The foundation stone was blessed and laid by the Bishop of Southwark on 8 October 1905. The architect was Frederick A Walters FSA who designed over 40 churches, convents and monasteries throughout England, including Buckfast Abbey. The church was built of local stone "in the Pointed style" by the local firm of David Fry. It is 98.5 feet long, 26.5 feet wide and 40 feet from the floor to the apex of the roof. It can hold about 300 people. The Bishop returned to open the church on 27 June 1906. It was consecrated on 3 October 1923.
The first church in Godalming 1899
A small iron church was built in Croft Road and opened by Bishop Bourne of Southwark on 26 November 1899, much to the relief of local Catholics who had had to gather together on Sundays to walk to Sutton Place or take the train to Guildford or even travel by horse and trap. In 1925 the parish hall was built on this site but the land was sold in 1997 for the building of flats.
Establishment of the Godalming Mission, 1904
When it was decided by Bishop Bourne to establish Godalming as a separate mission, he appointed Fr St George-Hyland to take charge. He arrived on 1 November 1904 and stayed in lodgings at 36 Croft Road. He saw opposite a "towering bank" of hillside which was undeveloped and determined it should be the site for a new church. An anonymous benefactor gave money to start the project and work started in 1905. By 27 June 1906 work was completed on both church and presbytery and the church was opened by the Bishop.
Fr (later Canon) Hyland, Rector of Godalming 1904
Priest and parishioners worked hard to reduce the heavy debt on the new buildings through lantern talks, rummage sales, socials and concerts. Fr Hyland set up parish guilds, clubs for the youth clubs and catechism classes. There were even summer outings such as to Southsea (3s return).
By 1910 Mass attendance was 138 with many also attending Devotions and Benediction or the Rosary on Sunday evenings. By 1923 the debt was paid off and so the church was consecrated by Bishop Amigo.
The Parish Hall
However, in 1925, a further debt was incurred when it was decided to build a parish hall. This was built by 1926 but that debt, too, was paid off by 1930 through fetes, whist drives, concerts and socials. The hall was used regularly for social activities, Advent and Passion Plays. At Christmas there would be a Christmas tree reaching to the ceiling and laden with toys for every child in the parish (all paid for by Canon Hyland). After First Communion or Confirmation services there would be a meal for the children and the Bishop. Students from the nearby St John's Seminary, Wonersh also used the hall for social activities. During the Second World War and for a few years after, it was used by the Post Office as a sorting office and then by the Ministries of Food and of Labour (as a Labour exchange).
Canon Hyland was very friendly with a curate from Godalming parish Church, Rev Harvard Jones and the two men, both short in stature and wearing the traditional "parson" style of hat, would often be seen walking along the High Street, deep in conversation.
At the age of 74, Canon Hyland died quite suddenly while on holiday in Devon. He was buried in a vault under the sanctuary of St Edmund's Church.
At the above co-ordinates, you should be standing in front of the church notice board – what is the telephone number shown - 01483 4ABCDE
Now take the path upto the front door – here you will see 2 x shields – what is the total number of crowns – F
The cache can be found at – N51 11.(C-D)E(D-B) W000 36.(C+A)(B-A-A-F)(D-C)
If anybody would like to expand to this series please do, I would just ask that you could let Sadexploration know first so he can keep track of the Church numbers and names to avoid duplication
To view the church micro stats page, please click here