Ealing and Brentford
Roman catholicism


Victoria County History



T F T Baker, C R Elrington (Editors), Diane K Bolton, Patricia E C Croot, M A Hicks

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'Ealing and Brentford: Roman catholicism', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 157-158. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22584 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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Sir Christopher Roper and his wife and another family were recusants at Ealing between 1613 and 1617. (fn. 34) At New Brentford one family was repeatedly presented between 1606 and 1623 and two others were presented between 1623 and 1636. (fn. 35) Archibald Campbell, earl of Argyll, was a recusant there in 1638; in 1640 two recusants at New Brentford were presented and two at Ealing, John Penruddock and Woolsey, wife of George Brent. (fn. 36) Brent was described as a church papist in 1642. (fn. 37) Ealing parish had no recusants in 1706; a small group of suspected papists at New Brentford included Mary Thompson, who practised physic (fn. 38) and was the only papist recorded in Elthorne hundred in 1711, when she was required to move farther from London. (fn. 39) Apart from two papists at New Brentford in 1767, (fn. 40) none was recorded at Ealing or Brentford until the mid 19th century.

A Roman Catholic church at Brentford was opened in 1856 to serve Irish labourers on the G.W.R. line. (fn. 41) It is described below, with other churches opened at Ealing in 1893, North Ealing in 1899, Northfields in 1922, and Gunnersbury in 1931. Ealing abbey, opened in 1896, was one of several convents associated with schools. In 1978 Ealing and Brentford were centres of Roman Catholic education. (fn. 42)

St. Benedict's abbey, Ealing, at corner of Charlbury Grove and Marchwood Crescent, dates from acquisition of house by Downside abbey 1896. (fn. 43) St. Benedict's church opened 1899. (fn. 44) Attendance 1903: 328 a.m.; 94 p.m. (fn. 45) Cruciform Perpendicular church by Frederick and Edward Walters finished 1935 but E. end destroyed 1940 and not rebuilt until 1962. As Ealing priory, community became independent of Downside 1947 and became an abbey 1955. (fn. 46)

St. Dunstan's, Gunnersbury, opened in hall on E. side of Gunnersbury school in Gunnersbury Ave. 1931. (fn. 47) Seated 250 in 1978. (fn. 48)

Holy Family church, Vale Lane, on Acton boundary, built and opened 1967. Modern style, with lower walls of yellow brick surmounted by sloping walls of aluminium. (fn. 49)

St. John the Evangelist's church, Brentford, founded 1856; used former Baptist chapel at Market Place from 1857 or earlier. (fn. 50) Unpretentious church at Boston Park Rd. opened 1866. (fn. 51) Attendance 1903: 329 a.m.; 150 p.m. (fn. 52) Seated 300, 1978. (fn. 53)

Mission of St. Joseph and St. Peter in private house in Windsor Rd., Ealing, from 1893, moving to house in Mattock Lane, property of Revd. Richard O'Halloran, 1897. (fn. 54) Attendance 1903: 65 a.m.; 43 p.m. (fn. 55) O'Halloran tried to remain independent of Cardinal Vaughan (fn. 56) and in 1915 registered a different building for 'unattached Catholics'. (fn. 57) Building in Mattock Lane passed to Crown on his death without heirs 1925 and later became Questors theatre. (fn. 58)

St. Peter and St. Paul, Camborne Ave., founded 1922 as chapel of ease to Hanwell. (fn. 59) Separate parish from 1926. Services in hut in Leyborne Ave. (fn. 60) until first stage of existing church opened 1931. (fn. 61) Church, completed after 1951, seated c. 450 in 1978. (fn. 62)

St. Mary's convent, New Brentford, opened 1880 for Poor Servants of Mother of God in two 18th-century houses and gradually extended to cover whole corner of the Butts and the Half Acre. Contained laundry, school c. 1900, orphanage until 1949, and home for mentally retarded girls from 1924. Chapel opened for public worship 1914 and replaced in 1950s. (fn. 63)

Visitation nuns from Westbury (Som.) used Castlebar House 1895-7. (fn. 64) English canonesses regular of the Lateran established a priory there before moving in 1914 to the Elms, Hillcrest Road. (fn. 65)


34 Jackson, Ealing, plate between pp. 12 and 13; Mdx. Sess. Rec. iv. 91; i. 246; ii. 124, 296; Mdx. County Rec. ii. 126.
35 Mdx. County Rec. i. 130; ii. 17, 84, 127, 144, 146, 237; iii, passim; Mdx. Sess. Rec. i. 106, 452; iv. 142, 190.
36 Mdx. County Rec. iii. 143, 153-4.
37 Faulkner, Brentford, Ealing and Chiswick, 23.
38 Guildhall MSS. 9800A/2; 3498/11.
39 Ibid. MS. 3498/12.
40 Ibid. MS. 9557.
41 B. W. Kelly, Hist. Notes on Eng. Catholic Missions (1907), 95.
42 Below, educ.
43 Scouse, Ealing 1901-51, 60.
44 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 37474.
45 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 430.
46 Westm. Cathedral Chron. Sept. 1962; Ealing Abbey Ch. (leaflet).
47 Stone on bldg.; G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 53369.
48 Inf. from the rector.
49 Ealing Churches, no. 7; G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 71240.
50 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 7951.
51 Ibid. 17295.
52 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 425.
53 Inf. from the rector.
54 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 36219; Ealing Local Hist. Soc. Local Historian (1964), 47; Kelly's Dir. Ealing (1897-8).
55 Mudie-Smith, Rel. Life, 430.
56 G. Bell, Randall Davidson, i. 404-5.
57 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 46645.
58 Mdx. County Times, 4 May 1935 (jubilee suppl.); above.
59 Mdx. County Times, 4 May 1935 (jubilee suppl.).
60 G.R.O. Worship Reg. no. 50286.
61 Ibid. 53223; inf. from the rector.
62 Scouse, Ealing 1901-51, 61; inf. from the rector.
63 Inf. from the sister superior.
64 Catholic Dir. (1896, 1897).
65 Mdx. County Times, 16 Apr. 1932; inf. from the revd. mother.