Kirtling: Roman Catholicism

Page 77

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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The squire of Kirtling, W. H. J. North (succeeded as Lord North 1884), and his wife Frederica converted to Roman Catholicism in 1867 (fn. 1) and built a temporary church of corrugated iron in the grounds of the Tower in 1871. (fn. 2) It was replaced by the church of OUR LADY IMMACULATE AND ST. PHILIP NERI facing the Saxon Street road, opened in 1877. Designed by C. A. Buckler and built in a Romanesque style of flint with limestone dressings, it has a nave aligned north-south with a western porch, eastern aisle and vestry, and a bell turret on the south gable, and to the north an apsidal chancel. The heraldic glass and other fittings were brought from the Norths' house at Wroxton Abbey (Oxon.). (fn. 3) A district was assigned to the church in 1872, (fn. 4) and North built a presbytery south of the church by 1878. (fn. 5) The priests at first held two Sunday services and mass on weekdays (fn. 6) for a congregation which by 1905 included several of North's servants, tenants, and almspeople. (fn. 7) After the retirement of a long-serving priest in 1937 the church was served from Newmarket and a single Sunday mass was held each week, (fn. 8) but from the 1960s there was again a resident priest. (fn. 9)


  • 1. The Times, 9 Apr. 1932, p. 14; not 1879 as in Complete Peerage, ix. 661.
  • 2. Camb. Chron. 12 Aug. 1871, p. 4; Kirtling Catholic Ch. [undated leaflet]: photocopy in Cambs. Colln.
  • 3. Kirtling Catholic Ch.; B. W. Kelly, Hist. Notes on Eng. Catholic Missions, 238; Pevsner, Cambs. 420; V.C.H. Oxon. ix. 172.
  • 4. Catholic Dir. (1931), 265.
  • 5. Camb. Chron. 6 Apr. 1878, p. 5.
  • 6. Catholic Dir. (1900), 219; (1931), 265; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1875-1937); C.R.O., R 87/26 (uncat.), letter bk., ff. 205, 231, 442, 456, 463, 472.
  • 7. C.R.O., P 101/3/9.
  • 8. Catholic Dir. (1938), 295, and later edns.; Kirtling Catholic Ch.; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1922-37).
  • 9. Catholic Dir. (1969), 330, and later edns.