The Parish Taken from various parish records and newspaper items The cost of the building was about £5,000, a considerable sum in those days. Now it is a Grade 2 Listed Building. The whole of the cost was defrayed by M. Souberbielle and as the church was free of debt it was soon consecrated. The consecration crosses can be seen at the doorway and around the walls. The Service of Consecration on the 28th July 1896 took from 8am until 12 noon with the Rt. Rev. John Vertue, Bishop of Portsmouth officiating. He was assisted by the Parish Priest, Canon James Daly, and the Parish Priest of Lymington, Fr. Patrick O'Connel1. M. Souberbielle was in the congregation. The first to be baptised in the new church on the 23rd February 1897 was Carol James Egerton and on the 1st July 1897 seven candidates were confirmed by Bishop Vertue. In the same year three bells were installed, the tablet in the porch reads:- “Of your charity pray for the Soul of Marie Louise Souberbielle in whose memory these bells were erected on the 1st July 1897 by E. Souberbielle Countess R. Czaykowski Mary Livingstone Willard and Henry Clarke MD. R.I” At the Bishop's Visitation on the 27th May 1906 Canon Daly reports that there is Holy Communion at 8.30am and Mass at 9am and 11 am on Sundays. On Holy Days, Holy Communion is at 8am, and Mass followed by Benediction is at 10am. The Catholic population in the parish was made up of 25 men, 66 women and 60 children. On average some 71 attended Mass on a Sunday, slightly less than today's numbers. The first Midnight Mass at Christmas was celebrated in 1902. Canon Daly left in 1910 and was succeeded by Fr. Hugh Breslin, from Co. Donegal. He was born in 1879 and ordained in Dublin in 1906. For the Bishop's Visitation in 1912 he reports that Holy Communion was at 8.30am and sung Mass at 1 0.30am on Sundays. Weekday Mass was at 8am. The Catholic population in the parish was then 19 men, 42 women and 26 children, and an average Mass attendance of 60 on Sundays, with another 18 men, 34 women and 28 children at the Mass in Totton. Confessions were from 6 to 7.30pm on Saturdays. It was, and remains, a small parish. Following the Second Vatican Council, which began in 1962, it was required that, among other things, altars should be placed so as to enable the priest to celebrate Mass facing the congregation. So, in 1976, work began to re-order the church. First the outside stonework was cleaned and new shingles were put on the spire, then came the big task of interior alterations. The altar, which was at the top of three steps, was moved forward and lowered; the tabernacle was also lowered, but this was so well done as not to be noticeable. Two of the grey marble steps were mounted behind the six large candles and the terrazzo mosaic which formed the top step was lifted and can now be seen mounted on the wall behind the altar and below the tabernacle. The Confessional was moved to the Sacristy and the alcove now houses two statues and a votive candle stand. The Font was moved to the front of the church replacing the Pulpit and an electronic organ placed in the area vacated by the font. While the building work was in hand the statues and paintings, including the large painting above the tabernacle, were cleaned and restored. New lighting was fitted including outside floodlighting of the western end of the church. The architect for all this was Mr R.L. Pateman MSSAT,MFB, and the work was carried out by J.J. Frame Esq. During the restoration, Mass was celebrated in the old school. Work was completed quickly and on the 4th December 1977 the altar re-consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Anthony Emery, Bishop of Portsmouth, who also confirmed thirteen people during the ceremony. The Bishop was assisted by Rev. Fr. Richard Hind (Chancellor of the Diocese), Rev. Fr. Abraham Jacob (Dean of the New Forest and Parish Priest of Lymington), Very Rev. Canon Daniel Q'Hanlon (parish Priest of Brockenhurst) and the Rev. Fr. Laurence McMaster (Parish Priest of Lyndhurst). In 1981 the priest who had stimulated and carried through the imaginative re-ordering, Fr. McMaster, left to become Parish Priest of St. Edmund Campion in Bournemouth and the Rev. Abraham Jacob came to the parish from Lymington.
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