Sunday, 22 February 2015

St Walburga

The local Catholic church, St Mary and St Walburga, is visible for miles around owing to its tall tower, topped with a statue. I had always assumed the statue (seen here from the back) was the Virgin Mary but I realise now that it might just as likely be Saint Walburga. I didn't know she was a woman.

Walburga or Walpurga is an unusual name. She was born in Devon around 710 AD and educated at a convent school in Wimborne, Dorset, where she then became a nun. She joined her brothers to evangelise in the area known then as Francia, which is now in south-west Germany and she later became abbess of a monastery there, established by her brother. She died in either 777 or 779. She was canonised in 870.

Quite why the Shipley church is dedicated to her, I am not sure. It was built in 1962, on a site that had been occupied by a large Victorian house that was demolished. Some of the stone was used in the new church. The new church replaced an older one nearby that had become too small for its congregation, originally mainly Irish Catholic immigrants but swelled by an influx of refugees from eastern Europe and Italy after the war.


  1. Hi Jenny. I love reading your blog. It must be tough at times to find something to write each day but I'm glad you do. Your photographic walks around Saltaire and Shipley are great to read on rainy days but I'm really impressed by the history you mention and research you must do as above. I love reading about Bradford in the 60's and 70's and how its changed with new buildings, populations and ways of living in 40 years. I think your blog is an amazing time capsule of what life in Saltaire/Shipley is like in the 2000's. I hope its secured in its entirety somewhere for future generations in case this website is ever lost. Bradford Council libraries or the University would agree with me I'm sure. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you, Mark, that's very kind of you. I'm so glad you enjoy reading the blog.

  2. You do dig up interesting titbits about your area.It is a nice looking church.

  3. Someone must have sat down with Lives of the Saints (or whatever a real book on the topic is called) and struggled to find Walburga. If it was me, I would have picked Aaron or Abel or Abelard and be done with it.


No WV here but I've enabled comment moderation on older posts so I don't miss any of your messages. I love reading them - thank you! And thanks for visiting my blog.