Historic Chapel Restoration

buxtedchapelThe Revd Deacon Andrew Scurr, due to be ordained to the priesthood on St Mathew’s Day, September 21st 2013 has been restoring the domestic chapel of his house. Dcn Scurr is guardian of the Mission of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Lewinna in Buxted, a satellite of the Brighton Oratory and part of the Old Roman Catholic Mission in Sussex, England. Fr Charles Edward Roe who built the house replete with chapel in his retirement, was formerly Rector of St Mary‘s Buxted…

The infamous Father Arthur Wagner was succeeded at St. Paul’s, Brighton by Father J.E. Halliwell in 1902 and to him came Father Charles Edward Roe as Curate over fourteen years, during which time Father Roe became acquainted with a young layman in Brighton, Alfred Hope Patten. In 1917, Father Roe was appointed Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Buxted, where he took a great interest in the unique Lady Chapel. When in 1919 Alfred Hope Patten, then a Priest of five years standing, came to assist him at Buxted for a year, Father Roe told Father Patten that in the Lady Chapel at St Mary’s a Screen was placed where it was in order to make that part of the Chapel beyond to the east window correspond with the dimensions of the Holy House of Our Lady at Walsingham, destroyed in the reign of Henry VIII. This aroused Father Patten’s interest in the once-­famous Shrine at Walsingham. Then came a remarkable sequence of events. Father Roe’s brother, Canon Gordon Roe, had recently been appointed Rural Dean of Walsingham, and wrote to his brother regarding the appointment to the vacant Living of Walsing­ham asking if he could suggest a suitable priest. Father Roe at once suggested Father Patten, and he was accepted and appointed, with the result that, through the Providence of God, he restored Our Lady to Walsingham once more. There is not the space here to record all that this resolute and devoted priest accomplished in setting up the image of the Mother and Child, so familiar to us now, in rebuilding the Holy House within a fine Pilgrimage church, etc., but the influence of Buxted St. Mary’s upon all this is clear for all to see and, when Father Roe died, a memorial brass was set in the floor of the Shrine Church at Walsingham, just in front of the Master’s Stall. This has an engraving of Father Roe in Mass vestments, and bears the inscription: ‘Of your charity, pray for the soul of CHARLES EDWARD ROE, M.A., Member of S.S.C. and S.K.C.M., Priest Associate of the Holy House, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, Buxted 1917-1935. Died 4th August 1940. Jesu mercy. Mary help.’’

The coincidences however do not stop back in the past but continue now in the present as the house is but a stones-throw away from St Mary’s Buxted and a contemporary honorary curate of St Paul’s Brighton is a neighbour! How wonderful that through Dcn Scurr’s efforts this domestic chapel will once again be a focal point of worship and the offering of the holy Mass in union with the prayers and patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham! When the restoration is complete, HE Mgr Jerome Lloyd OSJV, Provost of the Brighton Oratory will dedicate and bless the chapel.

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