history of our church

By Davnet Barker.

The Catholic Parish of Epping, within the Diocese of Brentwood, dates back to 1932 when the Bishop of Brentwood offered the Parish to the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception (CRIC).

our church today

The Church Interior

The Church Altar

an historical image of the churchA presbytery and land for the original Church were purchased by a trust established by Jack Burgess, a generous benefactor, whose son had recently been ordained a CRIC. Prior to 1932 Epping Catholics travelled to Woodford or Loughton to celebrate Mass, or, when a visiting priest was available, celebrated Mass in Epping mainly in private homes.

the name of our church

The name of our Church – Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception – celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary.

‘Immaculate’ means without sin or stain and the Immaculate Conception describes the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne.

Thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts of parishioners the present Church was built in 1954. The foundation stone of the new Church was laid on 25th June 1954 and the Church was formally blessed and opened by the Bishop on 7th December 1954.

Anne’s conception of Mary was natural, but due to God’s Grace it was without original sin or its stain. From the first moment of her existence, therefore, she was filled with the sanctifying grace which otherwise is conferred by Baptism. The Angel Gabriel alludes to this when he greets Mary with the words: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you’ (Luke 1:28).

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8th December and nine months later, on 8th September, the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

An Historical image of the Church interior








Original interior of the new Church, opened in 1954

our stained glass panels

The Eucharist

A stained glass window depicting The EucharistAnd they all ate and were satisfied. Mt.15.37 A stained glass window depicting The EucharistBehold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Jn.1.29 A stained glass window depicting The EucharistWhen I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself. Jn.12.32 A stained glass window depicting The EucharistBecause there is one bread, we who are many are one body.
1 Cor.10.17
A stained glass window depicting The EucharistThis is my body, which is given for you. Lk.22.19

The Word

A stained glass window depicting The WordThe Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. Jn.1.4 A stained glass window depicting The WordOther seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing. Mk.4.8 A stained glass window depicting The WordThe words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Jn.6.63 A stained glass window depicting The WordThen I ate it; and it tasted sweet as honey. Ez.3.3 A stained glass window depicting The WordI am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev.22.13



You can find a full history of the Parish in Towards a Dream: A History of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, which was written by a long-standing parishioner, Davnet Barker. The book was published in 2004 to commemorate the Church’s Golden Jubilee. Here Davnet records the experience of that first Mass in 1932 in the words of Rose Doggett, one of several campaigners for a permanent site:

None of us will forget that Christmas Eve. That night there was no arranging of parties to go in taxis to Woodford or Loughton. We were going to our own Midnight Mass. The church was full. Catholics from Ongar came and many non-Catholic friends too. Our first Mass was a sung Mass, not very tuneful perhaps, but a joyful one and at the Consecration there were tears of joy. And when Father Chalumeaux [CRIC] suggested we stay for the next Mass in thanksgiving, we gladly did so, for now at last we truly felt that Our Blessed Lord was a resident of Epping.