MASS TIMES ST MARYS
Sunday 9:30am and 11:30am
St Mary's Church Dunstable
St Mary's Church is Roman Catholic and is part of the Parish of St Marys attached to The Diocese of Northampton .
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History of St. Mary’s Dunstable
Fr Kieran Magovern CM
Prehistoric burial mounds and earthworks on the chalk hills around Dunstable bear witness to its importance since earliest times. The town sits in a gap through the Chiltern Hills on the site of a small Roman settlement called Durocobrivis, which was established at crossroads formed by the Roman Watling Street and the prehistoric Icknield Way.
The site was abandoned in Saxon times but it was here that Henry I founded an Augustinian priory in 1131, built a palace and established a new market town. Dunstable became a place of considerable importance, hosting regular royal visits and jousting tournaments. It was at the priory in the 16th century, that the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon was pronounced, followed by the dissolution of the priory itself soon afterwards. Part of the original priory church, with its fine Norman nave and magnificent west front, survives as the town's C of E parish church.
Dunstable picked itself up from the ruins of the Reformation and again became a busy town with the advent of stagecoach travel. Several coaching inns remain from this prosperous period, which itself declined with the coming of the railway age and the consequent shift of the straw-plait and hat making industries from Dunstable to Luton with its main line railway station.
Once again Dunstable rode out its misfortunes and, at the turn of the century, began to welcome new industries including printing and engineering and, most notably, the motor trade. Today, many companies with household names have premises on the town's modern industrial estates.