There has been a priest at Cottam for
almost three hundred years. The original chapel which is said to have
been situated in the field opposite the present church was demolished by
a mob from Preston in 1715 and the priest, Rev Gilbert Haydock, taken
prisoner. His successor, Rev John Kendal, converted a barn for use as a
chapel. He died in 1727 and was buried at Woodplumpton.
In 1745, the
chapel was burned down by an anti-catholic mob following the support for
the Jacobean cause by the Catholics of the area. The chapel was
re-built on its present site during the
Preston Election Riots. It is not known
where services were held for at least the next
twenty years but in 1793 thepresent chapel was
completed and consecrated on 25th October 1894.
The presbytery was built in 1827. To mark
the centenary in 1893, the recess for the Lady
Altar was built and the marble altar in the
sanctuary was erected.
The church bell, now electrically operated,
was donated by Mr W J Walmsley in 1961. Owing to the nature of the
construction of the church, an on-going problem for the last sixty years
has been dry-rot. It is hoped that improvements in heating and ventilation have now overcome this problem.
With the closure of the Parish Primary
School in 1989 and letting as a Nursery School its use as a Parish
Meeting Room was restricted so, in 1998, Fr W Alfred Parker commenced
the building of the Haydock Room together with alterations to the
presbytery adjoining the church. This involved the demolition of the
greenhouse and removal of the famous Cottam vine. The Haydock Room has
proved to be a great asset to the parish.
For further information about the old St
Andrew's Primary School, please click
29th August 2000, disaster struck when the then new parish priest, Fr Peter Clarke, was
awakened to find the sacristy and part of the church ablaze. The
sacristy containing sacred vessels and vestments and the boiler house
were destroyed. The roof over the sanctuary fell in and the whole
church was smoke damaged. Fortunately, the Haydock Room - by then
nearing completion - was only slightly damaged. Services were held in
the Haydock Room for some time. The whole community
rallied round and restoration work was completed in early 2001.
Other Christian communities in the area gave their support and presented
Fr Peter Clarke with a chalice.
September 2003, Fr Clarke was succeeded as parish priest by Fr Adrian
Below are photographs taken
by Mrs Barbara Lupton of the
damage after the fire.
This picture shows the complete collapse of the roof over the Sanctuary area of the
church and part of the almost completed Haydock Room.
Here is a view of the fire
damage taken from the North side of the church while the picture
on the right is one taken on the South side from Hoyles Lane.
On this picture
you can just see the roof of the church bell
- below and to the right of the cross - which is now positioned
on the South wall of the church and can be seen from Hoyles Lane.