Blessed Nicholas Postgate

Blessed Nicholas Postgate

Since his death, Nicholas Postgate has remained an inspiration to the Catholic community within our area and beyond. It was to be more than 100 years before the legal penalties against Catholics began to be removed. Although one of Father Postgate’s successors at Ugthorpe declared, “From the moors of Yorkshire, Good Lord deliver us”, the Mass continued to be offered and the martyr’s memory remained a source of strength. By 1768, despite the legal penalties, a chapel and school were established at Ugthorpe and a chapel was established at the Smiths’ house, Bridgeholm, at Egton Bridge. A new chapel was built at Egton Bridge in 1790 and at Ugthorpe in 1810.

In those days there were not diocesan bishops, but Vicars Apostolic. For a brief period in the late 18th century, Bishop Gibson, the Vicar Apostolic for the Northern District, lived at Ugthorpe. Bishop Briggs the last Vicar Apostolic, and from 1850 the first Bishop of Beverley, was a benefactor of the new church built at Ugthorpe in 1855. His most significant gift was two chalices that had belonged to Father Postgate, which had eventually been entrusted to the Vicars Apostolic. This historical legacy brought Cardinal Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster, as a visitor to Ugthorpe, followed by his successor, Cardinal Manning. It was part of what Blessed John Henry Newman called a “Second Spring” for the Church in England.

Cardinals have not been so plentiful across the moors since those days, but local devotion to the name of Nicholas Postgate remains. The road into Ugthorpe was named Postgate Way by the local council. The Station Hotel at Egton Bridge is now known as The Postgate. The Postgate Rally, an open-air Mass (weather permitting), has become an established feature of the diocesan calendar. In recent years this has also become the occasion of a walk for vocations. August 7 is now observed as the Feast Day of Blessed Nicholas Postgate.

The cause for the canonisation of Nicholas Postgate has progressed and in 1987 Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed, among 85 martyrs of England and Wales. The Postgate Society exists to promote this cause.

Blessed Nicholas Postgate Pray for Us.