Wednesday, 25 February 2015

London uburban Catholic Churches 4 - St. Bede's, Clapham Park

Church Entrance

This delightful church will be well-known to many traditional Catholics from the London area, as it was one of the first in the suburbs to cater for those with devotion to the Usus Antiquior Liturgy, and has incorporated regular Traditional Latin Sunday Masses into its life for some considerable time, thanks particularly to the Parish Priest, Fr. Christopher Basden, and the formidable Fr. Andrew Southwell, former Monk and devotee of the Old Rite, as well as various clergy who have served in the parish as visitors over recent years.

Fr. Basden

Fr. Southwell
The church itself is one of some twenty-one, so called 'Ellis boxes', endowed by the benefactress and convert to Catholicism, Miss Frances Ellis (1846-1930) in the early 20th. Century, who stipulated that the churches she funded would be small, simple and Romanesque in style, culminating in very distinctive buildings in various locations across the South-East of England. The full list of these is shown below.

Miss Frances Ellis

  • St. Benet’s, Abbey Wood
  • St. Gertrude’s, South Bermondsey
  • Our Lady of the Rosary, Brixton
  • St. Helen’s, Robsart Street, Brixton
    (since merged with Corpus Christi, Brixton)
  • Holy Cross, Carshalton
  • Holy Cross, Catford
  • Our Lady of Grace, Charlton
  • St. Vincent de Paul, Clapham Common
  • St. Bede’s, Clapham Park
    (Miss Ellis lived next door in the house that is now the presbytery)
  • St. Gregory’s, Earlsfield
    (since replaced)
  • St. William of York, Forest Hill
  • Ss. Philip and James, Herne Hill
  • St. Wilfred’s, Kennington Park
  • St. Bartholomew’s, Streatham/Norbury
  • St. Matthews, West Norwood
  • St. Thomas the Apostle, Nunhead
  • St. James the Great, Peckham Rye
  • St. Francis de Sales & St.Gertrude, Stockwell
  • Ss. Simon & Jude, Streatham Hill
  • Our Lady of the Assumption, Links Road, Tooting
    (since replaced)
  • St. Boniface, Tooting
  • St. Elpheges, Wallington
    (since replaced, the original church now acting as a parish centre adjacent to the new building).

Miss Ellis, in fact, lived in the house adjacent to St. Bede's, and worshipped there regularly.
Church Interior

St. Bede's has a simple exterior, and a light, airy interior with several strikingly beautiful details, emphasised by being small in number and creating high spots in an otherwise plain setting. Sadly, the original Sanctuary was lost due to reordering, but this is more than compensated for by fine Liturgy.

Usus Antiquior Mass at St. Bede's
As well as the Traditional Latin Mass, St. Bedes also has thriving Latin Ameican and African-Caribbean communities, and from time-to-time hosts Masses in the Ethiopian/Eritrean Gheez Rite.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...