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Our Lady & St Edward's Catholic Church

Marlborough Drive, Fulwood, Preston

Diocese of Lancaster

Parish Priest

Canon Robert Horn

Site Map

Friend and Deacon

d. 11 April 2013

Peter the deacon
Mission Statement
Mission Statement
We pray
We welcome
We care

The account that follows refers of course to a building, but initially a disclaimer is essential - the 'church' as 'ecclesia' is not a building at all, but a gathering of people. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them!" as Jesus assured his followers. He did not found 'churches' - i.e. substantial buildings made of wood or brick or stone, but groups of people who met together to pray, to support each other and to live by God's Word as preached or as revealed in the writings of the Apostles.

Buildings soon began to proliferate in the early church in places where there were substantial numbers of Christians of course, as convenient venues for meetings and especially in areas where there was frequent inclement weather! So much attention was gradually focused on the building itself that the church building came to demand a particular type of 'presentation' or service and it has become increasingly difficult to recognise the 'people' as distinct from the building and all the paraphernalia of artefacts that seem to be essential within it.

The people do not really belong here - their function is to develop their religious life in the place - the whole area - where they live, or the walls of the church building can be a trap, making them feel safe and protected from the world outside but preventing them from functioning as they should. We are all missionaries! As one of our previous parish priests used to put it: how do we express our faith on the Blackpool Road?

See the Site Map - at the top of the page - for a detailed tour of 'our church', the people of yesterday worshipping in private houses or in converted barns, those of today whose 'meeting-places' are here of course, but also often many miles away, and those of tomorrow, the children, some of whom are already very involved in the wider community.

The name 'Fulwood' (supposedly from 'foul wood') originally referred to the northern outskirts of Preston, stretching from the old Roman road, Watling Street Rd and its continuation on to the small Roman outpost in Kirkham via Lytham Rd to the Preston boundary at the end of Friargate. The area from there to Barton was all part of Broughton, including most of the parish of Our Lady and St Edward's. Mass was often said in the domestic chapels of private houses in penal times until the chapel opened at Cottam in 1785. Many of the ancestors of people in our parish were baptised and/or are buried there.
The first Catholic chapel in the 'new' Fulwood began in Broughton Cottage in Black Bull Lane (referred to as 'Old Turnpike Lane' in the 1861 census), then the main road north. It was privately owned at that time by Mrs Jane Smith, née Haydock (of Cottam), widow, with a large room and built-on chapel in the part of the house known as St Michael's which was used from 1857 to 1892. Jane's two priest sons, lived there when they retired from their parishes, Fr. Thomas Smith, previously parish priest of Rotherham, Yorkshire about 1879-1882 and his younger brother Fr William Smith, formerly parish priest of Osbaldeston in Lancashire, about 1889-1892 (both buried at St Andrew's, Cottam). The Vicar of Woodplumption, Rev. George Jackson, claimed that that 100 people could attend Mass in the Broughton chapel. (Any information on the presence of nuns there about 1963 or earlier would be welcome!)

The church from the south-east
St Anthony's church served the area until the expansion of Fulwood to the west of Garstang Road led to the opening of Our Lady and St Edward's on Marlborough Drive in 1954. The Primary School was not opened until the summer of 1966, the children attending St Anthony's until then, by which time it had had to be built away from the church and on Lightfoot Lane.

In April 2013 Fr Bob received the following email from a parishioner, David Quayle

"Thanks to the well written book by Mr. Tom A Smith, on Our Lady & St Edwards (1987), I have long been curious in visiting St Edwards church in Kettering on which, according to Tom Smith's research, our own church design was based. Last Tuesday, I happen to be passing Kettering and with some time to spare thought I'd visit the church and was fortunate to find the building open. I was not disappointed and found that our own church is a very close design match. I believe St Edwards Kettering dates from the late 1930s, where of course our building dates from the early 1950s.
It would be interesting to know whether Fr. Pearson's choice of this design was swayed by the fact that it is also named after St. Edward - that I suspect we'll never know!"

See David's splendid photos of St Edward's, Kettering
(The one on the left is Kettering, not Fulwood!)


Feast of St Edward

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of O.L.S.E.
10th October 2004

Procession in honour of Our Lady


See the Children's Liturgy


The parish of Our Lady and St Edward's in the Diocese of Lancaster was founded in 1943 by Fr. Francis Pearson. The present church, was completed in 1954 and consecrated in 1987. As new housing estates were built the parish was split into two, St Clare's taking most of the area east of Garstang Road. In 1988 the parish became one of six - now eight - covenanted churches - Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and United Reformed. Members of the churches meet regularly for joint services, prayer groups, outings and other social occasions.
Mary, the mother of Jesus,  our 1st patron, always points to her Son Our patron saints

Our Lady
St Edward

A Pause for Prayer

Edward the Confessor, our 2nd patron, Saint and English king