The Murray Family

Michael Henry Murray was born in 1850 in Leeds, the first child of Thomas Murray and Ann Riley. Thomas and Ann were to have one son and two daughters, and both daughters became Nuns. Michael attended a Catholic Boarding School in Ugthorpe, about 24 miles south-east of Middlesbrough, until his father’s death in 1866.  He had been a good all-rounder, especially in swimming and music.

In 1871: Michael, then a taylor, married Elizabeth Corcoran at St Patrick’s in Leeds and in 1876 they moved from Leeds to Scotland. In 1891, while they were living at 65 Norfolk Street, in the Gorbols, Glasgow,  Elizabeth died from acute bronchitis. They had 3 daughters and a son,  Agnes, Rose, Annie and Thomas. Thomas was also to take Holy Orders and become a priest.

In 1906 Michael Murray and his three daughters moved from Glasgow to Irlams o'th' Height. Michael and his daughters set up a newsagents shop at 282 Bolton Road. Michael’s sister, Polly, was a Nun. at St Jospeh's convent about three miles away in Paticroft.

In 1914, Annie was married in Cape Town, South Africa. Her brother now Father Thomas Francis Murray made the journey to be at the wedding.

When Fr Singleton was sent to set up a new parish, Michael was a great supporter of the development of St Luke's. Before the church was built it is possible that meetings and sometimes even a mass was said in the living area behind the shop. Michael Murray also provided Fr. Singleton with the names of the Catholic families in the locality.

Fr Singleton wrote in the parish log in 1923

During this time, I feel bound to place on record, the extraordinary generosity & all round help in every way of the family of Murray - 282 Bolton Rd. The Parish owes them a deep debt of gratitude.

3 August 1927: Michael Henry Murray died at the age of 77. His daughter, Agnes, continued to run the Newsagency

(c 1930 Father Tom and Agnes Murray visiting Lourdes) 

In August 1932 Rose Murray died at Salford Infirmary. At the end of November, their married sister, Annie returmed from South Africa and again lived above the shop. The following year Fr Thomas Murray was appointed to St. Mary’s, Sabden, Blackburn.

In March 1935, Agnes Murray donated an oil painting "Descent From The Cross" by a student of Rubens which is the copy of a work by the original artist. (This latter appraisal of its provenance was done in 1941)

Annie Medd (nee Murray) died 2 January 1958 at the age of 82. Widowed and with no children, she had been living at the house of her brother Father Thomas. Agnes died a few years later, 4 February 1961, from bronchitis, aged 88. She had been living close by at Sabden. In 1962, Thomas retired to Brighton but then moved to Musselburgh in Scotland in 1969.

As well as the daily newspapers, the shop also sold the Catholic newspapers - and of course sweets and so is remembered by all the local people who were children in those time. The shop was in the family for many years and the shop was there until 1973 when it was demolished as part of the construction of the new A6 by-pass road scheme.


Parish History Group

If you would like to help research the history of the Parish or have any stories or photos then please get in touch. or speak to Paul Ashton, Stephanie McDonough or Pat Murray

We have some specific requests for information

  • Photos of our Assistant Priests/Curates
  • Photos and stories of the Charter Players
  • Photo
    • Fr J Leo McGinnell
    • James O'Garr  (1891-1979)
    • Billy Brady Sr
  • Servicemen of WWII (your parents/grandparents/great-grandparents ?)
  • Early photos of Ss Peter and Paul