The following is drawn from "Through Twenty Preston Guilds -The Catholic Congregation of St. Wilfrid's Preston", 1993, Leo Warren (Ed.)
On May 1, 1776 Mr Joseph Dunn (a.k.a. Fr. Dunn, a.k.a. Daddy Dunn) arrived at the Chapel in Friargate in Preston from Callaly Hall, nr. Alnwick, Northumberland to assist Fr. Nicholas Sewell. Dunn led the Catholic Mission for 51 years (op. cit. p20-21 passim.) Fr. Dunn taught philosophy at the Little College. Prior to his arrival, Catholics, and in particular, Jesuits were under attack in Preston. Among the significant events during "Daddy's" tenure in Preston are the following:
- 1773. Pope Clement XIV suppressed entirely the Society of Jesus, resulting in the English College being moved to Bruges (op. cit. 23) Fr. Dunn attended there at that time to help quell an uprising of the boys.
- 1790. Dunn pushed for a larger Chapel, abandoning St. Mary's, thus drawing all under one roof.
- 1791. The House of Lords passed a Relief Act to repeal the Penal Laws
- 1792. Work begins on a new Catholic Chapel in Fishergate. Thomas Winckley sold a parcel of land to Dunn. Estimated cost of Chapel built with "elegance and taste" £1,851; of House £688. (op.cit 28-29 passim)
- 1793. June 2, St. Mary's Chapel closed and became a cotton warehouse.
- 1793. June 4, the Roman Catholic Chapel of Preston was opened with an oratorio, as suggested by Fr. Dunn -Handel's Messiah, and the Coronation Anthem (in honour of His Majesty's birthday. (op.cit. 32)
- 1793. Dunn launched with 20 gns a fund to complete ornamental work and provide an organ in the new chapel (op.cit. 35)
- 1809. Dunn founder member of Preston Library & Philosophical Society
- 1811. Preston Dispensary established to supply the sick and poor. (op.cit. 37)
- 1813. Dunn was an active supporter of the new House of Recovery, following the death of a priest who had administered to a dying man.(ibid.)
- 1813. Dunn launched an appeal to re-open St. Mary's as the Catholic population of Preston had been growing significantly. It re-opened in 1832 (ibid.)
- 1814. St. Mary's chapel was re-opened.
- 1815. Dunn was a founder member of Preston Gas Lighting Company, Preston was the first town outside of London to be lit by gas (op.cit.43)
- 1815. Fox Street School opened by Dunn (op.cit. 36)
- 1815. Dunn & Fr. Morgan committed £100 to the Chapel in Friargate (op.cit. 98)
- 1816. Dunn was an original trustee of Preston Savings Bank. (op.cit. 36) and http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/N13958269
- 1818. Charles Butler, a Catholic lawyer opined that "Dunn was the best beggar in England." (op.cit.44)
- 1822. Dunn was involved in many disputes over the Chapel (op.cit.39)
- 1827. Dunn died on November 19. Age 82. 51 years after arrival in Preston in 1776. R.I.P.