On the Holy Rood, Market Rasen

Continuing with our lucky dip into Canon Dolan's historical treasury of the Diocese, the book Good News for the East Midlands (Tucann Books, Easter, 2018), we find the entry for the parish of the Holy Rood on pages 197-198. Please contact your parish offices if you would like a copy of this marvellous history of the Diocese; the proceeds from the sale of the Canon's book benefit the Sick and Retired Priests fund.

Market Rasen had a Catholic foundation in penal times, when Catholics attended Mass on the Constable estate, West Rasen, or at the Knight family residence in Kingerby Hall. One of the Knight family, Father Richard Knight SJ, established the English Mission at Market Rasen in 1782, building a presbytery and upstairs chapel at Market Rasen. This residence was taken up first by Father James Leslie SJ, who came across from West Rasen to continue his work. The present site of the church of the Holy Rood had a new chapel built on it in 1824, during the pastorate of the Carmelite Father Francis Brewster (1770-1849), apart from the 1782 presbytery, and opened the same year, on the feast day of the Holy Rood.

The chapel was significantly altered when Fr. Algernon Moore (served 1867-75) expanded it with north and side aisles and a tower, at the expense of Mr. T. G. Young of Middle Rasen. In 1975, the sanctuary of the chapel was reordered for the new liturgical requirements made after the Second Vatican Council, and in the 1980s, the entire roof was replaced. After the departure of the Jesuit Fathers and from 1859, the Mission in Market Rasen was served by priests of the newly-founded diocese. From 1949, the parish was briefly in the care of the Sacred Heart Fathers, who set up a missionary centre and also a headquarters for the Diocesan Motor (Travelling) Mission.