St Stephen's Church, Skipton
When Baldisaro settled in Skipton in the 1820's there was
no Catholic Church so the local Catholics would walk the 5 miles to Broughton
Hall (the home of
the Tempest family) and celebrate mass in their private chapel. As
part of the campaign against Catholics, the Tempest family were forbidden
from continuing to use Broughton parish church as their burial ground by
an act of parliament passed in 1824 and therefore a new chapel would be needed. The
family were also interested in building a church for the people [Catholics]
of the district.
Porri persuaded the Tempest family to build a church in Skipton.
He also managed to persuade them to dedicate the Church to St. Stephen
because his family church in Appiano, Italy, was called St. Stephen - and luckily
Stephen was a family name of the Tempest family.
Building began in 1836 with the laying of a foundation stone
by Charles Tempest - with a trowel made by Baldisaro Porri. The roof
of the church is made of Broughton oak and most of the funds for the building
were provided by the Tempest family. The opening of the church was delayed
for several years because of a dispute between Charles Tempest and the priest
at Broughton, Father Michael Trappes over the ownership of the building.
The church was eventually opened on 15th September 1842 with
High Mass celebrated by Fr. Thomas Peter Tempest, brother of Sir Charles. The
following Sunday Monica Porri (daughter of Baldisaro and Mary Porri) was the
first child to be baptised in the church. Mass was said on Sundays and
Holydays by the chaplains from Broughton Hall. The church was locked
at all other times and the altar requisites [valuables] were kept at the house
of Baldisaro. Father
Tempest became the first resident priest and lived over Baldisaro Porri's shop.
The church was enlarged after 1850 and was reopened in 1853
after a gallery and transepts were added. A school and presbytery were
Porri died in 1872 and was buried alongside his wife in the family plot, which
is next to the Fattorini plot. Baldisaro's son Charles and his
wife Santina are also buried in the grave together with their children. Baldisaro's
daughter Mary Jane is buried in the Fattorini grave (she married Innocent Fattorini).
Also buried in the graveyard are members of the Arrigoni family - since
Baldisaro's daughter Isabella married Innocent Arrigoni.
Inside the church is a shrine and
picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (blessed by Pope Leo X111), which
was erected in 1885 to the memory of Baldisaro Porri by his family and the
cost shared by his son Charles Porri and Baldisaro's daughter Mary Jane Fattorini.
In 1889 the Stations of the Cross were erected to the memory
of Charles Porri and in 1904 their children erected the Shrine of the Sacred
Heart to Innocent and Mary Jane Fattorini.