A booklet to celebrate the centenary of St Michael’s was produced in 2006. This records the growth and development of the parish from 1906 to 2006.
This booklet can be viewed in two parts using Adobe Acrobat reader software which is freely available on the Internet (www.adobe.com).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CATHOLIC ASHFORD
1293 The first mention of a chapel in Exeforde dedicated to St Michael. It is thought that this chapel was established in Saxon times. Tradition has it that the Knights on their way to Runnymede to the signing of the Magna Carta stopped to pray at the Shrine of St. Michael.
c.1540 During the Middle ages up to the Dissolution of the Monasteries (c.1540) the chapel was served by the parish of Staines.
1796 June. The chapel was pulled down and rebuilt
1858 The present St. Matthew’s Church was built 15 yards to the North West of the old chapel
1899 March. Cardinal Vaughan asked the Order of the Good Shepherd to open a house for inebriate Catholic women in the property known as “Ecclesfield”, (St Michaels’ school now stands on part of this site). The convent chapel was used for Mass for the few Ashford Catholics, offered by a priest from Beaumont College (Old Windsor)
1899 October. Cardinal Vaughan appoints Fr BROWN as Chaplain
1904 October. Father Brown replaced by Fr. DANIEL
1906 Fr. MARTIN CAVE appointed with the brief to build a church for the ever growing congregation
1906 September. Fr. Cave obtains land in Feltham Road at a cost of £200
October. Tender of £257 accepted for the erection of the church.
December. The new church opened by the Archbishop of Westminster, dedicated to St. Michael
1917 Fr Cave left Ashford. Fr. ARTHUR MORGAN appointed
1924 Fr. EDWIN OWEN appointed Parish Priest.
1925 March. Fr. Owen announces that the debt on the church in Feltham Road has been paid off and, with the consent of the Cardinal, he had contracted a new debt of £2,000 with which he had purchased a house and a site for a new church in Fordbridge Road.
1927 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s drawings of the new church of St. Michael are exhibited at the Royal Academy. Cardinal Bourne lays the foundation stone
1928 July. The new church (incomplete) is opened for services. It consists of the chancel, three bays of the nave and sacristies
1938 The nave extended but work halted due to Second World War
1944 Death of Fr. Owen. Fr. PATRICK O’CALLAGHAN appointed as Parish Priest.
1958 Fr. O’Callaghan applies to the Cardinal to repair the leaking roof. The Cardinal replies to go ahead and finish the church
1960 The Cardinal presides at High Mass to mark its completion.
1968 Old church (had been used as the church hall) in Feltham Road was sold and subsequently demolished. New hall and presbytery built on Fordbridge Road/Clarendon Road site.
1970 February. Death of Fr. O’Callaghan. Fr. ANTHONY COOKE appointed Parish Priest
1975 Fr. Cooke transfers to Paddington. Fr. RONALD AYLWARD appointed Parish Priest
2000 Fr. Ronald Aylward retires after serving the parish for 25 years. Fr. JAMES BRAND is appointed Parish Priest.
2001 Fr. James Brand leaves for The Pontifical Beda College in Rome. Fr. TIMOTHY DEAN is appointed Parish Priest.
2002- Fr. Timothy Dean transfers to Westminster and Mgr. JAMES OVERTON is appointed Parish Priest.
2016- The church, boundary wall and entrance screen were listed as a Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Grade II on 23rd March 2016.
2019 – Mgr. James Overton retires after serving the parish for 17 years. Fr. SIDON SAGAR FDP is appointed Parish Priest and Fr CARLO MAZZOTTA FDP is appointed Assistant Priest