Parish History

Parish History booklet

In 1998, the late R. N. (Bill) Bamber produced a marvellous booklet "Saints Mary and Michael at Bonds, Garstang: A History", which was dedicated "To the memory of Canon David Murphy"


This was updated and re-issued in 2008 to  commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the parish, with the assistance of  Richard Harrison.

With the very kind permission of Bill's family and Richard, extracts from the booklet will be published on this website, starting here.


The writing of even a short history such as this cannot be the work of a single person.  I have drawn extensively on the work of others, in particular on Fr Hickey’s unpublished Journal and then on the scholarly research of the Catholic Record Society, on the Lancaster Diocesan Directory for 1959 and on the late Frank Walmsley’s unpublished ‘From Cheristanc to Gahstin’.  Some of Mr Walmsley’s drawings also illustrate the text.

Many people have helped me, directly and indirectly, notably the late Canon Murphy, who first suggested the writing of this history and who subsequently made his presbytery’s records available to me.  So many treasured photographs and press cuttings have been lent to me that I have been forced to be selective; any errors and omissions are mine alone. But I should like to thank the following for their generosity:  Peggy Barton, Roger Bevins, Joe Browne, David Carr, Mary Carr, Albert Clayton, the Eastham family, Dick Helme, Peter Ibison, Tom Ibison, Anne Miller, Bob Miller, Pat Nickson, Norah Procter, Agnes Smith, Enid Smith, Alice, Bernard, Marie, Mollie, and Vincent Swarbrick, Agnes Thompson, and Frs John Conway, Michael Scanlon, and Michael Tully.  Without the help of these and other kind people this story would have been very much less interesting.

My warmest thanks are also due to Michael O’Neil, Brian Winstanley and particularly to Richard Harrison for their patient and skilful computer processing of my script.

Finally, I am most grateful to Fr Jerome Ainsworth, parish priest and publisher, who inherited this task from Fr Murphy and who has been as generous with encouragement and advice as he has with finance.    RNB 1994

I am, once again, very grateful to many people for their help and encouragement in the preparation of this revised edition. In particular, I thank Mrs Anne Miller, who is co-ordinating ideas for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of our church and Richard Harrison for once more using his much greater skill than mine in the organising of my text by computer.  Finally, my thanks are especially due to Fr. David Elder, who flattered me by asking me to revise the earlier edition.   RNB 2008