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
The 13th Century church of St Mary at Cricklade formerly served the
smallest parish in the Anglican diocese of Bristol --- only just over
In 1952, its parish was merged with that of the town's larger Anglican
church, St Sampson's.
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
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
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.
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