St Charles RC Church, Grange-Over-Sands
Extract from the Priests of St Charles booklet
While the church was being built, Fr. Langtree from his base at 1 Eastwood Terrace, was forwarding his plans for the Presbytery to the Bishop. Time was not wasted, for in May 1884 he was reporting that "the first coat of plaster and the woodwork is finished and the house should be ready for occupation in August". He moved in during the last week of September. . . . by November 1887 Fr Langtree rendered an account to his Dean of a total expenditure at Grange of £2521 of which only £153 was an outstanding debt. This was a remarkable effort, but he realised that the limit had been reached and he was asking the Bishop to wipe out the debt because "my people,especially those to whom I can look for help, are very few in number, and they have been taxed so much,and will continue to be, to support the mission, that I can expect little support from them".The congregation during the first months of 1884 varied between 35 and 45, reaching its peak on June 15th; the collection never exceeded 9 shillings and on half the Sundays did not reach 4 shillings. And the parish did not grow rapidly.
On 5th June, 1886, Rev. Fr. Langtree paid £2.10. 0d to the Ulverston Union to have the Church registered for the solemnization of marriages. By 1885 he was able to purchase the land lying to the north of the church in the name of Bishop Whiteside of Liverpool. In 1903/4 he extended his sitting room at a cost of £135; his solicitor and architect were based in Liverpool but the work was carried out by a local craftsman, Mr Chippendale. This extension did not involve the infamous cellars of the Presbytery which, despite much water sealing, cannot cope with the rise in the level of the water table in time of heavy rain. Parish Priests,Parishioners and friends have, over the years, been called in to stem the flow, or usually to clear up afterwards. The Conservatory appears to date from this time, for the wall is clearly incorporated in the house structure.
When Canon Langtree died on August 30th 1929 at St Charles' in his 75th year,he was mourned by a greater circle than his own Parishioners. He had involved himself in the life of the Community. His Pastoral concern endeared him to his flock and others. He was President of the Lecture Society and Vice-President of the Literary and Scientific Society enjoyed more than a local reputation as a cultivator of roses, and his rose garden with its wonderful display was a delight to residents and visitors alike. He was a skilled amateur photographer as recent prints from his negatives show. It was his enthusiasm and untiring energy which impressed.
He came to Grange in 1882 a sick man. A Prestonian, he was educated locally, then at Ushaw and the English College in Rome. He served for a short period in Liverpool before his lifetime's appointment. He took over the task of building the church; he moved from Capt. Witham's at Kentsford to Eastwood Terrace so he could supervise the operation. He pressed ahead with construction of the Presbytery and, not Content with that, he added the St. Joseph's Chapel, extended his a living room, acquired the field, built his extensive greenhouse, installed central heating ... for the greenhouse,the church and the house encouraged the Holy Ghost Fathers to establish the Missionary College at Castlehead, and the Augustinian Sisters to come to Boarbank. He never forgot Ushaw; he was devoted to its cause; his college friend, then President of the College, Mgr. Brown came to comfort him shortly before his death. Bishop Dobson of Liverpool sang the Requiem Mass. The preacher conveyed the Canon's request "simply ask for prayers".
In 1924 Grange became part of the newly created Diocese of Lancaster formed from the North of the Liverpool Diocese and the West of the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese