Our main church in Kelvedon begun its life as a boarding school for boys in 1870.
Few years later, Mr Richard E. Rann from Messing purchased what was known as Wiseman’s old school and conveyed the property on trust to Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, for Catholic purposes
According to a report in The Tablet “a small colony under Fr. Augustine Blackall arrived from Barnet in August 1875 and by the feast of St. Michael (29th September) the new school had so far taken root that a large chapel had been fitted up and opened.
” The article continues with a brief description of the building and the event: “The chapel contains three altars, two in a separate side chapel.
The choir for the boys is ample and there is a small organ.
The Missa Cantata at 10.30 sung by Father W. Barnes of Witham was well attended by Catholics and at the Evening Service the building was crowded by 200 people, while another crowd stood outside.”
Throughout the years, this humble building was used by Lord Petre for his daughter’s wedding, was the home of the St. Joseph’s Society for Foreign Missions (the Mill Hill Fathers), became St Mary’s Orphanage for the Archdiocese of Westminster under the care of Sisters of Mercy who came from Commercial Road.
After the fire in 1886, which caused great damage to the building, it became home to the Franciscan sisters and even counted among its priest Rev. R. D. Byles, who later went down with the “Titanic” on his way to America.
In October 1891, on the Feast of St Rapahael the Archangel, the new Catholic church was consecrated and opened. The last religious group to inhabit the building were the Dominican sisters.
For a full history of St Mary Immaculate and The Holy Archangels please click here.