Catholic Again


Friends of St Mary's Church, Cricklade, Wiltshire, U.K.


Chairman: Hugh Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Secretary: Gerry Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Treasurer: Tony Barratt, 13 Boundary Close, Stratton, SWINDON, SN2 7TF


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Catholic Voice  Mar 1984


600-year old church


is Catholic again


There was an occasion of great ecumenical and historic significance at Cricklade, Wilts, in January when a redundant Anglican church which has stood since before the Reformation once more became a centre of Catholic worship.

   The 13th Century church of St Mary at Cricklade formerly served the smallest parish in the Anglican diocese of Bristol --- only just over 121 acres!

   In 1952, its parish was merged with that of the town's larger Anglican church, St Sampson's.

Then, just three years ago, St Mary's was declared redundant.

   Now, following great help and encouragement from the Anglican Church, the building has returned to the Catholic fold, after an interval of more than 400 years.

   Early in January, Bishop Alexander formally received the Church from the Vicar of St Sampson's, the Rev. Kenneth Withington, and then went on to celebrate the first Mass to be said there in modern times.

   Among those present, who were welcomed by Parish Priest, Fr. Eamon

McGlinchey, was the Rev. Gillian Bobbett, Minister of Cricklade United Church. She gave a brief address of greetings to the Bishop on behalf of the Methodist and United Reform Churches.

   The entire project would not have been possible without the generous help given by prominent local Anglicans, Mr and Mrs Seymour Aitken, of Brook House, Cricklade.

   Mr Aitken personally planned and supervised an extensive programme of renovation and re-decoration to make the church once more suitable for public worship.

On the day of the first Mass, he and Mrs Aitken also invited guests to a reception in their beautiful home.

   The present church of St Mary at Cricklade stands on the site of an older Norman building, erected in the first half of the 12th century.

   Its furnishings include a Jacobean pulpit and Communion benches and an Altar table bearing the carved date 1627.



Anglican Vicar, the Rev. Kenneth Withington (left) greets Bishop Alexander on his arrival for the first Mass at St Mary's. Parish Priest Fr. McGlinchey looks on, with Free Church Minister, the Rev. Gillian Bobbett.


The 13th Century Church of St Mary at Cricklade, which is now a Catholic parish church again after more than 400 years.


Church is




   The church's registers date back to 1683. The earliest carries the magic formula "ABRACADABRA" thought to have been written as a charm to ward off the plague.

   Other records list every incumbent of the parish since 1327. And there is also an historic 1613 edition of the Bible which, like the other archives, is now in safe keeping.


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