Dunsop Bridge St Hubert (Roman Catholic), Lancashire Genealogy
Dunsop Bridge is a village within the Ribble Valley borough of Lancashire, England, situated 9 miles (14 km) north-west of Clitheroe. It is in the civil parish of Bowland Forest High, Lancashire.
It is one of two main contenders for the location of the exact geographic centre of Great Britain. The other town is Haltwhistle in Northumberland, some 71 miles (114 km) to the north. Dunsop Bridge's claim is calculated on the fact that it is the gravitational centre of the island (although the exact point is at Whitendale Hanging Stones, near Brennand Farm, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of the village). In 1992 British Telecom installed its 100,000th payphone at Dunsop Bridge and included a plaque to explain its significance - the plaque reads "You are calling from the BT payphone that marks the centre of Great Britain." The telephone box was unveiled by Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Dunsop Bridge was developed into a village in the mid 19th century as a result of the lead mining industry in the area. Before that, there were only a few isolated houses and farms in the area. Thorneyholme House, close to the centre of the village, was home to John Towneley, 13th Lord of Bowland, in the period up until his death in 1878. Prior to that, it had been home to Richard Eastwood, an acclaimed breeder of racehorses and shorthorn cattle. Eastwood, land agent to John Towneley, was the last known Bowbearer of Bowland. He died in 1871 and is buried at St Hubert's, Dunsop Bridge.
From the late eleventh century, Dunsop had fallen under the ancient Lordship of Bowland which comprised a Royal Forest and a Liberty of ten manors spanning eight townships and four parishes and covered an area of almost 300 square miles (800 km2) on the historic borders of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The manors within the Liberty were Slaidburn (Newton-in-Bowland, West Bradford, Grindleton), Knowlmere, Waddington, Easington, Bashall, Mitton, Withgill (Crook), Leagram (Bowland-with-Leagram), Hammerton and Dunnow (Battersby).
The Catholic church of St. Hubert’s was built to the design of Edward Pugin, from, it is believed, the winnings of the racehorse Kettledrum owned by Colonel Charles Towneley of Towneley Hall, Burnley in the 1861 Epsom Derby The Toweneley stud was at nearby Root Farm.
The church was opened on 2 May 1865 by Bishop Richard Roskell of Nottingham. The medieval font was originally from the ancient church at Burholme near Whitewell. The east and west windows are by J. B. Capronnier of Brussels and date from 1865.
The middle west window depicts St. Hubert who is the patron saint of hunters, as a huntsman accompanied by a stag. The Forest of Bowland was once a royal hunting forest. According to legend St. Hubert’s conversion to the Catholic faith took place on a Good Friday when, while hunting a stag, he saw a vision of a cross between its antlers and heard a voice telling him to seek instruction in the Christian faith. In 705, he became Bishop of Maastricht, later of Liege.
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