Short History of Our Lady and Saint Gregory's Catholic Church
Following the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537, the Roman Catholics of Market Bosworth had no choice but to travel out of town to worship. Centuries later, however, they began to meet at the home of Mrs Rose Trivett in Park Street or at Ye Olde Red Lion Hotel, where a visiting priest would celebrate Mass. Today Catholics still meet at the Red Lion but now it is to sample its wares rather than religious purposes.
The land for the Church of Our Lady and Saint Gregory was given by Sir Arthur Wheeler, a non-Catholic himself but his sister, Mrs Sutton, was a convert and it was she who donated the statue of the Madonna and Child which she brought back from Lourdes. The statue remains above the front door of the Church for all to see.
The original Church was built by a Hinckley firm of Catholic builders, and consecrated in 1931 on the feast day of Saint Gregory. Father Degan, from Coalville and famed for his
'Sunday Dance Bands', was the first of eleven parish priests to-date to serve at Our Lady & St Gregory's Church. Originally the church had capacity for 65 people, but this increased to some 200 following extensions given planning permission in 1975 - a number of those involved in making those extensions possible still worship here today.
Inside the Church is a Victorian alabaster font used for Christenings. The font was presented by Mrs Elsie Meakin as a family memorial after finding it in a stonemason's yard at Ashby de la Zouch, waiting to be made into bookends! It had originally come from an Anglican Church in Burton on Trent, which had since been demolished. Also in the Church is another statue of Our Lady and Child, this one was donated by Sister Louis Bertrand of St Martin's Convent at Stoke Golding, again sadly no longer remaining today.
In the past, Mass has been celebrated at the Church by priests from the Missionary Teaching College at Wellsborough and the Roman Catholic Land Settlement at Westfields, Carlton, neither of which remain. Today however, and for more than 30 years now, along with our sister Church of Ss Peter & Paul in Earl Shilton, we have been very fortunate to be served by Fr Terry Fellows who keeps us engrossed each week with his interesting and thought provoking sermons. More recently, he has been joined by Deacon John Humphries whose teachings are also well received.
In recent years, we have been working together with St Peter's CoE Church and the Free Church in Market Bosworth, on a number of ecumenical services and the Alpha Courses. In addition, we continue to support various charities including Christian Aid and the Hinckley Food Bank. So if you are in the neighbourhood on a Sunday morning do join us - you will be more than welcome, and we hope you will enjoy the after Mass refreshments as well.
5th January 2014