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Dunstable Road St.John Fisher RC Church

James Barker was the Vicar at St Mary’s between 1657-62. After the Act of Uniformity in 1662 he was either ejected or resigned from the living as he could not agree to conform to the principles of the Book of Common Prayer. Roman Catholics were under threat after the Uniformity Act and church wardens were under an obligation to report any one who refused to conform. In the village, John Wogan was working as a teacher in 1675. The Popish plot of 1678 was in the mind of Titus Oates, who believed that there was a group of Jesuits who were planning to assassinate King Charles II in order to put his Roman Catholic brother, the Duke of York on the throne. John Wogan at first was a supporter of the ideas, but changed his views and turned to the vicar, Thomas Draper, to lead him into the Protestant church. He attended church and took the sacraments, but he stopped attending and began practising his catholic beliefs. He was on the list of Recusants in 1680. It is likely that, as a result of his beliefs he lost his job in teaching and by 1706 he is listed as a beggar. The brother of Eignon Beynon of Beaumont Hall, Michael Beynon was a Roman Catholic, until after a series of visitations, he apparently renounced the faith.

In the village there were few reports of Recusants. One hopes the villagers were tolerant of differences in religion. But it was not until 1829 with the Roman Catholic Relief Bill and the abolition of religious tests for university in 1871, that Catholics could openly practise their religion. There was no meeting place in the village until 1936 when a small church largely hidden from view begun to serve the needs of the community.

The present church was planned by Father A.M. Putts and was dedicated in 1967 by Cardinal Heenan.

If anyone has a photo of the original church, please get in contact.

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Chair : Ian Caldwell
Treasurer : Teresa Finnigan
Secretary : Russell Thomas

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