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We have already learnt that Sir Thomas Walmsley built a chapel at the Dunkenhalgh in 1581, when he took ownership, but weather this was in the hall, or this "secret" chapel, described here is unknown.

Sir Thomas's chapel was used by locals for 250 years, until the construction of Saint Marys church at Altham in 1819.

It is well known that Dunkenhalgh Hall had a side chapel for the Petre family, which was attended by the monks from Whalley abbey and Stoneyhurst, but in the corner of the grounds there still remains a "secret" chapel.

Gateway from main road

The history of the Salford diocese contains an image of Secret Chapels in Penal times, the Dunkenhalgh Hall being one of them, and also being depicted as lasting to modern times.

The civil war in 1642 outlawed some religions, and these secret chapels were built by devout Catholics.

Doorways to the chapel

The secret chapel still stands in 2009, and can just about be seen from the major road which passes by it.

The chapel sits in the North East corner of the Dunkenhalgh grounds, which has now been split in two by the building of a major road. This would put it approximately quarter of a mile away from the hall which the Lords of the manor previously lived. It resides behind the former estate office for the Dunkenhalgh, which are now rented quarters.

There are three entrances to the chapel, one facing Dunkenhalgh Hall, and running through the building to another doorway on the opposing side(Seen above). This leads to the gateway which leads to the roadway. The third door is North facing.

Doorways to the chapel

The occupiers in July 2009 tell me that they have been led to believe that this building in their back garden was used as a boiler house, with underground heat channels running to their property.

Priest serving the chapels at Dunkenhalgh and Holt from the middle of the 15th Century:

1470 —Peter Rishton.

1476 —William Talbot.

1554—William Rishton.

1579 - Nicholas Rishton.

1581 - Edward Rishton. (1581 Sir Thomas Walmsley bought and rebuilt the Dunkenhalgh with its own chapel).

1624 -Ralph Rishton (or Farrington) (There is also a story on this site relating to Ralph Rishton, but after reading you will realise that they are not related.

1626 —John Worthington S.J.

1638 —John Rishton S.J. ; Ralph Rishton.

1677 —Edward Stockley (?)

1640—78   Thomas Rishton (or Farrington).

1641 – Edward Rishton (or Anderton).

1680—1710,   — George Lovell S.J.

1697 — Charles Powell S.J.

1740(?)—66, Robert Petre S.J.

1741—50 -  Bonaventure Lane S.J.

1744— John Talbot S.J.

1746— T. Conyers S.J.

1779— Charles Hodgson SJ

1769-99 Andrew Thorpe,

1799—1807John Hodgson SJ

It was 1886 when the first Roman Catholic priest was assigned to Saint Charles Church.

References

The History of the Diocese of Salford.