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THE OLD ST. WINEFRIDE'S CHAPEL

Roman Catholicism was not tolerated in England for around 300 years. This was because it had tried to murder Queen Elizabeth I and some members of it had supported foreigners who had planned to invade, such as Spain and France. In 1829, however, the laws against Catholics were lifted, but 'Popery' was still hated and feared by many English people. Some people converted to Roman Catholicism, and they started to build small chapels. The local squire of Garendon became a Catholic so a Catholic community was therefore established in Shepshed. Augustus Welby Pugin, a Roman Catholic convert and a famous Victorian architect, designed the old chapel, which still stands in Pick Street. He also designed a little chapel at Grace Dieu and helped to design the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

This Is St Winefrides Chapel

The previous Roman Catholic church was built for £500 in 1841 on the site of a blacksmith's shop. It is fairly small, so there cannot have been many Catholics in Shepshed at that time. The Roman Catholic church grew strongly in the 19th century, usually where there were large numbers of Irish immigrants. However, by the 20th century, the chapel in Pick Street was considered too small for use, so a larger one was built in the 1920s, which still stands today. The old St. Winefride's then became derelict until it was bought for use as a private home.



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