HISTORY OF THE PARISHES OF OUR LADY'S MARNHULL AND ST BENEDICT'S GILLINGHAM, DORSET
This page will evolve gradually. We welcome contributions and if you wish to send photographs for inclusion (on this or the History Gallery page) please email them (and details about them) to . If you have photographs we can scan and return them to you but please make sure you have your name, address and telephone number on the back of EACH photo or document.
PARISH VISIT TO THE DIOCESAN ARCHIVES IN EXETER
Several parishioners visited the Diocesan Archives at Exeter on 7th November and enjoyed reading about the early history of our parish as well as donating some recently discovered photographs of our church. It is hoped to pay another visit before the archives are moved to Plymouth.
STEADFAST IN FAITH
Heather Johnson has done a lot of work updating Mary Bradbury's book on the history of the Catholic faith in Marnhull and Gillingham after the Reformation. In September Heather brought out the updated version of Steadfast in Faith and the publication coincided with the inclusion of Our Lady's Church in the Dorset Architectural Heritage Week Open Days annual event, so a number of visitors who would not normally have found their way down Old Mill Lane were able to see our little church and become familiar with its cultural history. The book is available from the repository at Our Lady's for £3.00.
Dating from 1832 Our Lady’s Church is the oldest free-standing Catholic church in Dorset. Built on a site donated by the Catholic supporting Hussey family, it is packed with period features.
Mary Bradbury published an excellent little book in 1997 titled: Steadfast in Faith which gives a short history of the Catholic church in Marnhull and Gillingham in Post Reformation Times. This book can be obtained from the repositories in Marnhull and Gillingham. It gives a fascinating insight to the development of the church, school and presbyteries here, and the many local families that have helped in our history. Many names are familiar in the parish today, as well as names familiar in the churchyard.
There is further information on the Taking Stock website.
THE MARNHULL ORPHREY - V & A COLLECTION - A 12TH CENTURY ORPHREY
From the V&A site: Mrs Grace Christie found the orphrey mounted on a 19th century chasuble and still in use in Marnhull, Dorset in 1935.
At that stage she was working on a major publication on ecclesiastical embroidery. She recommended to Father William Moylan of Marnhull that he lend the orphrey to the Museum and that it be photographed. By 15 July, the Vicar General had given permission for the loan and photography and the possibility of the orphrey being available for purchase at some later date had been mooted; by 29 August a price was to be discussed; by 13 December permission had been granted for Mrs Christie to publish the embroidery in her forthcoming book.
The Presbytery accepted that a price in line with that given for John of Thanet embroidery (T.337-1921) bought a decade earlier would be appropriate, and by 26 February 1936 was asking for £600-£700. On 18 June 1936 the NACF suggested an initial offer of £500 for the orphrey although they might be able to go up to £600. They wondered whether an external opinion beyond that of Mrs Christie should be sought on the condition of the object and suggested Sir William Burrell as an appropriate reviewer. Father Moylan accepted the £500 (24 June 1936). The money was to be invested for the Marnhull Mission.
HINTON ST MARY MOSAIC
Nearby lies Hinton St Mary where a remarkable Roman mosaic, possibly fourth century AD was discovered in 1963. It is often regarded as the most important and interesting mosaic pavement found so far in Roman Britain and is probably one of the oldest surviving depictions of Christ. It was purchased by the British Museum in 1965.*
It was discovered by John White, the local blacksmith, in the field behind his forge. Nancy, his sister, was a much loved parishioner and teacher at our little primary school.
More can be found about the mosaic on Wikipedia here.
An interesting insight into Catholic Marnhull in 1936: The Tablet
Click image to enlarge
GILLINGHAM (DORSET) LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY - THE ROMAN CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
OUR LADY'S CIRCA 1955