History of the Parish


In 1491 a Dr John Fisher was appointed the twenty-fourth Vicar of Northallerton. He remained such for four years. Later, when Bishop of Rochester, he alone of all the English bishops opposed the Act of Supremacy by which Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church in England. He was executed in London by the king in 1534, and was canonised saint and martyr in 1935


Notes made by George Sutton in 1987


1849: Slaters Directory of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire - No mention of R C place of worship in Northallerton but states that there is an R C church at Aiskew




1863: Baptismal Records for Bedale/Aiskew - These show that Fr McGonnell was Baptising people with Northallerton addresses

1871: Extracts from the First 100 Years of the Diocese of Middlesbrough, by Monsignor Robert Carson, state :-


There were always Catholics in Northallerton throughout the penal days, but there was no resident priest there until 1871 when Bishop Cornthwaite established a school chapel. This ancient market town, once a Roman settlement, was later a Castle fortress of William the Conqueror. Until recent years it was the capital of the North Riding, and when the new county boundaries were drawn, it became the county town of North Yorkshire, and remains the centre of Allertonshire


The chief towns of the North Riding in penal days were Northallerton, Richmond, Bedale, Yarm, Stokesley and Whitby. Of these Northallerton was the last to be established as a mission. Until 1871 it was served from Aiskew, and in the Directory of 1881 it is noted that Northallerton is still served from Aiskew, and the total Catholic population of the two towns is 60


Allertonshire is a geographical segment between Cleveland and Richmondshire, and throughout the penal days was well endowed with Catholic Gentry such as the Pinckneys of Nether Silton, the Conyers of Hutton Bonville, the Dodsworths of Thornton Watless, and the Meynells of North Kilvington. In villages like Kirby Sigston, Leake, North Otterington and Thornton-le-Street small groups of Catholics kept the old Faith alive. Nor do we forget Osmotherley, which though strongly linked with Cleveland is in Allertonshire. At the time of the First Relief Act 52 Papists are listed for Northallerton

1872: Post Office Directory - 'The Roman Catholics have a church here' (Northallerton). The Rev Laurence McGonnell is the priest at the R C chapel in Aiskew


1877: Saywell 'Annals of Northallerton' quotes 'On the 27th March, the Rev W F N Allen, Master of the Northallerton Grammar School died. After his death it was discovered that Mr Allen, whose movements during his life had been somewhat eccentric and mysterious, was a priest of the Roman Catholic Communion. Among his personal effects was found a box containing conclusive documents and a full set of papal vestments. Mr Allen, however, never assumed a clerical garb or ventured to officiate in any priestly capacity, but it was generally thought that he was in some way connected with the order of Jesuits. He was formerly assistant master at the Mount School under Rev E Bittleston the then headmaster'

Saywell makes no mention of R C priests in Northallerton under Lists of Ministers of other Denominations 1825 - 1883


1879: Post Office Directory - 'There are Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, Weslyan & Primitive Methodist chapels'. Under 'Places of Worship' the ministers are given for all denominations except Roman Catholic


1889: Kelly's Directory - 'There is a Catholic chapel, dedicated to All Saints which is served from Aiskew near Bedale by the Rev William J O'Connor'. Under 'Places of Worship' - 'Catholic. Rev William J O'Connor, priest, mass 10.45am'

Comment: The dedication must surely be wrong. All Saints is the dedication of the Anglican parish church


1893: Kelly's Directory - 'There is a Catholic chapel, erected in 1871 and dedicated to All Saints' Under 'Places of Worship' - 'Catholic. Rev James Butler priest; mass 10.45 am'

Under 'Private Residents' - 'Butler, Rev James [Catholic and chaplain to H M's prison]'

Under Aiskew: 'Catholic chapel built in 1812' (in fact, 1828) 'and renovated in 1878 and dedicated to SS Mary and Joseph'

Under 'Places of Worship' - 'SS Mary and Joseph (Catholic) Aiskew. Rev James Butler priest. 9am & 6.30 pm. Sundays 10.30 am

Comment: For Northallerton, the date of erection as 1871 confirms Canon Carson (see above) but the dedication still appears inaccurate. It would appear that the priest was still resident in Aiskew, but if so the times of Mass must be wrong if only one priest. Viz. Northallerton 10.45 am

Aiskew 10.30 am


1905: Kelly's Directory - 'There is a Catholic church erected in 1871 and dedicated to the Sacred Heart, it is served from Aiskew'

Under 'Places of Worship' - 'Sacred Heart, Catholic, Rev James Butler, priest, mass 10.45 am

Comment: This entry would appear to be correct as to date and dedication. The cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly strong in the 1870's, cf the building of Sacre Coeur in Paris after the Franco-Prussian war


1909: Kelly's Directory: 'The Catholic church was erected in 1871 and dedicated to the Sacred Heart'

Under 'Places of Worship' - 'Sacred Heart, Catholic, Rev Louis Tils, priest, mass 10.30 am'

Under 'Private Residents' - Tils Rev Louis (Catholic) Thirsk Rd

Under Aiskew: Under 'Places of Worship' - 'SS Mary and Joseph, Catholic, Aiskew, Rev Richard Louis, priest'

Comment: It would appear that by this date there was a resident priest to serve the church in Northallerton and it was no longer served from Aiskew


1913: Kelly's Directory - Description of church as in 1909

Under 'Places of Worship' - 'Sacred Heart, Catholic, Rev Louis H Tils, priest, mass 10.30 am & 6.30 pm. Fri 7.30 pm

Comment: Presumably 10.30 am is on Sunday and 6.30 pm on the same day was Benediction and Devotions


1921: Kelly's Directory - same entries as for 1913


1929: Kelly's Directory - same entries as for 1913


1933: Kelly's Directory: same as for preceding year except under 'Private Residents' - 'Tils Rev Louis H (Roman Catholic) Lindisfarne, Thirsk Rd'



'The First Hundred Years' - 'it was on 18th December 1933 that Bishop Shine laid the foundation stone for the dignified parish church of the Sacred Heart in Northallerton. The church was opened on June 27 1934 and is one of the many churches designed by Bishop Shine and built by F Spink'



1937: Kelly's Directory - 'The Roman Catholic church of the Sacred Heart was erected in 1934: it has 300 sittings'

Under 'Places of Worship' - 'Sacred Heart, Roman Catholic, Rev P McAniff, priest'

Under 'Private Residents' - 'McAniff Rev Patrick (Roman Catholic) The Presbytery, Thirsk Rd


Victoria County History. Vol. I p 420 - 'Roman Catholicism has always been strong in the neighbourhood and in 1871 the chapel of the Sacred Heart was built on the west side of the town' (Article on Northallerton)


The Ordnance Survey Map of Northallerton (Edition of 1913) shows the Roman Catholic Chapel situated in Back Station Street (now Malpas Road) off Romanby Road where the Scout Hut now stands (1987)



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