Anglo Catholicism in Bournemouth RIP


After the World War of 1914-18, Bournemouth became more and more popular, not only as a resort but also as a residential town. The rapid expansion of the Borough posed problems for the Church similar to those later being experienced in the “overspill” new towns. The Diocese of Winchester was faced with the task of building Churches and providing priests to minister to the ever-growing population of suburbia.

The congregation of St. Stephen’s, Bournemouth, were well aware of the need, and what is more important, were prepared to do something about it. The Assistant Priest of St. Stephen’s at that time was the Reverend Oscar Shiner. To him was entrusted the pleasant task of conveying to the Bishop of Winchester the news that one member of the congregation would give a large sum of money for the building of a new Church in the growing area to the north of the town. The donor wished to remain anonymous, but made five requests:-

(1) That the new Church should be dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.
(2) That it should be a Parish and not a mission district.
(3) That the donor should hold the patronage of the living for life.
(4) That after the death of the donor the patronage should pass to the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield.
(5) That the full Catholic Faith should be taught.

To these requests the Bishop readily agreed, and the donor nominated Father Shiner to be the first Vicar.

The Vicar is now Reverend Jenny Nightingale. So the request to teach the full Catholic Faith has obviously been lost. I suppose this is another case of Catholic in liturgy, liberal in theology?

“At St Francis we offer a variety of worship.  Our Sunday morning and mid-week services are Anglo-Catholic in tradition.  We also support a fresh expression of church with The Bishop of Winchester Academy (TBOWA – a secondary school in the parish) hosting services and youth work.  Worship with TBOWA Church is informal and during term time”


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