ALL SAINTS CATHOLIC CHURCH, THIRSK
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Parish of All Saints, Thirsk is 172 years old. The first Church was situated off the A19, there is a property named Church Farm along this road and the Church was situated beside the house. There is also a small graveyard where some of the parishioners are buried. The Parish is fairly extensive in area and covers a number of outlying village. The neighbouring Catholic Churches are: Ampleforth Benedictine Abbey (approximately 17 miles away); Easingwold (11 miles away); Northallerton (9miles away); Ripon across the A1 (11 miles away). The Parish is situated in the Diocese of Middlesbrough.
The Franciscan Capuchins looked after the Parish for many years and started a school in the building which is now the Parish Hall. They were loved by the people of the Parish and the non-Catholics in the Town. The stained glass window in the Church to the left hand side of the Sanctuary was erected by them in gratitude for all people ‘who have donated to a home for the Blessed Sacrament in Thirsk since 1867. The window was placed there in 1936 – the year the Franciscans left.
Two of the English Martyrs were born in this Parish. Blessed John Lockwood was born in Sowerby and worked in this area disguised as a gardener. In Thornton-le-Moor he was betrayed by a servant girl, captured and taken on horseback to York where he was martyred. He was over 70 years of age. It is stated that he fell off the horse several times during the journey. It is also recorded that before going to the Seminary to train for the Priesthood his father had offered him a large sum of money to choose another way of life. John chose the Priesthood.
Blessed William Harrington our second Martyr was born in Felixkirk. His family were well to do. It is recorded that St. Edmund Campion the Jesuit Priest Martyr once stayed at the home of the Harringtons. William was so impressed by Edmund that he decided to follow in Edmund’s footsteps and become a Priest. William worked for a short time in the South of England before capture. He was martyred at Tyburn in 1594. To the left of the Tabernacle in the Church there is a portrait of Blessed William. A few years ago a relative of the Harringtons called by accident at All Saints, his name was Fr. Harrington from the Diocese of Westminster.