Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Bulkington
What is now the Roman Catholic Parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, situated in Mill Lane, Weston-in-Arden, Bulkington began in 1842 when the owner of Weston Hall, Richard Brome de Bary, became a Roman Catholic together with his wife and three children. Click HERE for a short history of the de Bary family. Weston Hall was, for many centuries, the centre of life in Weston-in-Arden and the de Bary family became very prominent in the area. Very soon after his conversion to Catholicism, Richard Brome de Bary established a mission at his home consisting of an upstairs chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Bethlehem. The Dominican Fathers from nearby Hinckley served the mission at Weston Hall. Soon afterwards, the great hall was converted into a school to educate the poor children of the village. The Bulkington CHURCH built in 1869, is a simple Gothic building in brick and stone capable of seating about 150 people. Inside, the Romanesque High Altar is made of stone and alabaster with a rosary window above. This window is regarded by experts as one of the best examples of its kind in the country. To the left of the High Altar stands St Joseph's Chapel. In recent times a porch has been erected on the front of the church, the sacristy has been extended and a parish hall has been built on the church grounds. In 1990, a grotto to Our Lady was erected outside of the Church and to the left of St Joseph's Chapel.
St Francis of Assisi, Bedworth
The original church of St Francis of Assisi was opened in June 1883 to cast a tentative shadow over Rye Piece, a little side-street in the middle of the town of Bedworth and at a time when Catholics were still viewed with suspicion. It was a modest, oblong structure built in traditional Victorian redbrick with a small schoolroom running along the west side. The money to build it was raised by the priest, Fr Pius, not entirely from his sparse congregation but by simply begging all over the country. Funds for further development were supplemented by two long-running novenas dedicated to St Peter of Alcantara and St Francis Xavier. In 1894 a school was built close to the church and big enough to accommodate some 150 pupils aged from 4 to 14 years but eventually it was superseded by a new school. It is now a nursery. The church itself was extended finally into its present form to be consecrated on 4 September 1923 and one of the hundreds of Catholic churches built following the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. A memorial to all the dedicated priests and parishioners of the past, particularly Fr Francis (1892 – 1912). He was a legend in his own lifetime whose French background undoubtedly influenced the unique character of the church. He acquired land around the church to build the new school, the presbytery, to build social housing and he bought an old brewery to serve as a social club. So the Catholic community which had first congregated in a disused shop in one of Bedworth’s many yards, then a small chapel, finally had its own church, yet with the sanctuary at the west end and opposite to the original. During its long life the church has survived wars and recession, the upheavals of Vatican II, town re-development and the ebb and flow of congregations and priests. Now it stands proudly and prominently ….. a Victorian gem on the busy Rye Piece ring road surrounded by beautiful gardens and enhanced by a Calvary and a grotto in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes.
This 60 page A4 booklet in full colour traces the history of the parish from its foundation in 1849 to the present day. Copies can be obtained from the Church Piety Stall (after weekend Masses) or the Parish Priest, Fr Michael Gamble.
Click HERE for a short history of the DeBary family of Weston Hall.
Click HERE to view / download the full Parish History
(PDF file 2308 KB)