After fifty years at the Dalton Square Mission, the local Catholic community needed a larger church, a cemetery and a proper school. Dean Richard Melchiades Brown purchased three acres of land just over the canal from Dalton Square around 1847; by 1853 cemetery, school and convent (for the nuns who taught) were completed. The new church, to be dedicated to St Peter, was begun in 1857 and was funded largely by bequests and private subscriptions from Lancaster's wealthy Catholic families. 

St Peter's was designed by Edward Graham Paley, a well-known local architect. The scale of the new church is indeed impressive and its style - based on English Gothic churches of around 1300 - was seen to reflect a bygone era when the glory of a Catholic England was unopposed and unsurpassed. The architectural statement that St Peter's made, with its 240-foot spire towering over Lancaster's skyline, could hardly have been more dramatic. 

Click here to continue reading - the next page covers the first 50 years of the new church building.