Organ and Bell Tower


Turn around to the back of the church and you will see the organ gallery. High above the main (pipe) organ is a small medallian window of the Immaculate Mary. Our Lady has her foot on the head of the serpent to symbolise her perfection and immaculate nature, untainted by the evils of the devil.


The church steeple in the North West corner, house an eight bell carillon (chime) cast at Ville Deu Bell Foundry at Normandy, France, plus a large Angelus bell, cast at the famous Whitechapel Foundry in London. These were restored by Fr. Buckley in 1998. A unique feature of the Church in Victorian times was the ringing of the bells to remind people of the type of feast day. The bells would ring various chimes; doubles and greater doubles to announce 1st and 2nd class feasts, and special antiphons on the feasts of Our Lady. The blue faced clock on the north side of the tower was erected in memory of the 150th anniversary of the church in 1996.


Sacred Heart Chapel


Move to the north east corner of the church and you will see the Sacred Heart Chapel built by Mgr. Cahill and blessed and dedicated by Bishop Vertue on 15th March, 1898. It is constructed of marble and alabaster and has stained glass windows of saints famous for their love and adoration of Our Blessed Lord; namely (on the left) St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, the French nun, who had a vision of Our Lord exposing his Sacred Heart on 15th June, 1675. Our Lord said to her: "Behold this Heart, which loves men so much. Yet in return I receive ingratitude, irreverence, sacrilege and a coldness and contempt which they exhibit for me in this Sacrament of love". It was through St. Margaret Mary that Christ instituted the "Holy Hour" of devotion and prayer to the Sacred Heart in reparation for the three apostles who fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Lord told her to "encourage people to make reparation for the ingratitude of men. Spend an hour in prayer to appease divine justice, to implore mercy for sinners, to honour Me, to console Me for my bitter sufferings when abandoned by my apostles when they could not watch and pray for one hour with me". The other windows depict St. John the Evangelist, "the Apostle that Jesus loved", who was one of the apostles that fell asleep, but later accompanied Him on the journey to Calvary, when the others fled. On the right is St. Mary Magdalene, the sinner who repented, shown here holding the jar of ointment that she used on Jesus' feet; and finally St. Augustine, who brought the faith to England, shown here holding a container with letters of commendation from Pope Gregory. The red marble reminds us of Christ's Precious Blood which was shed at Calvary. An inscription records that the chapel was built by a family who lost loved ones in the Crimean War but wished to remain anonymous. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was promoted initially by St. John Eudes in France. He was later appointed by Pope Leo XIII as the author of liturgical devotion to the Sacred Heart. It was Pope Pius IX who added the feast of the Sacred Heart to the Roman calendar in 1856 in order to "stimulate the faithful to honour with greater devotion and zeal the love of Jesus Christ under the symbol of the Sacred Heart". Consequently the practice of honouring the Sacred Heart with pictures, shrines and statues in homes was encouraged by the Church. From Victorian times priests would visit family homes to solemnly enthrone a representation of the Sacred Heart and urge each family to pray together and seek mercy and forgiveness for sins, as Christ himself requested in his appearance to St. Margaret Mary. In the 1930s Pope Pius XI affirmed devotion to the Sacred Heart to be, "the epitome of religion and the norm of the more perfect life which more readily leads souls to acknowledge Christ the Lord, and which more effectively, inclines hearts to love Him more ardently and imitate Him more closely". In the 1950s Pope Pius XII describes the Sacred Heart of Jesus as, "the divine remedy which will save men from the devil and all forces of evil". There is a further account of the history of this chapel and devotion to the Sacred Heart on the right hand wall of the chapel.


The North Aisle


The large Victorian painting of the Annunciation above the sacristy door was given by another generous benefactor in 1893 to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the Countess of Clare. It is a copy of the famous painting in the Quirinal Palace in Rome by the Italian Baroque artist Guido Reni (1575-1642). The small window above depicts Mary Immaculate holding the child Jesus with an inscription in Latin requesting the intercession of Our Lady, Help of Christians. This window was donated by Philip M. Westlake and Nathaniel H.J. Westlake who executed most of the art work and stained glass between them. To the left of the sacristy door there are brass plate memorials to Fr. John Telford, Rector when the church was built, and Canon Stephen Mongan, Provost of the Diocese and Rector 1911-43.


To the left of the Sacred Heart chapel is the statue of St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) the Portuguese Franciscan preacher famous for his comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the bible. For this reason he is often depicted holding a child, upon an open bible. He was canonized within a year of his death and his feast day is 13th June. St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost souls, but is often more popularly recognised as the patron saint of lost property.


As you move back towards the church porch, notice the Stations of the Cross on the walls which give a pictorial account of Christ's journey to Calvary carrying the Cross. These "Stations" developed from the time of the Crusades, when the returning knights would recall the places that they saw in the Holy Land and how they had followed in the footsteps of Christ. Later, artists portrayed these events and the pictures were hung in castles, palaces and Manor Houses until they eventually found their way to the churches, where the faithful who could not read or write, could nevertheless study the Way of the Cross around the walls of the church. The "Stations" in St. Mary's were painted on slate by the Victorian artist, Nathaniel Westlake FSA. They were restored and re-painted in 1993 by a parishioner, Mrs Marianne Rodrigues. She used colours already in existence in the church that was therefore complementary to the restoration work. There is a brass memorial set on a Welsh slate plaque near the third Station which commemorates Miss Charlotte Elliot, friend and companion of the Church's foundress, the Countess of Clare, who died in 1861 while praying here at the third Station of the Cross. At the top of the plaque are the coats of arms of both the Countess and Charlotte Elliot and a banner with the last words that she uttered, "We adore you O Christ and we praise you". Further along the wall is a picture frame relating the story of two of the English martyrs with Island connections: Fr. Robert Anderton and Fr. William Marsden, two young priests from Lancashire who were ordained at Douai by the Cardinal of Guise and subsequently sent back to England. They were captured and executed for their faith near Cowes on the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, 25th April, 1586. They were beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15th Dec. 1929.


Above you there is a window depicting Christ handing the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to St. Peter, leader of the apostles and first Pope. There are angels bearing scrolls with the words of St. Peter: "Thou art Christ, Son of the living God" and Jesus' words in reply when He said, "thou art Peter and it is upon this rock I will build my church... I give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven".


The Confession room on your right is also the Repository. Beside the oak Calvary Cross is a brass plaque in memory of Mrs Mary Collyer (died 1977) who left a large legacy to the Church that enabled major external restoration to take place (1988-90.)


The picture painted on wood is that of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. This familiar portrayal of Mary was adopted by the Redemptorists in 1866. The beautiful but sad picture of the Madonna, with her infant son, clinging to her in fear, foretells the passion and crucifixion of Jesus and the future suffering of His Mother, Mary, as the two angels in the picture hold instruments of Christ's persecution and death at Calvary. The gold crown on their heads reminds us however, that despite their sufferings on earth, the victor's crown of gold awaits those who attain their eternal reward in heaven. At this Marian picture, parishioners place their petitions to Mary requesting prayers for the sick and needy, the dead and those whose anniversaries occur.


Previous Page | Back to About Us | Next Page