90 for 90 Project
To commemorate, in 2016, 90 years since the opening of the first St Mary's church, it was decided to find 90 photos to cover the 90 years, which are shown here. An additional photo from the archives will be added annually. This illustrates our parish story since 1926, with one specially chosen image for each year. We welcome any photos for the archives. Please send any contributions (photos and/or comments) to email@example.com thanks
Opening of the First Church
Number 1 - an account of the opening of the first church in Dec 1926 from the Central Somerset Gazette. A full typed account of the opening is printed at the side bar.
Number 2 This photo is from the college magazine (1913), taken at a summer garden party at Stonyhurst, where the Revd Francis Burdett SJ (3rd from the right, talking with a student, an Austrian archduke) was teaching Philosophy, three years before his ordination. Fr Burdett was parish priest 1926 - 1928.
1927 Book on Glastonbury
Number 3 The title page of a book of essays, by the young Christopher Hollis ( father of Crispian, later a priest of Clifton diocese, and bishop of Portsmouth), published in 1927, when he was teaching History at Stonyhurst, and dedicated to 'Fr Francis Burdett', whom he had presumably got to know at Oxford (where he was received into the Church) in the early 1920s.
Old Church Interior
Number 4 The interior of the first, 'post-Dissolution', St Mary's church in Glastonbury- a converted stable- which served the newly established parish from 1926 to 1938, when it was demolished, to make way for the present shrine-church. See 'number 1' for a description of its fittings and details of the opening of the church. The statute was commissioned by Fr Burdett and carved in the Tyrol; the tabernacle still survives, as the one link with this temporary church.
Number 5 Fr Patrick O'Beirne parish priest 1928-1938.
Number 6 This photograph of the 1931 pilgrimage, passing across 'Fairfield' on the lower slopes of The Tor, first appeared in 'The Universe' and was reproduced in the same Catholic weekly in recent years.
Behind the First Church
Number 7 Behind the first church and convent school. Outdoors Benediction to the rear of the converted stable, presumably during a pilgrimage (monks from Downside can be seen centre left, and diocesan priests in the foreground), taken seemingly in the early 1930s.
Order of Service 1931
Number 8 Weekly service schedule during the incumbency of Fr O'Beirne (parish priest, 1928-38). In 1929, under his leadership, Glastonbury parishioners erected the wooden chapel at Somerton - which was in the parish (till the mid 1930s); this was replaced by the present St Dunstan's church (built on the same site) in 1965.
Number 9 A diocesan pilgrimage, from The Tor to the convent grounds for Benediction, became an annual event during in 1930s. Benedictine monks and two Franciscan friars are leading this procession of diocesan clergy down the High Street.
An Early Photo of Church and Convent
Number 10 Photograph of two Sisters of Charity outside the convent of St Louis- with a glimpse of the 'temporary' church- taken during the period 1926-38.
Early 1930's Pilgrimage
Number 11 Pilgrims progressing down the High Street in the 1930s, probably 1932. Diocesan pilgrimages did not take place during the war years, and were only recommenced in 1950.
A Letter from 1935
Number 12 The cover of a pastoral letter dated 1933, from the Bishop of Clifton (Rt Revd, William Lee) outlining his proposal, and appealing for donations, to build 'a pilgrimage church',to mark the 400th anniversary of the Glastonbury martyrdoms of 1539.
Number 13 Fr (later Canon) Michael Fitzpatrick was our young, parish priest (1938-44) who was told by Bishop Lee: "I have some work for you. I want you to go to Glastonbury and build a Church.", a mission he successfully accomplished, the present St Mary's being consecrated in July 1941, with sufficient money having been raised through his appeals around the diocese and well beyond, to leave the parish without a debt, despite the fact it was wartime, and the building cost £40,000 - a miracle, for which Fr Fitz gave the credit to St Joseph, under whose patronage he had placed the project.
First Statue of Our Lady
Number 14 A photo of the first statue of Our Lady. When a new statue was carved in 1955 - this statue was placed in the convent chapel. When the convent closed in 1984 - it was taken to the Richmond convent.
1939 Elliott Family
Number 15 Elliott family. The poster advertises the stone laying of the present church, by Bishop Lee, with sermon and Benediction, in July 1939 (just over a month before the outbreak of the 2nd World War- in which Mr Elliott lost his life, in a Japanese POW camp).
1939 Laying of Foundation Stone
Number 16 laying of foundation stone of present church. Bishop Lee (kneeling) with the abbot of Prinknash (Dom Wilfred Upston) to the right, at the blessing ceremony within the wooden frame of the new 'pilgrimage' church ("the apple of his eye", it was said). Work began on 6 March 1939, and the foundation stone ceremony took place that July.
1940 Account of Opening of Present Church
Number 17 From the Central Somerset Gazette, an article reporting the Mass for the 'opening' and 'blessing' of the new church, on 2 July 1940. It was formally 'consecrated' a year later. A typed account is at the side bar
1941 Dom Horne
Number 18 photo showing Dom Ethelbert Horne OSB - a monk of Downside, and a noted archaeologist who had supervised excavations within the abbey ruins, and who in recognition was created titular abbot of Glastonbury (by the English Benedictine Confederation) as well President of the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society; seen here in old age, c.1941, on one of his visits to the town.
1942 St Mary's Yearbook
Number 19 A view of the interior as it was from 1940. Sadly the High Altar was removed following the Second Vatican Council, when the present free-standing one took its place, in the centre of the sanctuary (c.1970), allowing 'versus populo' celebration of The Mass. Also shows the services during the war years.
Stained Glass Window
Number 20 The sanctuary stained glass donated by Mrs Mostyn in memory of her husband Charles. She also gave many generous money donations to the church. She lived in Pennard House, East Pennard and also had the village hall at West Pennard built. Later she moved to Glastonbury and lived in "Tor Down" Ashwell Lane. She was a familiar figure around Glastonbury and West Pennard. Her funeral in St Mary's was conducted by her brother-in-law, Fr Mostyn. Her obituary stated that "Glastonbury is the poorer for her passing". She is buried in West Pennard cemetery. The window was designed and built by Hardman of Birmingham. In the centre is the Crucifixion with Mary Magdalene at the feet of Jesus. On the left is Our Lady, Mary and on the right is St John, a disciple of Jesus. Below Our Lady is St Dunstan and the coat of arms of the Clifton Diocese. Below St John is Richard Whiting and the coat of arms of the Mostyn family. The scene is the signing of the First Privilege (grant) in 704 by Ine, King of Wessex, in the presence of St Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury and first Bishop of Sherborne.
1945 Wedding Photo
Number 21 1945 wedding of Doug Pattison and Winnie Wheeler - one of a number of weddings that followed the end of the Second World war. Fr (later Canon) William Ryan was parish priest 1944-1948 is shown here in centre of photo. With the increasing number of Catholics in the parish, he was assisted by two curates(!) also shown in this photo Fr McGrath and Fr White, and began to raise funds for the building of a daughter church, on a site acquired in Street.
Number 22 This plaque, now on the sanctuary wall, close to the hanging tabernacle-light, was originally in the (south) side-chapel, where a light was presented at 'a diocesan pilgrimage on February 2nd, 1949...to burn before the [old] statue of Our Lady', which at that time stood there. See number 18 for a photo of Dom Ethelbert Horne.
Church Before Alterations
Number 23 Interior of the church as it appeared between 1941 and 1955
1948 Abbey Guide
Number 24 Three booklets published by the Catholic Truth Society which have raised Glastonbury’s profile as a place of renewed Catholic pilgrimage. The earliest: ‘Guide to Glastonbury Abbey’ by Abbot Horne (see also nos 18 & 22) was published in 1948. ‘The Story of Glastonbury’ by Dom Aelred Watkin (his successor as titular Abbot of Glastonbury) appeared in 1960; and in 2013, ‘Glastonbury: a Pilgrim’s Companion’ by David Baldwin (a parishioner) was added to his numerous titles in the CTS ‘Christian Shrines series.’
1950 Pilgrimage Programme
Number 25 The first in the run of subsequently annual Diocesan Pilgrimage, souvenir-programmes.
1952 First Communion Procession
Number 26 A First Communion procession, 1952, from the Convent school, led by Tony Wheeler. Read his memories of parish life.
Number 27 1952 wedding of George and Irene Hann with Fr Joseph Sheehan (parish priest 1948 - 1952) in St Mary's church.
1952 Fungus Report
Number 28 Appeal letter about treating fungus in the church.
1952 Pilgrimage Procession
Number 29 Pilgrimage procession, after having assembled on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor, they are shown here coming down Bove Town, then down the High Street and into the Convent field for Mass.
Number 30 pilgrimage - photo taken 1953 - includes Damien and Mostyn Norton, Bernard and Kevin Squire and Brian Elliott. Does anyone recognize any more of these young servers please?
1953 Proposed New Shrine
Number 31 From 1953 - the proposed Shrine of Our Lady of Glastonbury which was to be built behind the present church. Read the letter from the Knights of St Columba, proposing the new Shrine to the Bishop.
Number 32 pilgrimage photo taken on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor
1954 Carving of New Statue
Number 33 carving of the new statue
1954 May Crowning
Number 34 1954 May crowning in church - a temporary altar set up in front of the (curtained) Sacred Heart chapel. Irene Donnelly crowned the statue, and Veronica Weeks (now Brunt) was cushion-bearer- chosen (as Veronica recollects) 'by names being picked out of a hat by Sr Aimee', headmistress of the convent school.
1955 Blessing of New Statue
Number 35 1955 Blessing of the new statue of St Mary, 'Our Lady of Glastonbury' by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Gerald O'Hara during the pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage procession ended in the convent grounds where an altar was erected.
1956 New Statue
Number 36 - the current statue of St Mary in its original location in the present church. When this new statue was in the church, the first statue of St Mary was in the convent chapel. When the convent closed in 1984 the statue was taken to the Sister's mother house in Richmond, Surrey.
1960s Knights Carrying Cross
Number 37 Knights of St Columba carrying one of the wooden crosses in the annual pilgrimage. This photo was taken along Magdalene Street opposite the church.
1960s Paxlea in Street
Number 38 'Pax Lea', Orchard Road, was the house (shown here) where as the convent annals record, Sr Mary Veronica and Sr Rita began Catechism Classes on Sunday afternoons, in October 1960, helped by Miss Myra Gifford (one of Fr Chauvat's three converts, in 1919/20)- "a true apostle". These seemingly continued for some years- though it would perhaps be misleading to give the impression that they continued beyond the 1960s...
1961 Eminent Ecclesiastics
Number 39 line up of eminent ecclesiastics with Archbishop Heenan - visiting from Liverpool (shortly before he was appointed to Westminster, and created a cardinal). We think it is Canon Hackett (PP of Wells) second from the right, between Bishop Rudderham and Fr O'Brien (PP of Glastonbury) - photo taken c1962 as shows the first school hall in the background.
1962 Corpus Christi Procession
Number 40 - monstrance carried by Fr Sean Mc Namara (PP 1962-7); the canopy bearers were Doug Pattison (front left) and George Hann (front right) with Tony Wheeler (back left) and Mr Thompson (back right). Bill English and Jack Keers , with Sister (?) following up the procession of school-girls scattering rose petals.
1963 Parish Bazaar
Number 41 Christmas bazaar -mid 1960s? with Mr Thompson and audience, looking at a treasure island stall. The church Christmas bazaar was an annual fund raising event held in the convent school hall. Probably a photo in the local newspaper.
1964 Confirmation Photo
Number 42 Seemingly a joint Confirmation with Wells as Fr Lee (PP of Wells 1962-9)) is shown to the left, with Fr McNamara (PP Glastonbury 1962-7) to the right. Photo taken 1964.
1965 A Letter from Rome
Number 43 A translation of the rescript received by his Lordship the Bishop from the Chapter of Saint Pater's Basilica in Rome. 1965.
1965 Crowning of New Statue
Number 44 Crowning of the new statue of St Mary July 1965 in the Abbey grounds with Fr Sean McNamara (pp1962-67) assisting the Apostolic Delegate (Archbishop Cardinale), at a Pontifical Mass in the abbey grounds- the first time the latter had been offered there since the Dissolution, and the first diocesan pilgrimage to have culminated on that 'holiest of erthe'. The pilgrimage was attended by over 20,000 people. It took place in the grounds of the Abbey Ruins (the first time held there for 400 years). The Pilgrimage procession started in the Convent field and was 2 miles long, taking over an hour to pass through the Abbey gates. During the mass in the Abbey, the Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Igino Cardinale, placed a new diadem on the Statue of St Mary. This diadem had been made from melted down gold jewellery donated by the parishioners, and was carried on a cushion in the procession. Mass was said by the Rt. Rev. Joseph Rudderham, Bishop of Clifton.
1965 Parish Dinner
Number 45 Parishioners enjoy lunch in the convent hall in 1965. Please can viewers identify and name faces here. We already know a few: eg to the right of the central table: from the foreground working backwards: Mary (nee Gifford, who died, tragically young, in 2015), her mother, Joan (still with us, aged 97!); Molly Weeks (now departed); her daughter Veronica (now Brunt); Mrs & Mr Coffey.
Photo 2 includes Jim and Jean Malone, Mrs. Antonello, Noel Malone and wife, Nan Sibley and Ken, Tony Sibley, George Hann, Mr & Mrs Campbell, Mr & Mrs McKay, Mrs Hinde, John Say.
Photo 3 includes Peggy and John Dixon, Mr & Mrs Thompson, Mrs Donelly and Mr Parsons.
1965 Interior View of Church
Number 46 Interior view of church, with new statue and tapestry
Corpus Christie Procession
Number 47 photo taken mid 1960's: Corpus Christi-tide
A Photo of the Sisters of St Louis
Number 48 A photo of the Sisters of St Louis who lived in the convent in Glastonbury. The photo was taken in the rose garden of Somerset House.
Number 49 - 1971 confirmation group with Fr O'Connor and Bishop Mervyn taken in the playground of the convent school.
1972 Convent School Nativity Play
Number 50 nativity play by the pupils of St Louis convent during the 1970's.
1973 Theresa Wheeler
Number 51 Theresa Wheeler receiving Bene Merenti medal in 1973 from the Bishop of Clifton Joseph Rudderham and Fr O'Connor.
1973 Tapestry Booklet
Number 52 A booklet produced by Fr John O'Connor all about the tapestry.
1977 Confirmation Group
Number 53 Confirmation group in 1977.
1979 Cardinal Hume at Pilgrimage
Number 54 Cardinal Basil Hume at 1979 pilgrimage. This is in the field that belonged to St Louis convent school.
1980s Interior View of Church
Number 55 interior view of church
1981 Statue of St Anthony
Number 56. Statue of St Anthony of Padua - presented to St Mary's church in 1965 by the local Italian community. Every year, on St Anthony's feast day in June, a special mass is held in St Mary's with a procession of the statue. Here is an old photo showing the Statue being carried in a pilgrimage procession.
1982 Fr John O'Connor Farewell
Number 57 farewell presentation to Fr O'Connor in 1982. Fr O'Connor was parish priest 1968- 1982.
Lourdes Grotto in Convent Grounds
Number 58 Lourdes grotto in convent grounds. When was this constructed, we wonder? It was presumably demolished after the Convent was sold (1983-4), and the spot where it stood is now beneath Morrison's 'superstore'- 'holy ground'- as is the site of the outdoor pilgrimage-altar.
1983 Fr Tranter
Number 59 Fr Nicholas Tranter's first mass - he was parish priest 1982 - 1984.
Number 60 confirmation with Fr Paul Sankey in 1984. Fr Paul was parish priest 1984 - 1999.
Number 61 1984 pilgrimage procession passing St Mary's church, having processed from the lower slopes of Tor hill and finishing with Mass in the Abbey Ruins - for the first time since 1967.
1985 Richard Whiting Painting
Number 62 painting of Blessed Richard Whiting (last abbot of Glastonbury, martyred 1539) by Tony Wheeler in 1957. It is over 4 feet in height. It was one of a series of 4 or 5 that he proposed – to occupy the niches in the stone reredos, behind the old high altar ( see picture 23)- but this scheme was not adopted. The painting was subsequently hung outside the Convent chapel, and after its closure (in 1984) placed in the church, where it is now displayed in the north ‘transept’.
1986 Maple Tree
Number 63 Sister Francis Teresa planting a Maple tree in the Abbey ruins, opposite the former convent, in memory of the convent and Sisters of St Louis in 1985. The convent closed in 1984 after 59 years. Fr Sankey blessed the tree, past pupils and parents were also present.
1987 Pilgrimage Programme
Number 64 - pilgrimage programme from 1987.
1988 Pilgrimage Programme
Number 65 - pilgrimage programme from 1988.
1989 Pilgrimage Programme
Number 66 - pilgrimage programme from 1989.
1989 Pilgrimage Procession
Number 67 - Pilgrimage with Fr Paul Sankey (PP) and the abbot of Prinknash (Dom Aldhelm Cameron-Brown) preceding Bishop Mervyn; passing the Abbey (former tithe) barn.
1991 Church Jubilee
Number 68 - programme cover for two of the events marking the 'Golden Jubilee' of the church's consecration (1941-1991)
1992 Choir Sponsored Walk
Number 69 The choir in 1992 doing a sponsored walk from St Mary's to Downside Abbey, to raise money for restoration of the church organ.
Number 70 some of St Mary's parishioners on a visit to Lourdes - 1994
1995 Building the Church Hall
Number 71 The building of the church hall.
1998 Tony Wheeler & Bridget Smith
Number 72 Tony Wheeler and Bridget Smith were awarded Bene Merenti medals in 1998, during the annual pilgrimage in the Abbey grounds. This photo was taken in St Mary's church after the pilgrimage.
1999 Service in Abbey
Number 73 programme cover for the Ecumenical midnight service in Glastonbury Abbey 31st December 1999
2000 Healing Team at St Mary's
Number 74 healing team from St Mary's with Fr Kevin. Established by Fr Kevin K-L and Maggy Payne during the Jubilee Year of the Millennium, 'the team' (all shown here) also included Mario D'Ovidio, Nancy Raison, and Geraldine ('Gerry') Forbes, and still continues to exercise a much appreciated ministry, with new members having replaced Fr Kevin (RIP Oct 2014) and Nancy (RIP Mar 2017)
Number 75 2001 - programme of the evening Mass and social to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the present church. This was the main celebration, for this 'jubilee' of its consecration.
2002 Statue of St Therese
Number 76 statue of St Therese of Lisieux, gifted by Geoffrey (see No 89) and Pat Ashe, in 2002, in memory of his first wife, Irene (who was buried, in 1990, from St Mary’s, where she had sung in the choir for many years). She had a special devotion to ‘The Little Flower’ who worked a number of miracles in her and Geoffrey’s 40 years of married life, during which they raised 5 children, including Brendan, a musician, who was an organist here, in the early 1990s.
Number 77 quilt - a project proposed by Fr Kevin, and executed by Sue Oxley and Angelina Costanza, with a team. This records the names of individual parishioners or families, with their chosen verse from Scripture. It hung in the left side-chapel until Easter 2017
2004 Youth 2000 at St Marys
Number 78 Youth 2000 meeting. For some years in the first decade of the new millennium, the parish hosted this weekend gathering, of prayer and praise, for young Catholics, during the autumn half-term. It was co-ordinated by parishioner (and CTS author) David Baldwin.
2005 Restoration of Statue
Number 79 - 2005 restoration of the Statue of Our Lady. The restoration work was carried out by David Orchard - seen in this photo with Fr Kevin.
2006 Nigel Lynch
Number 80. Nigel Lynch had served as MC for a decade, as well as editing the parish's 'home-produced' magazine 'The Shrine' , that he and Fr Paul Sankey had launched in the 1990. The first issue of 'The Shrine' was at the end of 1990 (December?- unfortunately there isn't a copy in the parish archives for this to be checked); No 2 was published in January 1991, at the beginning of the church's 'Golden Jubilee' year.
2007 Joint Service in Abbey
Number 81 - 2007 Joint celebration service in the Abbey Ruins - marking the centenary of the abbey estate passing into the care of a Church of England trust, following its purchase by an Anglican benefactor in 1907. Note Fr Kevin Knox-Lecky (in biretta), flanked by URC ministers ( Eve Ridout and Tim Richards) in the ecumenical procession (led by servers from Our Lady's Shrine and St John's) plus quondam Town Crier, Graham Coles (crucifer, from St John's). The incense had been blessed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who presided and preached.
2008 St John Vianney Statue
Number 82 Statue of St John Vianney brought from Ars (where it was crafted) by parishioner Bill Furness (who also co-ordinated the church window-replacement project during that decade). It replaced the plaster statue that had belonged to Fr J O'Brien, and that was tragically dropped (and smashed) during cleaning.
2009 Relocation of the Tabernacle
Number 83 This shows the tabernacle (our link with the 'stable church' for which it was first acquired) restored to the sanctuary, from its position in the Sacred Heart chapel (right transept), after being located there for four decades, by Fr Kevin in 2009.
2010 View of Church
Number 84 view of church and hall towards Cavendish Lodge, taken from the former convent building, during its conversion into separate 'town houses'. Wearyall Hill can be seen in the background.
2011 Burdett Madonna Statue
Number 85. In 2011 the Burdett Madonna statue was brought back to Glastonbury and is on display in the Abbey museum. The story of the Burdett Madonna can be found on the side bar.
2012 Fr Kevin's Leaving Party
Number 86 Fr Kevin's farewell party in 2012. After 13 very happy years at St Mary's, Fr Kevin was transferred to a parish in Bath. Sadly Fr Kevin died in October 2014. His requiem mass was held in a full St Mary's church. There is a bird bath in the parish garden in memory of Fr Kevin.
2013 St Mary's Choir
Number 87 St Mary’s ‘music ministry’ in Christmas attire, including Ann Parsons (choir director) and organists, Sr Elizabeth Rees and Dr Pat Ashe. Members of the choir also perform locally, on occasions, as ‘St Mary’s Singers’, the majority of whom (according to their programme notes) ‘first came together in the early 1980s...principally to sing motets and plain-chant at Sunday sung Mass.’ Sundays’. See No 69 for an earlier photograph (with organist Brendan Ashe, in the background).
2014 St Mary's Flower Arrangers
Number 88 some of the flower arrangers of St Mary's church.
2015 William Blake Society
Number 89 William Blake society meeting 2015. Distinguished author, and long-time parishioner, Geoffrey Ashe addressing the gathering. Geoffrey, who was born in 1923 and moved to Glastonbury in 1974, has 26 published books to his credit- including ‘Vision of Albion’ (a re-issue of which was being ‘launched’ on this occasion) and most notably his classic ‘King Arthur’s Avalon’ (1957), which was consulted by the designer of the tapestry (No 46) as ‘a guide to the characters’ depicted there, and appeared in a new edition in 2007. In his ‘Avalonian Quest’ (1982, p. 108 ) he recorded that the Rev. L.S.Lewis, Glastonbury’s vicar at that (‘un-ecumenical)’ time, described the ‘stable- church’, opened in 1926 ( No 1 etc.), as the “hideous little chapel of the Italian mission”!
2016 Bishop Declan and Fr James
Number 90 Bishop Declan and Fr James on the occasion of the Millfield school Confirmation, in May of the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016
2017 Easter Garden
Number 91 The Easter sepulchre and ‘garden’– re-located (from the left side-chapel) to the sanctuary, for the first time in 2017. Joe Keers - a ‘pillar’ of the parish community, for decades and who was largely responsible for facilitating this- passed away a few hours later, shortly before the Paschal Vigil (RIP).