The Roman Catholic Church of St Charles was an offshoot from St Mary’s, Ulverston, the Mother Church of the Furness district that came into being. Rev W Massey of Ulverston purchased the land with money he and Father John Bilsborrow (afterwards Bishop of Salford) had collected. The later was appointed to take charge of the parish and arrived in Grange on August 27th. 1882. For eighteen months Mass was said in Kent’s Ford House, the residence of John Sutcliffe Witham, Esq. a great benefactor of this parish. The present altar was a gift of this gentleman and hid dear wife, Ellen. The patron saints of this devoted couple and their parents seem to be represented by the marble statues that flank the reredos— St John the Evangelist, St Susanna, and St Helen and it is presumed, St John of Beverly.

The foundation stone of the Church was laid on May 29th, 1883. However in September of the same year Father Bilsborrow left and was succeeded by the Rev R. T. Langtree. The church was officially opened on January 22nd, 1884 and towards the end of that year the presbytery was completed and occupied. Since then the following priests have been in charge of the parish.

Father Richard T Langtree 1883-1929 RIP
Father James Lowrey 1933-1944 RIP
Father Joseph Cyril Fitzsimmonds 1951-1972 RIP
Canon Patrick Mulvany 1982-1987
Father W A Parker The present Parish Priest

Father John Sullivan 1929-1933 RIP
Father Thomas Gore 1944-1951 RIP
Father Robert Mager 1972-1982 RIP
Father Geoffrey Severs 1987-2000

The population of this parish in 1883 consisted of 20 families. More than half of the present day congregation live outside of Grange in places such as Flookburgh, Allithwaite, Ravenstown, Cark, Holker, Cartmel, Staveley, Backbarrow, Lindale and remote little hamlets dotted here and there in the sixty or more square miles that comprise the parish. We have the River Leven flowing out of Lake Windermere as our western boundry, and then we follow the road over Gummer’s How to take in the spacious valley of Winster and Witherslack. It must already be obvious to the reader that this is not the easiest of parishes to administer, and so to a large extent we are entirely dependent on the generosity of the many visitors to Grange during the summer holidays. If we fail at times to thank them in word, they may rest assured they are not forgotten in our prayers and Masses.

Despite the fact that Grange is such a quiet and peaceful little township with no industry of any kind, St Charles’ was the first Church in the Lancaster diocese to suffer damage by enemy action. This was in May 1941, and although the obvious damage has now been made good, the shaking of the building by blast calls for our constant vigilance. When the Diocesan Thanksgiving Shrine was opened in Blackpool in 1957, we are proud to recall that a party from St Charles’ was the first to go there to give thanks to Our Blesed Mother for protecting us from greater damage and no loss of life. Information taken from the Church Diary for 2006 by kind permission of Father W A Parker.







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