A History of St. Michael's Catholic Church

From Early Times until 1997

Compiled and Written by Monica McAllister


"It was nearly ten years ago that Father Healy, who was at that time our Parish Priest, asked for a volunteer to research and write up the history of St. Michael's Parish. The project sounded attractive and, having recently retired, I offered to take on the task. It would, I thought, probably take a year or maybe eighteen months to do the job properly. Little did I realise just how much would be involved, how much help would be needed from members of the parish and how many diversions I was to meet en route.

At long last the work is completed and I am very much aware that it is far from perfect. Parts of our church's history have been described in far greater detail than others. This is mainly because there are more detailed records for particular periods and it is also because long standing parishioners have been able to give very full accounts of certain times or incidents. I have tried to be as accurate aspossible. This has not always been easy, as sometimes parishioners' memories of certain events have varied considerably from memories of other parishioners and from written records in the archives!

Researching the history of our parish has brought alive to me people, whom I have never met, but to whom we all owe a great debt, not only because they ensured that our church was built but also because they laid the foundations of the parish community of which we are now a part. One such person I feel I got to know well was Father Edward Maxwell. His personality and his love and devotion came across so clearly through the many letters which he wrote. As I read them again and again I felt that I knew him and that he had become a good friend. I have also been reminded of how much work has been done by those first parishioners, who are still with us but perhaps now are not able to take such an active part in parish affairs. We are greatly indebted to them.

Writing the Parish History has never been a chore and, though it has been harder than I had anticipated, I have enjoyed doing it. A history of a parish, such as ours is, can never be completed forit is a parish that is ever developing and changing. As time goes on I am sure that other people will add further chapters but I hope that those who read these pages will enjoy them and learn a little more about our Catholic Church in Ashtead."

April 1997


Fr Maxwell's Memorial