St Paul's Church

 

St Paul's Roman Catholic Church, c.1920 (postcard)

St Paul's Roman Catholic Church, c.1920 (postcard)


THE CATHOLIC CHURCH   ".....  in the Maison Dieu Road, facing Pencester Road.  It was built in the years 1867-8 and was the first permanent settlement of the Roman Catholics in Dover, although the Dover Mission had long before existed.  It commenced in 1822, and Mass was said in a house at 45 Snargate Street.  In 1834 Mass was said in a carpenter’s loft in St James’ street, but the floor being weak, it became necessary to seek other quarters, and the old Wesleyan Chapel in Elizabeth Street being then for sale it was purchased for £425;  its restoration cost £400, and £350 was paid for a priest’s house adjoining.  This chapel was first used by the Catholics in May 1835.   In 1860 the priest’s house was sold to the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company for £650.   About that time the estate of the Countess de Front was devoted to Catholic charities, and with a portion of it the new Catholic Church was built and endowed on the Maison Dieu Road.  A site for a Catholic Church had previously been bought in Ashen Tree Lane, but the ground not being suitable, it was sold and a new site, part of Johnson’s nursery gardens in the Maison Dieu Road, was purchased in 1864, for £450.  The building of the church was commenced in 1867, and it was opened by the Bishop of Southwark on the 15 May, 1868.  The church, which is of the Pointed style of the 13th century, is 90-ft. long and 40-ft. wide inside, and is built of Kentish rag and Bath stone dressings, from the designs of Mr Edward Welby Pugin, at a cost of £2300.   In 1873 the church was completed by the addition of an apse.  Schools adjoining the north side of the church were built in 1872 at a cost of £527, and have since been twice enlarged.  The War Office contributed £50 towards the building of the church."   

(Dover by John Bavington Jones, 1907)  Additional information:  The Church has been renovated on numerous occasions and suffered enemy bomb damage in the Second World War.   Over the years extra accommodation has been added to the church, which continues to hold regular services.