Although an important nucleus of Catholics, dependent on the Jesuit Mission at Spinkhill, survived in Bolsover up to the end of the 17th century, it appears that the Faith was definitely on the wane during the next two hundred years. At a visitation of the Spinkhill Mission held in 1883, Bishop Bagshawe found that there seemed to be very few Catholics in Bolsover.
The transformation of Bolsover from a picturesque market town, sheltering behind an enormous castle, into an important mining centre, brought some influx of Catholics and, to provide for them, Fr. Froes opened a Mass centre in 1903.
This was a wooden hut situated behind the house of Mr. Street at No 1 High Street and bore the name ‘St. Joseph’s’.
At this time Fr. Froes was a missionary priest at Clowne. In the following year he moved to Shirebrook but continued to serve Bolsover.
The first mission came to an end in 1928 on the retirement of Fr. Froes.
Fourteen years later in 1942, a new Mass centre was opened in an upper room behind the residence of Mr. Kennington in the Market Place.
The following year a derelict property, 59 High Street, was bought by the Diocese and a stone stable block was adapted by means of voluntary labour to form a chapel. The ‘barn’ remained as a chapel until 1967 when the present church was built next to it.
The ‘barn’continued to be used over the years for social events, but by 2005 was in need of much restoration and so the Diocese decided that it should be sold and the proceeds be used for repair and restoration work on both St. Bernadette’s Church and St. Joseph’s Church.
Re-wiring, new central-heating system, complete re-decoration, sanctuary re-carpeted, a meeting room established and the exterior cleaned were completed at St. Bernadette’s in April 2007 and our Easter Vigil was celebrated there. The parishioners at St. Bernadette’s are very proud of what has been achieved and as one of them said, “The church has never looked so lovely since the day it was built.” The icing on the cake arrived in the shape of a brand new organ. After a church organ appeal was made in February to all parishioners (and friends), we were able to purchase one ten weeks later. Thank you to everyone who helped.
St Bernadette’s Bolsover is served by St Joseph’s, Shirebrook