Saint Michael's Church

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark




A request…..


Do you have anything to add to the history of our parish? We would particularly like to borrow past images from 1938 to date so that we may scan them for inclusion. Appropriate words of acknowledgement will be attributed to all submissions published. Thank you.


A brief history of St. Michael’s


Announcement of new parish from the Croydon Advertiser 1963

Newspaper cutting from the Croydon Advertiser 1963

In 1938 the parish priest at St. Bartholomew's, Father Cyril Walmsley (1938-44), bought a triangular plot of land bordering Chestnut Grove, Sherwood Park Road and Fern Avenue, with its apex at the roundabout in Pollards Hill, and had a dance hall built to develop as a Mass centre. Its fine sprung dance floor made it a popular venue, and the hire charges did much to offset the cost of the purchase of the land.

The first Mass was celebrated there on 12th March 1939. By the mid-1950s there were two Sunday Masses at 8.30am and 10.30am, and the parish priest and curate at St. Bartholomew's alternated to say these Masses each week. This necessitated a visiting priest arriving at St. Bartholomew's each Sunday to say the two mid-morning Masses there - most notable of these over the years were Father (later Monsignor) Richard Kenefeck (who was headmaster of Cardinal Vaughan Grammar School, Kensington) and Father Roger Nesbitt (chemistry and RE master at The John Fisher School, Purley, and founder of the Faith Movement).

What became known within parish and local Catholic circles as 'The Hall' became St. Michael's, a semi-independent parish, in 1964.

The first resident of the new presbytery, built at St. Michael's with the generosity of the parishioners of St. Bartholomew's, was Father Kenneth Palmer who was appointed as 'Priest-in-Charge', with the responsibility for the administration of the parish being transferred from St. Bartholomew’s to Father Terence Donovan (later Canon Donovan) d.1983, Parish Priest at Ss. Peter & Paul, Mitcham.

Father William (Barny) Gallaher succeeded Father Palmer in 1982, and soon after his appointment was inducted as the first Parish Priest of St. Michael's. It was then that St. Michael's became a truly independent Parish.


Pictures relating to the building of the presbytery

New presbytery 19634-1
The Morris Minor pictured belonged to Father Porter,
who would later become Parish Priest at St. Michael's

New presbytery 19634-2
The view along Fern Avenue during the building works

New presbytery 19634-3
The prominent builder's hoarding on the plot 9 Fern Avenue was being built on

New presbystery 19634-4
Taken just prior to building taking place


Parish Clergy at St. Michael’s 1939-1964
(served by St. Bartholomew’s Norbury)


Parish Priests:

                Father Cyril Walmsley 1939 - 1944
                Father Charles Byrne MA 1944 - 1945
                Father Basil Miller 1945 - 1963
                Father James Carolin MA 1963 - 1964


Curates:

                Father Patrick Davis 1939 - 1940
                Father John Kelly 1940 - 1942
                Father George Helsdon 1942 - 1946
                Father Patrick O' Donovan 1946 - 1948
                Father James Lafferty 1948 -1951
                Father Mark Diamond 1951 - 1954
                Father John McCarthy 1954 - 1956
                Father Walter Gasche 1956 - 1961
                Father Christopher Sexton 1961 - 1962
                Father Anthony Porter 1962 - 1964


Parish Clergy at St. Michael’s from 1964 to date


The first resident priest at St. Michael’s:

                Father Kenneth Palmer (Priest-in-Charge) 1964 - 1982


Since St. Michael’s became a fully independent parish, the following Parish Priests have faithfully served the people of this area:


                Father William Gallagher 1982 - 1986
                Father Eric Wright 1986 - 1993
                Father Anthony Porter 1993 - ?
                Father Michael Horkin ? - ?
                Father John Vallomprayil SDS ? - 2010
                Father Jan Bak SDS 2010 - 2011
                Father Huebert Miranda 2011 - 2019
                Father Innocent Ezeonyeasi  BPhil, BTh, MA, PhD,  2019 -

 

Acknowledgements


A History of the Archdiocese of Southwark by Father Michael Clifton

            The Saint Austin Press 2000 ISBN 1 9011157 12 1
St. Bartholomew’s Church
            Parish Archives

St. Bartholomew’s Church 1908-2008 - A short History of the Parish
            St. Bartholomew's 2008 ISBN 978 1 873520 72 7
St. Bartholomew’s Church
            Parish Website 2019