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Shawbrook Lodge

On February 21st 1930 Shawbrook Lodge was purchased from a Mr. A.E.Turnbull by Bishop Henshaw on behalf of the Diocese. The actual purchase must have been negotiated by Canon Rowntree, the Parish Priest of St. Cuthbert's, for he was also the financial administrator of the Diocese at this time.

Shawbrook Lodge had been built in 1864** by wealthy Manchester merchant, Howard Aston Holden, on a two acre site purchased from Earl Egerton of Tatton. The Egerton family had retained ownership of the land since 1212 when Burnage had been shared out among three gentry families – the de Traffords, the Egertons and the Mosleys. Incidentally, St. Cuthbert's Church and school are also built on land bought from the Egerton family.

No immediate decision was made to open a chapel-of-ease or found a new parish. The house and grounds were leased to Burnage Garden Society and it became their headquarters. Part of the grounds were used for allotments. The first recorded reference to establishing a church in Burnage is found in October 1939 in the minutes of the Diocesan Schools Commission where it states:

It was agreed that it would be desirable to have a priest in charge of this area as soon as possible, and he might wish a Mass Centre Hall which could later be incorporated into a future school.

Obviously the Diocesan authorities were concerned about the distance people had to travel to Mass and by the number of Catholic children attending local state elementary schools rather than the Catholic schools attached to St. Mary's Levenshulme, St. Cuthbert's Withington, and St. Catherine's Didsbury.

A year later in the midst of the confusion and turmoil of war the first steps were taken to open a chapel in Burnage. The lease of the Burnage Garden Society was terminated. This action roused some local ill-feeling.

** Note, however, that there is a Shaw Brook Lodge in this location marked on OS maps surveyed in 1845.