Catholic community in Billington

This brief survey of the history of Catholicism in our area begins with the laying of the foundation stone of Whalley Abbey Church in 1330 by Abbot Topcliffe who was himself a native of Billington. The abbots of Whalley had held the manorial rights to the Manor of Billington since the late 13th Century and prominate local Catholics were very generous to the Abbey. Countess Margaret de Lacy donated land in Billington for the building of a corn store. William de Dynckedly gave half an acre as site for a barn; Sir Adam de Hudleston allowed the monks right of pasturage on Billington Common and also permitted them to dig turf and quarry stone on his land.

During these times the people of Billington would almost certainly had attended Mass at Whalley Abbey Church. On 9th April 1537, the Earl of Sussex wrote to Nicholas Tempest charging him in the King's name to restore a chalice belonging to the Chapel of Our Lady, which the parishoners of Billington had bought and which the Abbot had entrusted to his care. It seems reasonable to conclude that the parishoners who bought the chalice would worship in the said Chapel.

Two of the local hostelries are directly linked with prominent Catholic families of the period - The Judge Walmsley and The Petre Arms. During the 1700's mass for the residents of Billington was held at Stonyhurst College but they where dependent to a certain extent by the state of the river. The crossings at Dinckley and Hacking could not operate when the waters where high and the journey by road was too long for most Catholics who would invariably walk to Church.

Nowadays, the Catholic community of the area use either St. Mary's Catholic Church in Langho or the English Martyr's Church in Whalley.

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