Church History

Prior to the start of the Second World War a Catholic Church in Churchdown did not exist. 

The Catholics in the village had to cycle or go by train to Gloucester or Cheltenham to go to Church.On the 2nd September 1939, some 200 children accompanied by Nuns and lay teachers were evacuated from St.Anne's School Birmingham to be accommodated in Churchdown.. On the following day the 3 September 1939 (the day the 2nd World War was declared), for the first time since the Reformation, Mass was celebrated in Churchdown by Canon Matthew Roche from St.Peter's Church in Gloucester in the Assembly Room of the Chosen Hotel (a pub).

Priests from Gloucester, Prinknash Abbey and the Salesian School at Blaisdon served the Mass Centre at the Chosen Hotel. In 1942, the Mass Centre was moved to the Skittle Alley at the Hare & Hounds(another pub) and in August 1944 was moved to the Sandycroft Social Club, whichwas later to be destroyed by fire. In 1954, it was decided that a permanent Catholic Church was now needed in Churchdown.

An existing farm building was chosen in Cheltenham Road East (opposite Pirton Lane) this was converted into a church and when it was opened, it was dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The farmhouse became The Presbytery. Canon Mathew Roche administered the newly formed parish until the appointment of the first permanent priest Father Edward Moriarty in 1957, Father John Lee succeeded him in 1968, and we welcomed Father Donal Daly in July 1984.

Father Donal served the parish until his retirement. His shoes were then filled by our current Parish Priest Father Kevin Hennessey in September 2005. During the 30 years since the farm building was converted to a church, the building deteriorated badly and became too costly to maintain. In 1990 it was decided to demolish the old church and build a new one on the same site.

Services during the interim period where held at The Horizons Centre until our present Church was built in 1992. This is the distinguishable red brick building opposite the Pirton Lane.

A few photos of the old church

We would love to build our archive of images from the old parish Church. Please use the form below to send us these.