The Church of St. Bartholomew was built by Bartholomew Bretherton who saw the need for a Catholic Church in the village of Rainhill. Prior to its existence, the nearest Church for Catholics was Our Lady's Portico or St. Bede's, Widnes.and so there was an obvious need for one closer to the village.
The Bretherton family owned coaching firms which operated from Liverpool. Rainhill (The Ship Inn) was the first stop at which the horse teams were changed. It was an obvious place for him to set up residence and he lived in Rainhill Hall, which is now occupied by the Jesuit Conference Centre of Loyola Hall.
In 1841 the population of Rainhill was approximately 750. Bartholomew Bretherton bought 240 acres of land in the area and became owners of much of the district, including the Manor Farm, which still exists as a public house on Mill Lane.
Having decided to build a Catholic Church, Bartholomew settled on an extremely well chosen spot being 'in direct line of sight' on the main road from Rainhill Village. At least 2 designs were sent to him for approval. One of them was in Gothic Style but the winning design was submitted by a Mr. Joshua Dawson from an idea by Mr. Carter of Preston.
Bartholomew wanted the new church to be dedicated to his own patron saint. He dispatched Mr. Dawson to Rome to study the design of the ancient Church of Santo Bartolomeo all'Isola. (St. Bartholomew on the Island).
In 1833 building commenced. Red freestone blocks were hewn from the family's own local quarry and the foundation stone was laid by Bartholomew's only daughter, Mrs Mary Gerard, in April of that year.
The building was completed two years later. It is ninety feet in length and forty five feet in width, in the form of an Ionic temple. The total cost was £8,000 and it was formally opened and consecrated on Tuesday 24th. August by the Rt.Rev.Dr. George Brown, Vicar Apostolic.
Pictures of St. Bartholomews
of Yesteryear
St. Theresa’s
St.Theresa's RC Church dates back to 1916 when the twin collieries at Clock Face and Sutton Manor were in full production. Two years earlier The Times (4/2/1914) reported that in that district "A town has sprung up where a few months ago there were only fields", with builders unable to cope with the demand for housing all the colliers. Historically, whenever there's been a growth in population, the church and the publicans have been quick to supply their somewhat disparate services!
So with sufficient demand for a second RC church in the Sutton district, Dean Carr, of St.Bartholomew's in Rainhill, obtained land in Gartons Lane and constructed first a chapel and then in 1923, a simple church. Later a larger area of land was bought on the other side of the street and a sandstone church in the free Norman style with round arches was slowly built with local stonemason Peter Howe serving as both architect and builder.

The foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop of Liverpool on June 7th, 1931 and the work proceeded until the outbreak of war but then came to a halt. It was not until 1958-9 that it was completed with local architectural firm of William and John Basil Ellis modifying the original roof.

The frontal doors of St.Theresa of the Child Jesus lead into a narthex, or lobby area that's located at the end of an impressive nave with glass entry doors. Twenty-six sandstone columns support the clerestory and roof and outside them an ambulatory encircles the High Altar, which is set in an apse. To the right of the nave are three side chapels which are separated by elaborately carved stone ornamentation.
Stephen Wainwright.


Sony UWA-BR100

St. Bartholomew’s Church