The History

Saint Faith's Great Crosby

This Church of Saint Faith is dedicated to the glory of God as a thank offering for the revival of Catholic Faith and Doctrine
in the Church of England during the sixty years reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.

This inscription, carved high up in the chancel opposite the organ, helps to explain why the Church was built and what it stood for.

The history of Saint Faith`s Parish Church obviously begins before there was a building on the site. During the latter years of the 19th century the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Church of England was working to bring to Anglicanism a greater emphasis on order, discipline and on regular eucharistic worship. The founder of Saint Faith`s, Howard Douglas Horsfall (picture right), was a member of that Anglo-Catholic movement and it was at his instigation that the church was built. He purchased a patch of land in what was then mostly open ground and built a church which from the start insisted on the centrality of the Eucharist or Communion service and the use of vestments, candles and ornaments in worship. This intention was not unopposed and a petition was sent to the Archbishop of York asking him not to consecrate "this Mass House", whilst militant Protestant demonstrators besieged the church from the outset - a trend which, sadly, continued for some time. It has been said that local bus conductors would shout "change here for Rome" when their buses approached the stop near the church. In 1908 when a visiting bishop set fire to his vestments on a pulpit candle there was an opinion that this was a judgement on Saint Faith`s for using such idolatrous adornments in the first place.

Saint Faith`s shortly after construction
Although the legal name of the Church is Saint Faith`s, Great Crosby the Church was actually built in an area covered by Waterloo Urban District Council (now part of the Sefton Metropolitan District) and is actually in the postal area of Waterloo, not Great Crosby. The reason for the Great Crosby appendage to the name is that the field in which the Church was built belonged ecclesiastically to Saint Luke`s Parish, Great Crosby and hence the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have always described the Church as Saint Faith`s, Great Crosby. At the turn of the century when the church was constructed there was no housing around but very soon new roads and houses were built and the church became the centre of a close-knit community.

St Faith`s in 1905. No housing has been built in the vicinity and the church remains isolated. St Faith`s in the mid-1930s. The area has been developed, a church hall has been constructed and housing surrounds the church although there is still no vicarage.

The new Saint Faith`s banner

Details of clergy at Saint Faith`s may be found at the clergy page

Church Wardens

J. Eshelby 1900-1902
J. Kendal 1900-1901
W.E. Taylor 1900-1903
J.S. Fairclough 1902-1904
W. Gay 1903-1910
G.W. Huson 1904-1910
S. Hawkyard 1910-1911
J. Cook 1910-1916
S.R. Taylor 1911-1916
W.A. Shaw 1916-1919
C.R. Whitnall 1916-1917
H. Cradock-Watson 1917-1919
H.J. Lister 1919-1922
R. Atcherley 1919
W.S. Kershaw 1919-1920
S.R. Taylor 1920-1925
R. Battersby 1922-1925
H.J. Lister 1925-1926
A. Studley 1925-1947
J.R. Mellick 1926-1929

C.H. Mossop 1929-1938
R.W. Jones 1938-1957
F.S. Smith 1947-1953
G.E. Waugh 1953-1956
A. Smith 1956-1961
J. Armstrong 1959-1960
D. Ryan 1961-1962
A. Smith 1962-1963
T.E. Williams 1962-1965
A. Clawson 1963-1966
L. Hamblett 1965-1968
A.F. Rigby 1966-1967
C.D. Price 1967-2001
G.W. Smith 1968-1980
R. Rankin 1980-1985
R.J. Walker 1985-2001
M.Davies 2001-
J.Tudhope 2001-

During the 1960s the new Vicar, Rev. Charles Alfred Billington, upset certain people with his ideas, including the organist, Ernest Pratt, who resigned due to proposed changes in music to be used in services. Father Charles, as he became known, went ahead with the changes which included the introduction of incense and the Easter Vigil. He also urged the congregation towards a more ecumenical approach. Saint Faith`s has remained to the fore in its ecumenical approach and forms one of a group of churches of different denominations in the local Waterloo and Seaforth ecumenical group. Things have not always been harmonious and in keeping with Saint Faith`s apparent tradition protestors were on hand when the first Roman Catholic priest preached at Saint Faith`s, or at any other Anglican church in Crosby for that matter. Demonstrators from the Protestant Truth Society picketed the church when Father Kennedy from Saint Edmund`s R.C. Church in Crosby was invited to speak, and others tried to cause trouble when Arch ishop Robert Runcie paid a visit to his old church.

Music formed a part of the worship at Saint Faith`s from the start and the organ has been at the centre of the musical tradition. The organ was not actually installed when the Church first opened and a piano had to suffice for a while. Built by the Willis organ building firm, this fine instrument has been restored twice over the years and has been improved; its two sets of gilded and painted pipes may be seen from the choir stalls and the Lady Chapel. The choir was originally a male-only preserve but at times volunteers were in short supply. In the parish magazine for June 1964 the organist bewailed the shortage of choristers, "....any boy is free to join, irrespective of ability." More recently females have been allowed to join the choir, which has built an enviable reputation locally on radio and television; the most recent broadcast being the Advent Service on Radio Merseyside on Advent Sunday 1996.

During 1991 Saint Faith`s Day fell on a Sunday and it was decided to celebrate our Patronal Festival by means of a "Celebration" of flowers and music. The event lasted from Thursday until Sunday and the church was decorated with flowers. Concerts, displays andexhibitions were arranged and the church was open for visitors throughout each of the days of the festival. On the Sunday, Saint Faith`s Day, Lord Runcie, former Archbishop of Canterbury and an "old boy" of Saint Faith`s, preached the sermon and celebrated mass at the morning Sung Eucharist.
A view from the back of the church during the 1991 Festival: the view is looking towards the north aisle and shows displays of flowers as well as the Angel sculpture specially commissioned for the event.
Lord Runcie (centre), Rev Richard Capper and the Rev Vivian Enever, at the Nave Altar with the High Altar and Reredos in the background.

A more detailed history of St Faith`s covering its first 75 years may be found in the book written by Chris Price to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the church. This is available for download in pdf format at the
History of St Faith`s 1900-1975 page.

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