Christ the King
Rev Mark Moran
4 Lords Croft
The Catholic parish of Christ the King was established in 1933. Prior to that time priests visited the area from St Osmond, Salisbury to say Mass. At one time there was a monthly Mass in the British Legion Hall, and at other times the people made their way to the army camps at Larkhill and Bulford. During the same period Mass was offered occasionally at Ludgershall for the few scattered Catholics of that area. It soon became obvious to the diocesan authorities that an area which covered two hundred square miles of the plain required the services of a resident priest to serve the expanding population.
In 1933 this became possible through the efforts of Mr J Cockle, and premises were purchased in what was then called London Road, in the form of a piano shop with a bungalow attached. These premises were purchased for £857. After the necessary adaptations had been made these buildings became the parish church and the presbytery. Fr (later Canon) Joseph Dolan was appointed the first parish priest and the first Mass was offered in the church on 17 December 1933 by Bishop Lee. In 1934 a parish hall was added – originally an army hut – at the rear of the church. This hall occupied almost all of the ground that the parish then owned. For many years it served as a place for social gatherings and as a source of revenue for the parish.
In November 1944 a strip of ground was purchased from the ‘Popular Cafe´’ in Amesbury with the intention of building a new church. This ground was added to in 1945 by the acquisition of an area of adjoining woodland, but the hopes of a new building receded owing to the restrictions of the postwar years. To add to these difficulties the parish hall was destroyed in a fire. However, with the determined help of parishioners this building was quickly restored – a task that seemed impossible at the time.
During the postwar years, with the rapid growth of the population, a small church was opened at Ludgershall, and a new church built at Durrington. A primary school was added in 1963. About this time it was decided that the passing years were taking their toll on the existing Amesbury church. After a detailed inspection of the fabric the parish had to balance the costs of repair against the building of a new church. Eventually it was decided to convert the large club complex at the rear into a new church and social facility. This work was completed in 1985 and the new church was consecrated by Bishop Alexander on 16 November that year.
Extract from 'The Diocese of Clifton 1850 – 2000' by Rev Dr J A Harding the Diocesan Archivist, available from the 'Books' page of this site.
Saturday 6.00 pm
Holy Days Mass:
10.30 am (in the school, term time)
Monday to Wednesday 9.15 am, Friday 6.00 pm
Saturday 5.15 pm to 5.45 pm and anytime upon request
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