A Short History of the Parish of St. Alban’s at Denaby Main

St Alban’s is a parish of the Diocese of Hallam situated near the town of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. Denaby was a small agricultural hamlet in the nineteenth century until the sinking of the Denaby Main Colliery in1863. Following this development a great transformation took place in the area particularly with an increase in Denaby’s population. Within this new community were numbers of Irish immigrants who travelled to St Joseph’s at Wath and St Peter’s at Doncaster for Mass. However, Bishop Gordon of the Diocese of Leeds recognised the necessity to respond to the spiritual needs of the Catholic people of the area and appointed Fr. Thomas Kavanagh to take up the challenge of ministering to Denaby’s Catholics. Thanks to the generosity of local landowner Andrew Montague, an acre of land was given to build both a Church and a school. The church was designed by the Bradford architects Elmson and Clarkson. Its foundation stone was laid on October 18th 1897 and the Church was opened on June 22nd 1898.

Further additions to the Church building took place throughout the years. A bell tower was added in1910 and dedicated to Mary Immaculate while the north aisle and Sacred Heart chapel were added in 1911. On 14th March 1911 a Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Leeds, Dr Cowgill, to mark the completion of the Church of St Alban.

The steady growth of the Catholic population and the employment provided by the mining industry enabled the Catholic people in Denaby to open a Catholic school in 1926 and a Convent of Mercy in 1927.

In 1899 after baptising the two hundredth person from the new Church of St Alban, the parish priest Fr Kavanagh wrote ‘Laus Deo. Praise God’. He would not live to see the fruit of his labours in a thriving parish that produced many vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, a successful social club, a fine school together with the dedicated efforts of many holy priests and Sisters of Mercy. As you visit the parish website we hope you will be inspired by the beauty of the Church and the lives of so many good people who worked and lived in the village of Denaby and its area. They reared their families, worked in the local industry, praised and worshiped God to the best of their ability.

May the blessing of God be with all of them and may His blessing be upon each of you.