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ROMAN CATHOLIC

Traditionally Merseyside has been one of the few parts of England where a majority of the population are Roman Catholic.

The area was rural with sparse population in the 16th century when the Reformation converted most of the rest of the country to Protestantism. Poor communications meant that the new ideas were taken up predominantly in the population centres and "backwaters" such as this area was left behind. The persecution of Catholics in the urban areas led to a backlash against Protestantism in the more rural parts, and local gentry in particular, took great risks to remain loyal to the Catholic faith. The story of how the Blundell family of Little Crosby suffered for their faith is told in the excellent Squire's Tale video.

This Catholic tradition was reinforced in the late 19th century by an influx of Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine.

Ss Peter and Paul was the first Catholic Church in Crosby, and was built in 1826, 3 years before Catholic emancipation. This church was quickly followed by others in all parts of the borough - particularly worthy of note are St Mary's in Little Crosby, the village where until recently every inhabitant was Catholic; and St Helen's in Crosby town centre which was rebuilt in 1973 and is probably the most popular church in the area.

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