Until the Reformation in the 16th century, all the churches in Stamford were of course Roman Catholic. After the Reformation, Catholics had to meet for worship in private, and pay heavy fines for not attending the established Church of England. During this time, various cellars in Stamford were used as secret venues to celebrate Mass in, one of them being the undercroft at 24, High Street St, Martin’s, owned by Dr. Joseph Michael.
With the second Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791, Catholics were permitted to practice their faith openly and without paying fines.
By 1815, Roman Catholics were able to buy 19, All Saints Street as a meeting house with the assistance of Dr. Michael, and in about 1825, the Catholic population of Stamford had grown sufficiently in size to build its own chapel behind that house, where Oddfellows Hall now stands. The Stamford Mercury reported: The building is of considerable size, though there are at present in Stamford few persons of the Roman Catholic persuasion. In 1833 the chapel was considerably enlarged and was described as being very pretty. The first parish records were begun, and soon after the first Roman Catholic priest in Stamford since the Reformation was appointed.
In 1861, the congregation decided to build a church for themselves, and plans were drawn up. The Dolphin pub on Broad Street came on the market, and was bought for £1000, and in 1863 the work on the church began. The Stamford Mercury reported: “..the new Roman Catholic Church… erected from designs by Mr George Goldie, the eminent architect of London…. divine service is no longer performed in the building in All Saints Street, which… is announced for sale.” The cost of the whole set of buildings, church, priest’s house and schoolroom, came to £2296 0s 6d. It opened in 1865, and the old chapel was demolished.
See also the church website.