HISTORY OF THE PARISH
The town of Newport & the surrounding districts can trace their Christian heritage to Bishop Diuma of Mercia, AD656, who was in communion with & obedience to the Apostolic See Of Rome. In AD669 the area passed to the Diocese of Lichfield & later in 1121 to the Diocese of Coventry & Lichfield with the church building, now known as St Nicholas in Newport town centre, belonging to the Abbey of Ss Peter & Paul in Shrewsbury.
In Newport at the time of the protestant reform in the 16th Century the church of St Nicholas had a chantry chapel attached to it, to the supreme honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the passing by parliament of the 'Acts of Supremacy' the Monarch became the Supreme Governor of the Church of England & the 'Acts of Uniformity' introduced a new prayer book & imposed financial penalties on those who refused to attend Anglican services. There now exists at Ss Peter & Paul's Church a recorded list of those from Newport & the surrounding areas who incurred the 'Recusancy Fines'. The practice of the 'old' relegion was forbidden & the many who remained true to the faith of their fathers could only worship in secret - because the penalty for a priest found saying mass was death. Furthermore, those folk found sheltering a Catholic priest faced the penalty of death too. The recorded list of Recusancy Fines imposed can be seen by visitors in the entry porch to our church.
Upon the sale of the property of Longford in 1789, the priest moved to Salters hall (as noted in our dedicated web page). Masses were said here for 40 yrs but it was only following Catholic Emancipation in 1829 that full civil & political rights were restored to Catholics. Happily, soon afterwards in 1832 the Church of Ss Peter & Paul was built. The resident priest at the time of the building was George Howe, who died in 1837. He is buried in front of the alter where his memorial stone can still be seen. And, ever since Fr George's death, there has been an unbroken succession of parish priests resident here within Salters Hall & the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter & St Paul.
After the Catholic hierarchy was restored in England in 1850, the first Bishop of Shrewsbury, James Brown, was in residence here at Salters Hall between 1851 & 1869 while Shrewsbury Cathedral & its accommodation were being completed at Belmont in Shrewsbury.
(Source: Z. E. Kosinski & D.G Stagg)