The Priests of Saint Mary's

Between 1861 and 1863 Radcliffe was served by visiting priests from Bury and Ramsbottom


Rev John Fraser

Born 3 June 1820;

Ordained 29 May 1850;

Died 26 March 1899 

Born in Knocklong, Limerick, Ireland, Father Fraser went to Ratcliffe College and was ordained by Bishop Ullathorne. Soon after his ordination, and without joining the Rosminian Fathers, he began his missionary work at Saint Alban, Macclesfield, 1852-1854. He attended a Shrewsbury Fund meeting, 9 May 1854 but never joined. He then came to the Salford diocese and was appointed to Salford Cathedral 1854-1857, and then to Saint Mary, Mulberry St, Manchester, 1857-1861. Bishop Turner sent him to Bury to found the new mission of Saint Joseph. Within ten years he had built the church, schools and Presbytery. He was only rector until his retirement, but remained at the Presbytery until his death on Palm Sunday 1899. On 29 March he was buried at Bury Cemetery.

Rev M J Keating


Rev William Scheides



The Parish of Saint Mary, Radcliffe was established in 1863


1863 - 1871     Rev Malachy O’Callaghan


1871 - 1875     Rev Richard Gerrard

Born 13 December 1840;

Ordained 13 March 1864;

Died 26 December 1901
Richard Gerrard was born in Liverpool, son of Richard Gerrard and Jane Harkness of Copperas Hill, Liverpool. He was nephew to Canon M. Formby and cousin of Father Henry Formby. Educated for 6 years at All Hallows College, Lisbon, he completed his training with two years private study with a priest on account of his delicate health. He was ordained in a private chapel at Salford.

1864-1870 Served at Saint Mary’s, Mulberry Street.

1870-1871 Saint Mary's Ashton.

1871-1875 Rector at Saint Mary’s, Radcliffe.

1875-1901 Our Lady and Saint John, Salmesbury, whence he retired on July 2nd to Blackburn because of poor health.


1875 - 1881     Rev John Mussely


1881 - 1885     Rev James Francis Gerity

(The High Altar in the previous Church was dedicated in memory of Father Gerity)

Born 15 December 1847;

Ordained 8 August 1875;

Died 12 August 1885

Born in Manchester. Educated and ordained at Ushaw.

1875-1881 Assistant St Anne's Ancoats

1881-1885 Priest in Charge St Mary's Radcliffe.

Buried in the family vault at Moston.


1885 - 1889     Rev Hugh Carroll

Born 18 October 1847;

Ordained 19 September 1874;

Died  19 August 1900

Born in Manchester, Fr Carroll was educated at the Catholic Collegiate Institute, Salford Catholic Grammar School, where he was one of the very first pupils, and the English College, Valladolid, being ordained there by the Cardinal Archbishop of Valladolid. After serving as assistant at Salford Cathedral for one year, 1874-1875, Bishop Vaughan sent him back to Valladolid as a Professor, 1875-1878. Returning to Manchester, he was appointed as assistant in his home parish of St Chad, Cheetham Hill, Manchester under Canon Sheehan, 1878-1885. He then went as rector to St Mary, Radcliffe, 1885-1890 before going to his final post as rector at St Mary, Blackburn 1890-1900. While there he served on the School Board. He fell seriously ill in 1893, and although he rallied, he lost his former vigour and suffered recurring ill health until his death. He was deeply involved in matters of ecclesiastical education. He was buried in the family vault at Moston Cemetery on 22 August 1900.

1889 - 1896     Rev William L Fowler

Born 28 March 1849;

Ordained 10 July 1881;

Died 10 November 1916

Father Fowler was born at Bishopsteignton, Devon, and became a Catholic as a young man. His seminary training was unusual. He trained at the Salford Seminary of Pastoral Theology. Bishop Vaughan then sent him as the first Prefect and Procurator at the newly opened Saint Bede's College, before he returned to the Salford Seminary as Procurator, and completed his studies. He was ordained at Salford Cathedral in 1881 by Bishop O'Reilly of Liverpool. He served one year as assistant at Saint Wilfrid's, Hulme, 1881-1882. He then went to Saint Mary, Littleborough, 1882-1885. He served as rector at Saint Gabriel, Castleton, 1885-1888; Saint Mary, Radcliffe, 1888-1894; Saint Charles, Rishton, 1894-1897, Saint Mary, Bolton, 1897-1905 and All Saints, Barton on Irwell, 1907-1916. Ill health dogged his last two years at Barton and he died two days after an operation. He was buried at Moston Cemetery.

The Parish Dedication became “Saint Mary and Saint Philip Neri” in 1896


1896 - 1902 Rev John Aukes (during whose time the old Church was built)

Born 22 November 1852;

Ordained 4 June 1876;

Died 27 December 1909

Born Saint Oudend, Utrecht, Holland, he studied at the seminary in Reisenburg, Holland, came from a well known family. His brother Albert was Dean of Leenwarden and a Dutch Knight. John was ordained in Holland on Whit Sunday 1876 and came to the Diocese in 1877 at the invitation of Bishop Vaughan.  He went as assistant to Saint Patrick, Livesey Street 1877-1880 but fell seriously ill. Upon recovery he went first to Pleasington Priory and to Saint Joseph's Bury 1880-1885 as assistant to Father Fraser. He was asked to start a new mission in the Elton part of Bury.  Ill health again intervened and he spent 18 months convalescing, serving later as chaplain to Bury Convent.  He was the founder rector of Saint Charles, Rishton 1886-1892, then moved to Saint John, Ivy Street, Burnley 1892-1896, again as founder rector, and to Saint Mary, Radcliffe 1896-1902, and at Saint Mary, Ashton-under-Lyne 1902-1906. His final post was as Missionary Rector at Saint Mary, Osbaldeston 1906-1909.  He died in his home land at Saint Oda Geoticht, Oedenrade, after six months of illness.


1902    Rev Thomas Twomey


1902 - 1909     Rev John Aloysius Murtagh


1909 - 1913     Rev John Gahan

Born 1872;

Ordained 1898;

Died 25 June 1913

Irish; drowned on holiday at Luginach Ireland aged 41.

1899-1900 Assistant St Patrick's, Rochdale.

1904           Saint Patrick's, Livesey Street, Collyhurst

                   Holy Family, New Springs, Wigan

                   Saint Mary’s, Radcliffe


1913 - 1918     Rev Arthur McGrath


1918 - 1921     Rev Paul Dootson

Born 1868;

Ordained 12 August 1894;

Died 18 September 1924

Father Dootson was born in Bolton, Lancashire, in 1868 and was educated at the Salford Catholic Grammar School, St Alba's College, Valladolid and Ushaw, where he was ordained in 1894. He was sent as assistant to Saint Mary, Ashton under Lyne, 1894-1896. On the death of Fr Jerome Vaughan OSB, who had established his Gregorian Congregation at Saint Peter, Chorlton cum Hardy, Father Dootson was sent to care for the mission, 1896-1897. He then went as assistant to Saint Mary, Failsworth, 1897-1899; to Saint James, Pendleton, Salford, 1899-1900 before becoming chaplain at Bury Convent in 1900. He was then used as administrator in two missions: Saint Mary, Osbaldeston, 1900-1902  and Saint Mary, Radcliffe, 1902-1903, He served as rector at Saint Joseph, Reddish, 1903-1904; at Saint Joseph, Todmorden, 1904-1908; and at Saint Joseph, Mossley, 1909-1918. He then returned as rector to Saint Mary, Radcliffe, 1918-1924. He was incapacitated from active duty in his last few years by ill health which prevented him celebrating Mass.  He died in September 1924 and was buried at Moston.


1921 - 1926     Canon Edward Bray


1926 - 1948     Rev Dr Frederick Coupe D.D. MA Ph.D

(Buried in Radcliffe Cemetery)


1948 - 1965     Rev Thomas Davis


1965 - 1995     Rev John Curran


1995 - 1996     Msgr Peter Wilkinson


1996 -             Rev James Manock


Curates who served at Saint Mary and Saint Philip Neri


Rev Charles Morriss


Rev John Kiely


Rev Michael Cahill

Born 28 September 1863;

Ordained 1889;

Died 22 June 1922

Born in Manchester, Fr Cahill was trained at St Alban's College, Valladolid and was ordained by Bishop Vaughan in Salford Cathedral in 1889. He served as assistant at Saint Patrick, Livesey Street, Manchester; at Saint Chad, Cheetham Hill, Manchester; at Saint Mary, Blackburn and at Saint Mary, Swinton. He was rector at Saint Mary, Littleborough, 1897; at Saint Vincent, Openshaw and at Saint Mary, Radcliffe. He then served as administrator at Saint Mary, Osbaldeston, before returning to Littleborough. He then helped at both the Holy Family and at Saint Augustine, Manchester. In 1910 he went as chaplain the orphanage and Industrial School at Buckley Hall near Rochdale. He died in June 1922 after a short illness and was buried at Moston Cemetery.


Rev John Hardman

Born 6 October 1858;

Ordained 22 December 1882;

Died 1939.

Educated St Mary’s Newhouse near Preston. St Edward’s College, Liverpool. English College, Lisbon. Ordained at Lisbon by the Papal Nuncio. Fr Hardman had a profound knowledge of the poets and wrote a number of poems. He was a good preacher and a good reader. He wrote some essays including one on Wordsworth with Anglo Saxon Roots. He was a keen cyclist and toured the South of England on his bicycle. Only a few years before his death he cycled from Lowerhouse to his old home six miles north of Preston.


1915    Saint Augustine’s, Burnley where he built the presbytery adjoining the church. For many years he acted as Catholic Chaplain to Burnley Cemetery. Took a keen interest in the Catholic Truth Society and once held office as President.

1932    Celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his priesthood.                                                

1933    Retired from Saint Augustine’s and went to live in Rossendale Road.              


Rev A S Wetherall


Rev R De Grood


Rev G T Griffin


Rev Herbert Wearden


Rev John Horgan


Rev J William Wells


Rev Richard Wilkinson


Rev Gerard O’Connor


Rev Michael Conlon


Rev Brendan McDermott


Rev John O’Keefe


Rev Ciaran O’Hara


Rev Anthony Barrett


Rev James MacIvor


Rev Cyril Sephton


Rev Thomas Murphy


Rev Kevin Griffin


Rev John Daly


Rev Terence Drainey


Rev John Coe


Rev Edmund Adamus


Rev Mark Harold


Rev Karl Rozzo