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Our History

Until 1912, the few Catholics of Bishops Waltham were served by mission priests.  From about 1906 till 1912, Mass was said in the Mafeking Hero Inn and, at this time, a priest visited once a month to say Mass and hear confessions.  It was a Godsend for local Catholics and the Eastleigh Missionary District, when the White Fathers arrived in 1912.  The White Fathers, a Society of African Missionaries, moved into The Priory, a large house at the top of Victoria Road.  They established a seminary there and made their chapel available for public masses.  The number of Catholics increased and, in 1931, Bishop’s Waltham became a separate parish with the Priory chapel serving as the parish church.  The Priory was closed in 1967 and, until 1977, Sunday Mass was said first in the Priory recreation building, which at one time had been a milking parlour on the home farm, and later in the village drill hall.  The Priory and its extensive grounds were sold in 1967. But a small part of the property, adjacent to Martins Street, was left to the local Catholic community as a site for a parish church.

It was given on the proviso that the White Fathers Cemetery would be maintained in perpetuity. A church, dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Apostles was built on the land and opened for service in 1977. The church soon proved too small to contain the growing attendance at Sunday Mass and the present, larger church was commissioned.  It was constructed in 1997 and consecrated at Pentecost in 1998.  It is adjacent to the old church, which is now a pastoral centre that can be used for social events, meetings, or as an integral part of the new church to accommodate larger congregations. Old Seminarians still come each year to visit the Church on the Feast of Pentecost.