A History - Part
Fr Brian Scantlebury succeeded Fr Nugent in 1970. The first Parish Bulletin was published on September 27th 1970. The collection for the previous Sunday amounted to £102.19s.4d.
In keeping with liturgical changes, in November of the same year a temporary altar was placed in the Church, so that Mass could be celebrated facing the people.
In July the same year, Fr Scantlebury celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his priesthood.
The sign of peace was introduced on Pentecost Sunday 1972.
Plans for a Catholic comprehensive school were already being talked about, the proposed site being St Michael's Road, South Ham. Fr Brian confidently threw his weight and enthusiasm into providing full Catholic education for every Catholic child in Basingstoke and the surrounding area.
Two hundred and fifty people attended a meeting regarding the new comprehensive school on October 25th 1971, during which it was announced that work would begin in eighteen months. Ten months later, in July 1972, it was decided to place the new school under the patronage of Bishop Richard Challoner who, as Vicar Apostolic for the London District, would have visited the area.
Building work began on the new school in May 1974. On 29th September, Bishop Challoner's anniversary, the same year, Fr Scantlebury laid and blessed the foundation stone in the school's main corridor.
The school opened in September 1975 with Mr Paul Connolly as the Head Master.
On 14th October 1973 it was announced that there would be a Sunday morning Mass at Castle Hill Junior School. The Sunday morning 8:45am Mass was transferred to the new time of 3pm. These new times became operative on 28th October 1973. There were 230 people at the first Mass in Castle Hill Junior School.
St Bernard's School closed for good on 15th July 1973. Towards the end of the same month, a meeting was held to discuss the future use of the premises at Norn Hill. There were three proposals:- Let parts of the building for office use; open a nursery school; or, open a Parish Club
The second of these proposals was realised on August 27th, 1974, with the opening of a play-school catering for 3-5 year olds, mornings only. In July 1974, Fr Scantlebury was granted a liquor license for a Social Club at St Bernard's and Bolton Lodge opened as a parish social centre in 1974.
On March 2nd, 1974, the first Mass was said in St Mary's, Church of England, Church, Old Basing. This Mass was first held on Wednesday evenings in the Bolton Chapel. It was later transferred to Saturday evening. When the Saturday Vigil Mass was allowed, numbers grew so much that the Mass was transferred to the main church. The first vigil was celebrated by Fr Peter Codd in September 1976. Because of the use of this building, by kind permission of the Vicar and the P.P.C. there are excellent ecumenical relations in the Village.
In April 1974, Bishop Worlock
celebrated the first Catholic Mass in St Michael's Church since the
As already recorded, Mass was said in Bramley from 1925-1953. It was thereafter transferred to Bramley Camp Chapel until 1962 when it moved once more to St Mary's Chapel, Bramley Camp. When the Camp closed in 1978 it was agreed to rent from the Baptists, Breach Lane Chapel in Sherfield-on-Loddon. The altar is of beautifully hand carved oak originally donated to the Catholic church by the family of Captain J.A. Liddell V.C. who was killed in action in 1915.
The Sunday afternoon Mass ceased in 1984.
In 1984, Canon Brian Scantlebury became Parish Priest of St Swithun's, Southsea, another Scoles's church. He was succeeded by Fr Tom Grufferty who had been Parish Priest of Sandhurst.
Bishop Anthony Emery requested him to investigate the possibility of building a new church for the Parish, with special reference to the size of the parish church, the growth of Basingstoke and the impending shortage of priests. The following is a brief resume of what took place.
1984-86: Three options were examined initially:-
B & C were abandoned because of the close proximity of the Holy Ghost.
1986: Negotiations began with
Hampshire County Council for the purchase of land in Chineham. Two sites were
available but the Parish preferred land at the corner of Great Binfields Road
Nov. 1986: 1.64 acres of land were
offered to the Parish at half the market value, i.e. £500,000.
During 1989 the Parish received several offers through its professional property advisers, to purchase Norn Hill, subject to a satisfactory planning application. By the time the planning application was received the market value of the land had dropped considerably. As a result the Parish faced two options:-
The decision to explore option A was taken. Several major property companies were approached and three offers to build a church complex in Chineham in exchange for the land at Norn Hill were received.
The offer of an exciting design from Broadway Malyan on behalf of Bryant Homes was seriously considered by the Working Committee. These proposals were presented to the Bishop and the Diocesan trustees on 4th July 1990. They approved the Plan provided the parish in general were informed and consulted. As a result of that meeting there were certain conditions placed on the project before contracts were drawn up.
When the plans were submitted to the parish at an open meeting on September 25th 1990, they were not favourably received by those present. Many people were also unhappy about the financial implications and the debt to the parish. As a consequence, it was proposed and carried that the Working Committee examine the possibility of building on Parish land at St Bede's and to exercise the "put" option on the land at Chineham, thus saving the Parish the price of the land at Chineham.
On December 11th 1990, Paul Connolly was invited to chair a meeting in the Holy Ghost Church. Approximately 100 parishioners attended. The purpose of this meeting was to elicit once again as many views as possible on the various options. There was a unanimous vote to preserve the Holy Ghost. The same number of people voted for the need the Parish had for a new church. The majority of people voted for the new church to be built at St Bede's; the majority did not want the new church at Chineham.
When Broadway Malyan presented their plans for a new church on the St Bede's site, there were many serious reservations regarding flat roofs, slates and maintenance. As a result of this meeting the Bishop and the Parish had no choice but to exercise the "put" option on the land at Chineham, ie sell it back to the County for the same price for which it was purchased. Following consultation, Bishop Crispian wrote to the parish in January 1991. He stated that it was not in the interest of the Parish to sell land because of the low market value. He recommended that the project be frozen for at least a year. He thanked those who gave their generous time and effort to the project.