Thomas Peter Bagnall was born in 1761, the son of a Robert Bagnall a Potter in Staffordshire. He and his family moved to Glasgow in 1768, where his father set up a pottery and shop. Robert Bagnall was a devote Roman Catholic, helping  keep the faith alive by allowing his house to be used for worship. Sadly they were forced to leave Glasgow following the anti papist riots in 1779, their home burned to the ground. They moved to East Lothian, where Robert rebuilt his workshop. By this time Thomas had left home to study the Priesthood at Scalan Seminary Glenlivet Brae from 1774 to 1778.  From there he went to Douai Flanders in France to further his studies, becoming a sub-diaconate, then onto Valladolid in Spain on the 27th January 1787 from where he was ordained Priest and made Deacon in 1787. He was to stay there for eight years as Professor of Humanities teaching student until  9th September 1794.

On the 1st of April 1794, Bishop Hay ordered him to return to his Priestly duties, because of a great need for Priests. So, on the 25th March 1795, he was to return to Scotland, to Kirkconnell and his new congregation. In 1822, he moved into Kinder house New Abbey, which he rented. His vision, however, was to have a church built in New Abbey, so determined, he set off on a  sixteen month fund raising mission. On the 22nd of June 1824, Fr Thomas Bagnall began to fulfil his dream by laying the foundation stone of St Mary's Roman Catholic Church. The following year on May 26th 1825, he moved into the house, before heading off once again on the 31st to England on a second fund raising quest. He returned on the 6th October to celebrate his inaugural Mass in the chapel the following Sunday.

In his 31st year as priest and barely a year after establishing St Mary's, he suffered apoplexy, whilst in Dumfries and died aged 65 on Saturday 27th May 1826. His body was interred in the ruined Abbey Church of Sweet Heart Abbey on Thursday 1st June 1826.
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