The History of St Mary's Church
The foundation stone of St Mary's church was laid on 4th July 1838, Queen Victoria's Coronation Day. The building was completed by 9th October 1839. During the Pontifical High Mass to mark the dedication of the church, Doctor (later Cardinal) Wiseman began his sermon with the words: "St Mary's, without exception the most magnificent thing that Catholics have yet done in modern times in this country." The architect was Augustus W N Pugin, who had only recently become a Catholic.
A first restoration of the church took place during 1927/8 after it was discovered that the tower would probably have collapsed unless urgent remedial action was taken. A survey revealed that many slabs of stone had been cut the wrong way, and eventually the weather had penetrated the mortar pointing and the stone had deteriorated to an alarming extent.
A second restoration project took place during 1986-1989, at a cost of around £750,000, to address the external and internal wear and tear of 150 years. Also, the interior of the church was reordered to meet on a more permanent basis the liturgical changes required by the Decree on the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council.