Back to Features IndexTHE CHURCHES OF CROSBY

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.

sthelens.gif (12193 bytes) 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.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Although none of Crosby's churches date from before 1800 (St Thomas's, Seaforth being the oldest), they form many of the landmarks in the area.   The diversity of architecture found in Crosby is mirrored by the individuality of each place of worship.  St Faith's is a popular and very active church near Merchant Taylor's School with a reputation of being "high church", whereas St Luke's on Liverpool Road is more evangelical. stfaith.gif (6860 bytes)

Despite there being a large Catholic population in the area, Crosby has never experienced the sectarian divisions which were apparent in Liverpool and Bootle until the 1960's.  Indeed in 1901, a woman was arrested on Hawthorne Road, Bootle for inciting a riot.  The police argued that she was inciting violence by merely wearing an orange flower in a Catholic area. 

crossroad.gif (6699 bytes) Such intolerance was thankfully unknown in the Waterloo/Crosby area, and this spirit of co-operation is exemplified by the Crossroads Centre on Liverpool Road, run by the Crosby Union of Churches from the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist churches.

METHODIST

Methodist worship has taken place in the Crosby area since the Wesleyan Chapel opened in Wesley Street, Waterloo in 1857.  There are now Methodist churches in Blundellsands and Crosby.  The Blundellsands Church has been beautifully restored after being gutted by fire in 1995

OTHER RELIGIONS

Most other Christian denominations are represented in the area, including the Baptists (Crosby Road North) and United Reformed Church (Warren Road and Eshe Road).

Due to the the cultural mix of the area there are no places of worship whose religion is derived from the non-Christian tradition.

However newer faiths are represented in the area with the Church of the Later Day Saints (Mormons) and Jehovah's Witnesses building churches in the last few years.