printed hard-copies in black and white can be made available upon request (there is a fee for this service).

The History Group has been active in research and communicates its work through the media, within presentations and guided tours. Full information can be obtained from the contact address below on this and how you can take advantage of talks and tours.

Whatever your level of interest or ability in history and heritage we warmly welcome more members to ensure that our past is duly recognised and properly recorded - the Group is informal and meets four times per year.

For further details contact John Saunders

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