Tuesday, February 24

1925: The Consecration of Bishop Pearson

This is Thomas Wulstan Pearson, the Benedictine monk of Ealing Abbey who became the first Bishop of Lancaster on this day in 1925. It must have been a time of tremendous excitement for the people of this parish, and demand for tickets to the consecration was, no doubt, high. The notice books speak of people applying for tickets and a committee of canons deciding who would get them. They also hint that there was concern about how smoothly things might go: "Tuesday, the feast of St. Matthias, Apostle, is the day of the Consecration of the Bishop. The church will be closed at 8.30 and opened again at 9.30. Ticket-holders only admitted. In the evening there will be a Reception in honour of His Lordship the Bishop in the Ashton Hall at 7.30. Doors open at 7. We hope the congregation will give every assistance in their power to secure good order both at the Consecration and the Reception. No tickets needed for the Reception. All are invited."

Here we see the new Bishop's coat of arms and motto (Dominus, spes mea - The Lord is my hope). Few details of the ceremony itself are available, though we do know that the Bishop was consecrated by Archbishop Keating of Liverpool; the co-consecrators were Bishop Joseph Butt (a Westminster auxiliary - presumably chosen because the new Bishop had come from Ealing) and Bishop Robert Dobson, a Liverpool auxiliary and former rector of this church. Obviously parishioners were encouraged to take an interest, and booklets detailing the rite of consecration were available: "Books containing the full ceremony of the Consecration may be purchased at the bottom of the church today. Price 8d. If there are not enough, please give your names and the requisite number will be obtained at once" (notice book, 15th February 1925).