Men of Euxton called to the Priesthood
The Parish has no records of parishioners who were called to the Priesthood: we hope that we have succeeded in identifying and researching all of the Euxtonians thus called - their brief biographies follow.
Frederick Smith (1854 – 1909)
Thomas Joseph Smith (1856 – 1925)
James Welsby (1861 – 1896)
Thomas Walmsley (1858 – 1914)
Henry Wilcock (1861 – 1936)
William Bernard Smith (1863 – 1894)
John Aloysius Smith (1865 – 1933)
John Wilcock (1881 – 1965)
William Winstanley (1894 – 1969)
Gerard Roscoe (1922 – 1977)
Kevin Snape (1929 - 2017)
Frank Calderbank (1926 - 2006 )
Karl Hart (1959 - )
Men of Euxton called to the Priesthood
Fr Frederick Smith (1854 – 1909)
Fr Frederick Smith was one of 8 children of Thomas and Jane Smith (nee Catterall) and was born on 20th August 1854, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on the 21st August 1854 by Fr John Worthy. Frederick was one of four brothers, all baptised in the Parish, who were called to the Priesthood – albeit the Smith family moved to live in Lancaster before 1871. In addition to the four brothers who were ordained, a fifth brother died during his training at Ushaw College and 2 sisters entered the religious life as nuns.
Frederick Smith was educated at Ushaw, and ordained on 10th December 1877 by Bishop O’Reilly. He spent his first year after his ordination as secretary to Bishop O’Reilly. Following this he went to St Joseph’s, Liverpool and from there, in 1880, to St. Anthony’s, Liverpool.
He was then appointed to take charge of the new mission of St. Francis of Assisi, Garston, in 1883. At this time services were celebrated in a temporary chapel, but a new church was built under Fr Smith’s direction and opened on 15th September 1905.
Fr Smith was the First Rector of St Francis of Assisi, Garston, and served there for the remainder of his priestly life. He also represented the Garston district for many years on the West Derby Guardians, and acted as one of the Diocesan Inspectors of Schools until his death on 26th November 1909, following a period of ill-health. He received the sacrament of Extreme Unction from his brother, Fr John Aloysius Smith. Thousands of people attended his funeral on 29th November and the flag on the local Anglican church was flown at half-mast. He is buried in St Austin’s Cemetery, Grassendale (Aigburth).
Canon Thomas Joseph Smith (1856 – 1925)
Canon Thomas Smith was one of 8 children of Thomas and Jane Smith (nee Catterall) and was born on 11th December 1856, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on the 13th December 1856 by Fr John Worthy. Thomas Joseph was one of four brothers, all baptised in the Parish, who were called to the Priesthood – albeit the Smith family moved to live in Lancaster before 1871. In addition to the four brothers who were ordained, a fifth brother died during his training at Ushaw College and 2 sisters entered the religious life as nuns.
Thomas Smith was educated at Ushaw, to which he was sent at nine years of age. He continued at the college as student and teacher until 1884, when he was ordained priest. For some six years he worked at St.
Andrew's, Newcastle-on-Tyne; afterwards he was at St. Bede's, Carlisle, and in 1892 he moved to St. Joseph's, Sunderland. In 1897, he was appointed to the charge of St. Mary's, Sunderland, the oldest church among the missions of the town and remained there until his sudden death on 12th June 1925. In 1908 he was appointed a Canon of the Hexham-and-Newcastle Chapter. Canon Smith took a deep interest in educational and social welfare and served both on the Sunderland Education Committee and the Board of Guardians. His requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Mary's by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, who also officiated at the graveside.
Fr Thomas Walmsley (1858 – 1914)
Fr Thomas Walmsley was the youngest of 4 sons of Richard & Frances Walmsley (nee Buller) and was born on 17th February 1858, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on the 18th February 1858 by Fr John Worthy. Fr Walmsley attended St Edwards College, Liverpool and was ordained to the priesthood on 19th June 1886.
In 1886 Fr Walmsley’s first appointment was for a short period of time as assistant priest at St Thomas the Apostle in Claughton on Brock, followed by an appointment at Our Lady of Reconciliation in Eldon St, Liverpool, staying there until 1890 when he underwent a lengthy sick leave (until 1894) spending some time recuperating at Lytham (living with his uncle).
Fr Walmsley returned to the active priesthood in 1894, moving to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Everton. He stayed there until 1897 when he moved to St Joseph’s in Preston and from there moved to English Martyrs, Haydock in 1898. Fr Walmsley stayed at English Martyrs until his retirement in 1904. At the time of the 1911 Census Fr Walmsley was staying with Fr Henry Wilcock at St Mary’s, Bolton-le-Sands. Fr Walmsley died on 2nd April 1914.
Fr James Welsby (1861 – 1896)
Fr James Welsby was the eldest of 10 children of Alexander & Mary Welsby (nee Fairbrother) and was born on 12th November 1861, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on 15th November 1861 by Fr John Worthy. Fr Welsby attended St Edwards College, Liverpool and the Leeds Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood at Upholland in June 1885.
Fr Welsby’s first parish appointment was made on 12th September 1885 as curate at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Toxteth. In 1892 he became parish priest at St Robert’s, Catforth. In 1893 he became the first priest at the new church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Windleshaw, St Helens and remained there until his death (from typhoid fever) on 22nd November 1896.
Fr Welsby’s Requiem Mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart, St Helens on 24th November and he was subsequently buried in the Catholic cemetery at Windleshaw. His parents, two brothers and an uncle were the chief mourners.
Fr Henry Wilcock (1861 – 1936)
Fr Henry Wilcock was one of 5 children of Thomas & Ann Wilcock (nee Collier) and was born on 12th December 1861, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on the same day by Fr John Worthy. Fr Wilcock attended St Edwards College, Liverpool and Upholland and was ordained to the priesthood on 11th June 1887.
In 1891 Fr Wilcock was appointed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Everton. Thereafter followed curacies at St James, Bootle; Our Lady Star of the Sea, Seaforth and Holy Trinity, Garston.
He moved to St Mary of the Angels, Bolton le Sands in September 1896, initially as curate, but later as parish priest from 1907. Fr Wilcock served at St Mary’s until his death on 22nd December 1936, and is buried in the cemetery at St Mary’s of the Angels.
The following obituary is taken from the Lancaster Guardian:
“Father Wilcock, like his predecessor found time amidst his parochial duties to tend his plot of land behind the church. Not only was he interested in the fruits and vegetables, but he also kept hens and pigs. Many parishioners remember the boys going from school during their dinnertime, or before school, to help Father Henry tend his livestock. He also specialised in pigeons and bred many champions, his best flying as far away as Nantes and Marennes.” “Not only was he interested in pigeons, hens and poultry, but he was quite an expert on bees and spent much of his free time wandering the lanes of the village, studying the flowers and the bees. On one of these walks, apparently, he met some holidaymakers, a man and his wife from Scotland. They were not Catholics but a long lasting friendship grew from this meeting. The man, it seems, was the manager of the John Brown Shipyard in Glasgow and when the “Queen Mary” was launched in 1934 he sent a Rolls Royce for Fr. Wilcock so that he could attend the ceremony and bless the ship.”
Members of Fr Wilcock’s family emigrated to Canada in the late 19th Century and he visited them there on at least two occasions – the photographs are courtesy of Philip Wilcox, one of Fr Henry’s Canadian relatives: the earlier picture dating from the time of his ordination (it is believed); the later picture was taken in 1924.
Fr William Bernard Smith (1863 – 1894)
Fr William Smith was one of 8 children of Thomas and Jane Smith (nee Catterall) and was born on 10th July 1863, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on the 11th July 1863 by Fr John Worthy. William Bernard was one of four brothers, all baptised in the Parish, who were called to the Priesthood – albeit the Smith family moved to live in Lancaster before 1871. In addition to the four brothers who were ordained, a fifth brother died during his training at Ushaw College and 2 sisters entered the religious life as nuns.
Fr Smith attended St Edwards College, Liverpool and St Joseph’s College, Upholland and was ordained to the priesthood on 15th June 1889 by Bishop O’Reilly. Following his ordination Fr Smith’s returned to St Edward’s College as Professor of Mathematics. In 1893 Fr Smith was appointed as assistant priest at St Joseph’s, Liverpool and stayed there until his death, at the age of 31, on 21st November 1894 – his death was as a result of typhoid fever that he contracted whilst on a sick call. Fr Smith was buried at Ford Cemetery, Liverpool on 23rd November following a Requiem Mass at St Joseph’s – mourners at the Requiem included Fr Smith’s mother and three of his brothers and also the Revds Welsby, Wilcock and Walmsley – his fellow priests hailing from Euxton.
Fr John Aloysius Smith (1865 – 1933)
Fr John Aloysius Smith was one of 8 children of Thomas and Jane Smith (nee Catterall) and was born on 3rd September 1865, being baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel on the same day by Fr John Worthy. John Aloysius was one of four brothers, all baptised in the Parish, who were called to the Priesthood – albeit the Smith family moved to live in Lancaster before 1871. In addition to the four brothers who were ordained, a fifth brother died during his training at Ushaw College and 2 sisters entered the religious life as nuns. John Aloysius Smith is notable in that he was the last child to be baptised at Euxton Hall Chapel prior to the opening of the church in 1865.
Fr Smith attended St Edwards College, Liverpool and St Joseph’s College, Upholland, and was ordained to the priesthood on 23rd May 1891. Following his ordination Fr Smith served as curate at St Anthony’s, Liverpool from 1891
to 1904. Fr Smith then served as the Parish Priest at Our Lady Immaculate, Bryn from 1904 to 1930. In 1930, Fr Smith became the Parish Priest at St Joseph’s, Wrightington. Fr Smith had been suffering from a serious complaint for a considerable time but died suddenly from a heart attack he suffered shortly after celebrating Mass on Sunday 5th November 1933.
Canon John Wilcock (1881 – 1965)
John Wilcock was one of 6 children of William and Mary Wilcock (nee Wells) and was born on 15th November 1881, being baptised at St Mary’s on the 16th November 1881 by Fr John Worthy. John Wilcock attended St Edward’s College and St Joseph’s College, Upholland.
He was ordained on 10th June 1911 and then studied Classics at St Edmund’s House, Cambridge until 1915 when he returned to St Edward’s College as a Professor and stayed there until 1920 when he moved to the senior seminary at Upholland, where he became headmaster.
In 1924 Fr Wilcock received his first parish appointment as curate at St Marie’s, Southport where he stayed until 1927 when he moved to become the parish priest at St Elizabeth of Hungary, Litherland. He was appointed a Canon in 1956. Canon Wilcock remained in his post at Litherland until his death on 25th September 1965.
Fr Gerard Roscoe (1922 – 1977)
Fr Roscoe was the only son of William and Mary Roscoe (nee Clitheroe) and was born in Euxton on 2nd August 1922, being baptised at St Mary's by Fr Thomas Keeley on 6th August 1922. His was a long-established Euxton family - his family antecedents (both paternal and maternal) can be traced back though the Parish Registers to the 18th Century.
Fr Roscoe was educated at St Mary’s and at Preston Catholic College. After a short spell of employment at the ROF he was called-up to the Royal Air Force, and on demobilisation he entered St Joseph’s College at Upholland. Fr Roscoe was ordained to the priesthood at St Mary's on 8th June 1952 by Archbishop Downey.
He served 9 years at St Oswald’s, Ashton-in-Makerfield; 9 years at St Christopher’s, Speke; and seven years at Holy Rosary, Aintree – he had been appointed as parish priest at St Mary’s, Kirkby shortly before his death.
He celebrated his Silver Jubilee at Holy Rosary, Aintree on 8th June 1977, and collapsed and died only 40 minutes after receiving a presentation from his parishioners.
It is estimated that over 1000 people attended the service when his body was received into the church the evening before his requiem, which was attended by over 200 clergy.
Fr Roscoe was buried in St Mary's Cemetery on 16th June 1977.
Fr Roscoe’s Ordination Day
Fr Kevin Snape (1929 - 2017 )
Fr Kevin Snape was one of 2 children of Richard and Clare Snape (nee Westhead) and was born on 15th January 1929, being baptised at St Mary’s on the 20th January 1929 by Fr Thomas Keeley. Fr Kevin’s father was, for a number of years, the organist at St Mary’s and his mother was a long-serving headmistress at the primary school. The Snape family moved to Chorley in 1939.
Kevin Snape initially attended St Mary’s school, but he moved to Winckley Square Convent School from the age of 8, followed by Preston Catholic College. He studied for the priesthood at Upholland College and was ordained there on 4th June 1955, celebrating his first Mass at St Mary’s, Chorley.
Fr Snape’s first appointment was at Holy Name, Fazakerley where he spent 2 years, followed by a return to Upholland College in 1957 to teach Mathematics, a role he carried out until 1978.
In 1978 Fr Snape returned to parish ministry and spent 2 years on an “exchange” arrangement at parishes in Wales – in Holywell and Ruthin. In 1980 he returned to the Archdiocese as parish priest at Holy Family, Boothstown where he remained until ill-health caused him to retire from active ministry in 1995. Fr Snape returned to full ministry in 1998 at Our Lady, Portico but ill-health returned and he was forced to retire in 1999.
In September 2016 Fr Snape was diagnosed with cancer and after a successful operation he moved to Ince Blundell Hall. However, he was taken ill suddenly at the beginning of February 2017 and died at Fazakerley Hospital.
Archbishop McMahon celebrated his Funeral Mass at St Marie's Church, Standish on Monday 20 February prior to burial at St Chad's, South Hill.
Kevin Snape pictured with his parents – the former school headmistress and church organist respectively.
Fr Frank Calderbank (1926 - 2006)
Fr Frank Calderbank was born in Preston on 11th January 1926, the eldest son of Francis and Alice Calderbank (nee Burns). The Calderbank family had moved to Woodcock Fold Farm, Euxton by 1929 and had 5 children baptised at St Mary’s. Frank Calderbank attended St Mary’s school from 1931 to 1937 at which point he gained a scholarship to Preston Catholic College. Following his education Frank volunteered for service in the Royal Navy and served in the supplies branch until the end of the War. After demobilisation he joined the National Coal Board, qualified as a mine surveyor and worked in many of the South Lancashire pits. He then spent 6 years studying for the priesthood at the English College, Lisbon where he was ordained on 23rd May 1964.
In August 1964 he was appointed to Blessed Sacrament, Aintree. In November 1969 he moved to Our Lady of the Assumption, Liverpool, where remained until February 1973 when he was appointed to St William, Ince. In October 1974 he moved to St Joseph, Penketh and in August 1980
he became Parish Priest of St Finbar, Liverpool. In January 1983 he was given the additional responsibility of Administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Liverpool. His final appointment in February 1990 was as Parish Priest of St Patrick, Widnes and Administrator of St Marie’s, Widnes, where he remained until his retirement in 1999. Fr Calderbank died on 10th July 2006. His Requiem service took place at St Marie’s, Widnes, and the following day his funeral service took place at St Oswald’s, Coppull, where he is buried, with Archbishop Kelly presiding.
Fr Calderbank’s Ordination day at the English College, Lisbon
Fr Karl Hart (1959 - )
Fr Karl Hart was born in New Zealand on the 1st March 1959, his parents, Anna and Tony Hart, having emigrated there in 1957. He was baptised in St Joseph's, Takapuna by Mgr. John Kelly. His secondary education began at Rosmini College, Takapuna and continued, after the family returned to England in 1972, at the Catholic College, Preston. The family moved back to the house that Fr. Karl's father had built in Euxton.
He graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Management Sciences, after which he started work with his father in the family double glazing business. His involvement in the parish and the Diocesan Youth Service led him toward a career with the Catholic Social Services (now the Nugent Society) but after a few years here he began studies for the priesthood at Ushaw College.
He was ordained on the 6th July 1991 by Archbishop Derek Worlock at St Mary's, Euxton. His first appointment was at St Clare's, Sefton Park, Liverpool as assistant priest. He moved from there to St Mary’s, Lowe House in St Helens. Lowe House was both a parish and the Diocesan Vocations Centre. His position was as assistant priest, and later was added the role of Vocations Director. In the last year of his time there he was asked to take on the duties of Parish Priest. Following this appointment he was made Parish Priest of St Agnes', Huyton.
Latterly he has taken time out of the active ministry and now manages a charity supporting the local community in Huyton.
Fr Hart’s Ordination Service
Fr William Winstanley SJ (1894 – 1969)
Mention should be made of Fr William Winstanley SJ who may be regarded as an honorary Euxtonian…. his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all Euxton men, baptised and buried at St Mary’s. Fr William’s father (John) was a police officer who rose to the rank of Deputy Chief Constable, he served in Preston and married his first wife (Elizabeth Walmsley, Fr William’s mother) in Preston in 1893. Fr William’s mother died in Preston in 1930: John Winstanley re-married in 1931 (to Mary Haydock) at St Mary’s and died in 1940, being buried at St Mary’s. Also buried at St Mary’s (in 1913) was Henry Walmsley, Fr William’s step-brother, who was living with his family in Euxton at that time. Anniversary Masses were said for many years at St Mary’s for members of the family, specifically including Fr William – his Euxton heritage shouldn’t be forgotten because his father’s career required him to live in Preston during his childhood!
Fr William Winstanley was the only child of John and Elizabeth Winstanley (nee Walmsley) born in Preston on 31st May 1894 – he attended Preston Catholic College and entered the Society of Jesus at Roehampton on 7th September 1911. He was ordained at St Bueno’s in St Asaph on 20th September 1925. He served at Our Lady Immaculate and St Joseph, Prescot in 1927; St Ignatius College, Stamford Hill from 1928 to 1938; St Joseph’s, Leigh from 1938 to 1945; St Wilfrid’s, Preston from 1945 to 1957; St Michael and St John, Clitheroe from 1957 to 1966; and at St Mary’s, Lowe House, St Helens from 1966 to 1969.
In 1969 Fr Winstanley moved to St Francis Xavier’s College in Liverpool to recuperate following a period of treatment at Providence Hospital, St Helens following a severe fall. Despite failing health he managed to say Mass almost every day until 22nd November 1969 when his health deteriorated to the point of requiring his re-admittance to Providence Hospital where he died peacefully on 29th November 1969. The Requiem was on 3rd December 1969, Fr A Doyle was chief concelebrant and many priests and religious were present.