Our partnership of ten churches in North West Durham has been named Pontop because in the late 18th century the Catholics of our district came from near and far to Mass in the attic room of Pontop Hall near Dipton (then it was still illegal to practice the Catholic faith in the UK). Due to the need to maintain discretion the priest Fr. Lockonby called his chapel at Pontop Hall the “factory”. In 1750 there were 145 worshippers at the “factory”. The bravery of the Swinburne family who lived at Pontop Hall and the contribution that Pontop Hall made make this name significant in the history of the Catholic faith in the north of England and so “Pontop” is a fitting name for our new partnership.

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