St. Hugh of Lincoln Church

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95 Victoria Road, Knaphill, Woking, GU21 2AA
Tel: 01483 472404 Fax: 01483 472404

(Click here for map)

  Parish Priest: Fr. Gerard Hatton

disabled access facilities for wheelchair users induction loops fitted for the hard of hearing

History of the Church in Knaphill

A brief history of the development of the church � culled from many local sources and Parish documents.

The photo to the right is of the old church and presbytery which date from 1908.

For further viewable photos and sketches, please see further below or click here.

The earliest records of the Catholic Faith in what is now the Parish of St Hugh of Lincoln is that of a hermitage, (13th Century), owned by the Dominican Friary of Guildford. The Countess of Richmond and mother of King Henry 7th, often stayed at the Royal Manor in Woking. St John Fisher was her confessor, 1497 � 1509. He is thought to have lived at Fishers Farm, Old Woking, and it is possible he had a retreat house at St John�s Lye End near the Hermitage. There was a bargee�s beer house there in late Victorian times known as the Fisher�s Retreat.

In 1908, St Hugh�s Church and Presbytery were built by Fr Henry Drage. He was Knaphill�s first resident priest. He moved to Walworth in 1912 and was succeeded by Fr Stanley Mason. In 1914 Fr Mason became an army chaplain attached to Inkerman Barracks, a post he held until 1922 when he was appointed to Sutton Place. His departure meant the closure of St Hugh�s. Mass was supplied from St Oswald�s and offered at the Barracks; many of Knaphill�s Catholics travelled to St Dunstan�s for mass.

In 1946 the doors of St Hugh�s were opened once again when priests from St Dunstan�s, Woking, came on Sundays to celebrate Mass in the private church. In the early 1950�s, Fr Edward Dilger came as resident Rector of Knaphill. As the congregation grew, St Hugh�s church became too small and Mass was celebrated at various venues, among them were Brookwood Hospital, Inkerman Barracks and the British Legion Hall in the Broadway. By the time Fr Dilger left the parish in 1961, the Church Hall had been built to give local Catholics a fairly permanent place of worship and the land for the school had been purchased.

In Fr Henry Minter�s time with the parish, the bungalow and builders yard opposite the church were acquired; the bungalow to serve as a Presbytery. The land alongside the old Presbytery and Hall was made into a car park. The old Church and Presbytery once again fell into disuse.

In 1967, St Hugh�s was erected as a separate Parish with Fr Minter as the first Parish Priest. When Fr Minter died in 1967, Fr Clement Lyons looked after our needs until Fr Brendan McCarthy arrived in 1968.

During the ten years or so that Fr McCarthy was with us, the new Church, school and Presbytery were built and the land opposite was made into a car park. The site of the old bungalow, (Presbytery), was sold to the Servite Housing Trust. A new Parish Room was built into the hall in 1977.

Fr McCarthy moved to Horley in January 1980 when Fr Charles Jeffries took up the reins. Fr Gordon Brayshaw joined him in September 1982. During their time together, several new groups were formed including the Youth Club, altar boys football team, several regular prayer groups and a group praying and raising funds for a mission in Ilo Peru. In September 1983, Fr Jeffries left us to move to Weybridge.

Fr Terry Wilson came to Knaphill in September 1983. Together with Fr Brayshaw, he continued to develop the various groups. Fr Wilson came from a theatrical family which gave him a flair and love of ceremony. When someone suggested that we should have a parish concert, he was full of enthusiasm. The two resulting concerts were very successful and raised considerable sums for the Lourdes appeal fund. Fr Brayshaw moved to Angmering on 20th December 1984 and was replaced by Fr Michael Aust who stayed with us until Fr Patrick McMahon came in February 1985.

In September 1987, Fr Wilson moved to Battle in Sussex and Fr Laurence Quin Morris came to Knaphill. In 1988, Fr Pat moved to Chichester and Fr Stan Burt replaced him. St Hugh�s seemed to attract thespians; Fr Stan, who was a late vocation, had been a keen amateur actor. He went on to play a starring role in the parish production of Aladdin. He moved to Ash in January 1991.

Fr Laurence stayed at St Hugh�s until May 1993. During his time at Knaphill, he was responsible for many improvements to the properties including the extension to the Presbytery, surfacing the car park with tarmac, installing a false ceiling in the Hall and its refurbishment, landscaping the area behind the church and the replacement of the church ceiling and its lights.

In May 1993, Fr Martin Jakubas stepped into the driving seat and set about an in depth parish review. He arranged for the installation of a first class sound system and audio loop in the church which has been of great benefit to both readers and church congregations. He also arranged for the lighting of the church car park. As part of the review process, Fr Martin asked the parish to consider �tithing� 5% of its offertory income to help a third world project. Following a vote, parishioners chose to support a school for handicapped children in Clodomira, Argentina. The school was run by Sister Stephanie FCJ, the sister of Maureen Carr, one of our parishioners.

In the summer of 1996, Fr Martin was called away to another parish and was replaced by Fr Patrick Emmanuel. Fr Patrick was with us for only a year before he was called away by the Bishop to another parish when he was succeeded by Fr Paul Turner.

Fr Paul quickly immersed himself in the maintenance of the Parish Building doing much decoration, organising repairs to the church heating system and constructing new storage facilities in the Hall. A vote was arranged at the end of the first 3 year term of the parish tithing arrangement and it was agreed that the parish would support CAFOD for the next 3 years.

After only 2 years, the Bishop asked Fr Paul to move to Brighton in 1999 and we welcomed Fr Richard Blythen to the Parish. Fr Richard picked up the increasingly urgent debate about how we could reorder the Hall structure to accommodate a toilet facility with wheelchair access. This, and the refurbishment of the Hall kitchen, was destined to be a major expense and construction work started in early 1995. Unfortunately, this coincided with all the gas heaters in the Hall failing their safety inspection and their replacement became a priority. As all this work was progressing, Fr Richard told the parish that he had been accepted by the Royal Navy to become one of their full time chaplains and he left the parish for a life at sea in the summer of 2005. During his tenure, the parish tithing support reverted back to Clodomira in Argentina.

Two days after Fr Richards�s departure, the parish welcomed Rev Monsignor Canon Jeffrey Scott, (Fr Jeff), who transferred to us from the cathedral at Arundel. Fr Jeff wasted no time in engaging a task force of parishioners to redecorate the Hall to smarten it up now that the new kitchen and toilet facilities were complete. This was completed in time for his induction which was presided over by the Bishop, assisted by the Vicar General, Rev Monsignor Canon John Hull and many of the past priests from the parish.

Photographs of the old church

The following are photographs of the old church which can be viewed in a larger window by clicking on them...

Sketches of the old church

The following are sketches of the old church which can be viewed in a larger window by clicking on them...

Photographs of the new church

The following are photographs of the new church which can be viewed in a larger window by clicking on them...

Sketches of the new church

The following are further sketches of the new church which can be viewed in a larger window by clicking on them...

List of parish priests

The following link provides access to a list of parish priests...

List of parish priests (PDF, 41kb)

Click here to download a free copy of Adobe PDF Reader

Commissioning the new church

The following links provide access to documents relating to commissioning the new church (please note the size of the documents shown in brackets, these are large files that may take some time to download)...

Architects Summary Commission to build Church (PDF, 65kb)
Solemn Blessing - Order of Service - March 1971 (PDF, 10.4MB)
Consecration - Order of Service - May 1978 (PDF, 7.1MB)

Click here to download a free copy of Adobe PDF Reader

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