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St. Mary of Pity

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What: Roman Catholic church and parsonage
Where: Burpham, Surrey
Built: 1959-60
Architect: Unknown
Abandoned: 2003
Listed: No
Visited: 2010
Last Known Condition: Demolished
Page Updated: February 2014

The history of Modern Roman Catholic worship in Burpham dates back to 1953, when Divine Masses were first held in a house belonging to two sisters. Soon afterwards Father Gordon Albion, parish priest for Sutton, under whose remit Burpham then fell, leased the disused Kingpost Cafe on London Road and held Masses there. In 1958 the Parish bought a detached house called Orchard Cottage and adjacent large garden on New Inn Lane; a simple brick and concrete church was built and the house became the presbytery for a newly-appointed parish priest. The first Mass was celebrated in June 1960.

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Church building Toy crane Nave looking toward the sanctuary Christ be our light To dust you shall return Prayer before exams Parish prayer Wooden cross and school prospectus Parish mass book Presbytery Invading ivy One of the few items left in the presbytery And finally, some cats watching Punch and Judy.

The church was never particularly well attended, however and in 1972 many of its congregation moved to the newly opened St. Pius X in Merrow, with which it joined to form the Roman Catholic Parish of Merrow with Burpham in 1973. The congregation dwindled over the following decades and by 2000 St Mary's had become unsustainable to run. Closing Mass was held on Sunday, 7th September 2003 and the site was subsequently sold. Multiple planning applications have been submitted since, but to date all have been rejected.

Despite vandalism and the somewhat uninspiring architecture I a lot to see here: large amounts of paperwork, books and other odds and ends had been left behind and the hall was littered with toys and furniture. Unfortunately for me, this is a busy residential area; my visit was hampered by curtain twitching neighbours, major roadworks going on outside and two men in a hatchback who drove up and idled in the lane for what seemed an age while I waited in hiding for them to leave.


Passing by in June 2011, I saw that the church and presbytery had finally been demolished and new houses were being built on the site. By mid-2013, a new housing development called Raynham Close occupied the site.


The Derelict Miscellany: website and all content © D. A. Gregory unless stated to be otherwise.