ST MARY OF THE ANNUNCIATION, LITTLEBOROUGH
Nestling on the western side of the Pennines, under the frowning bulk of Blacks tone
Edge, Littleborough is a township of Rochdale in Greater Manchester Metropolitan
The early pioneers of the Catholic parish habitually walked to Rochdale every
Sunday (almost 3 miles) before they acquired their own church. The Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass was offered for the first time in Littleborough on 13 April 1879 (Easter
Sunday) and the foundation stone for the Church / School building which included a
presbytery also was laid 4 June 1881 by Canon Sheehan VG, Fr Lawrence Schreiber
being the PP.
That building now serves as a very active Parish Centre, where groups meet and
various activities are carried out.
By 1910 the parish was growing and needed a larger church. So under the leadership
of Fr Arthur Brosnan a new metal and wood church (the ‘Iron Church’) was built in
the place where steps now lead up to the present church. The new church released
more room in the building for classes.
The ‘Iron church’ lasted until 1929 when it too was too small for its purpose and was
in due course (after the present was completed in 1929) was dismantled, sold to the
Mission of St Hilda and re-erected at HollingworthLake, where it still stands.
The present church was opened in 1929 and has been in regular use since, being
finally paid for and consecrated (about) 1986
Among the clergy who have served this parish, Fr Arthur Brosnan (1909-1946) is
perhaps the most remembered, not least for visiting Birch Hill Hospital habitually on
foot for many years. Other clergy have included Fr Hugh O’Neill (10 years) and Fr
The parish has long had an established Junior School, from its beginnings in the old
parish building (now the parish centre) to the new purpose built school across the car park in 1976.