A predominant Catholic town in the North West...
During the 17th century Preston played an important role in the development of non-conformist beliefs. Despite anti-Catholic laws, Catholic worship continued in Preston and the locality. When these laws were repealed in the 18th century, Preston quickly became the predominant Catholic town in the North West. This was demonstrated in the triumphant Grade I listed St Walburge's church which boasts the third largest spire in the country, has the tallest spire of any parish church in England, and houses the Talbot Library.
Preston's first recorded place of worship was St Wilfrid's, once located on the site of the current Preston Minster. This site was originally an ancient Christian site, with the earliest documentation of the church dating back to 1094. The church has since seen many changes, demolitions, and renovations. The current Preston Minster building was built between 1853 - 1855 and was designed by E.H Shellard.
A new church for St Wilfrid's was built in 1793 and was founded by Father Joseph "Daddy" Dunn, noted for starting the Preston Gaslight Company and transforming Preston by transporting cool-gas lighting around the area.