History

The Benedictine association with this parish in Ealing originates back to 3rd November 1896 when Cardinal Vaughan transferred the parish into the hands of Abbot Edmund Ford, having first offered this mission to them back in 1895, when the foundation stone for Westminster Cathedral was laid. At that time the Benedictines had been ministering to local Catholics from a house in Acton since 1832.

The Castle Hill House estate, covered what has become Blakesley Avenue, Charlbury Grove and Marchwood Crescent, was up for sale and Abbot Ford bought it and also two acres of land. Father Bernard Bulbeck, from Downside, took up residence in March 1897 using the conservatory in the house for a make-shift chapel. The house itself was much too large and so was let and the mission’s first priests moved into 2 Marchwood Crescent at the end of 1899.

When the parish was handed over this new mission was not established without opposition. The previous parish priest, Father Richard O’Halloran, refused to give up the parish when instructed to do so by Cardinal Vaughan. This scandalised the Church and the local community and featured prominently in the local press for some time. Although this hampered the initial work of he mission, most local Catholics did begin to attend services in the temporary chapel at Castle Hill House.