St Thomas Becket


In a letter dated 21 July 1884 Bishop Knight informed Father Deery, Parish Priest of Nantwich that he had asked Fr Edward Lynch of Chester to visit Tarporley as the trains from Chester are convenient. Father Lynch proposed saying Mass on Sundays at 10.00am, but 2 years later he gave up. In 1893 Mr Goulding told Father Deery that there were thirty Catholics in Tarporley. Father Deery told the Bishop that he would be willing to say Mass at Tarporley. Mass was said in November 1906 by the Rev.(later Canon) J. Chambers, in a “commodious room lent by Mr Martin Goulding in 53 High Street”. In 1911 Mr Goulding left the district, and the house came into the hands of a non Catholic who was willing to let the room, which was a cheese loft, for a small rental. Mass continued to be said by Priests from St Werburgh`s once a month. In 1937 Salvatorian Fathers from Christleton took over. On 8 September 1938, a semi detached house in Nantwich Road called “Four Winds” was acquired and the Rev.Brendan Keogh S.D.S.came to live in it. The downstairs room was used as a chapel. It was only separated from the kitchen by a partition. In 1941, Tarporley`s second parish priest, the Rev. Clement Mercer S.D.S.,  purchased The Oak Tree Café with adjoining semi detached house for £1800. The old café was converted into a very beautiful if somewhat small chapel, which was formally opened by Bishop Moriarty on 21 September 1941. In 1946 the parish was taken over by the Diocese, when the Rev. B.Houghton was made Rector. In 1970 the converted café received another conversion, which resulted in virtually a new building. This was re-opened on 25 April 1971 by Bishop Grasar.

St Cuthbert

View looking from entrance to the Church

In the 1920`s an influx of  Irish farm workers led the landlady of the Station Hotel (The Goshawk), to persuade a curate from St Werburgh`s to say Mass in a pavilion behind the hotel, services always being timed to coincide with the British Rail timetable to enable the curate to travel to Mouldsworth. The pavilion was used for nearly 30 years. After the Second World War Mrs Spann, the landlady of the Station Hotel, purchased the land next door to the hotel, from the Northgate Brewery and presented it to the Diocese for the purpose of building a church. In 1953 the Architect Francis Xavier Velarde designed the church and construction of St Cuthbert began in the same year. The church was built to accommodate 72 people and was opened on 15th September 1953 by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Rt Rev. Mgr. John Murphy. The final cost was £8000 including the campanile. The church became part of Tarporley parish in 1958 and acquired it`s present extended name when `by the Forest ` was added in 2000.

In March 2014, St Cuthbert by the Forest was granted the status of a Grade 2 Listed Building by English Heritage, and added to the `List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest’. One of the recommendations by the assessing committee stated ” This tiny church with it`s carefully proportioned composition and massing with a detached miniature campanile, has a commanding presence despite it`s diminutive scale, and it is an excellent example of a small modern country church”.


Diocesan Priests who have served the Parish

Father Joe Carney the present Parish Priest came here in 2000