St. Mary's Catholic Primary Academy, Swires Road, Halifax, HX1 2ER

01422 362365
Ofsted an Parent View

We are proud to work with all the Catholic schools across our two local authority areas, particularly as the Trust grows and benefits from the expertise and knowledge that other schools joining in the future will bring.

Visit Us

Our Parish

Our School Parish

History of our Parish

Our Parish is one of the oldest in the Diocese of Leeds.  The Mass was said in Halifax throughout most of the Eighteenth Century in various rooms and meeting houses.  Only after Catholic Emancipation in 1829, however, did it become possible to erect a more permanent place of worship for the Catholics of this district.  Land was obtained opposite the old place of executions on Gibbet Lane and in 1834 the foundation stone of St Mary’s Church was laid by Fr Joseph Wright-Fairclough the first Parish Priest. Soon in 1846 schools were added to the complex of buildings by Fr John Rigby

In 1861 during a stormy night a great section of the church collapsed but was soon rebuilt.  The parish was divided in the 1890s to create the new parish of St Bernard’s Boothtown which was named in honour of Fr Bernard Wake Parish Priest of St Mary’s who had worked hard to build up the Catholic community in that part of the town.  St Mary’s in the meantime had become too small for the existing congregation and after the First World War a great project was undertaken by Canon John Foley to extend the Church to its present proportions.  This project was completed by Dean Peter Russell who beautified the church with the addition of Italian marble altars

The church was consecrated in its centenary year of 1934 by Bishop Cowgill of Leeds.  The growing Catholic population however necessitated further splitting of the parish and in 1934 St Columba’s Church was built and set up as a separate parish in the Pellon District of Halifax.  Finally in 1954 St Alban’s Church in Huddersfield Road was opened and Fr Edward Quinn was installed as first Parish Priest two years later.  In 2005 Bishop Roche decided that the needs of the area could best be served by reintegrating St Alban’s Parish into its mother parish of St Mary’s which left the parish as it is today.

Parish Priests of St Mary’s 1834 – Present

Fr Joseph Wright-Fairclough 1834-1840
Fr John Rigby 1840-1849Fr James Hostage 1850-1855
Fr Matthew Kavanagh 1855-1862
Fr James Kelly 1862-1869
Fr Joseph Geary 1870-1882
Fr Bernard Wake 1882-1892
Canon James Gordon 1892-1896
Canon Patrick Mulcahy 1896-1911
Canon John Foley 1911-1931
Dean Peter Russell 1931-1945
Fr J Reginald Stack 1945-1954
Fr J Leo Mitchel 1954-1964
Fr James Noonan 1964-1973
Canon James Belton 1974-1992
Fr Michael Ingwell 1992-2005
Mgr David Smith 2005-2016
Fr Martin Kelly 2016-2022
Fr Joshua Hilton 2022-Present


Our Parish Photos

Photographs of our parish