The Parish began as two separate communities that grew out of the devotion of its members.
In Burpham was a small worshipping community without a Church of their own. Mass was celebrated in the home of Misses Anne and Nell Leonard. As numbers grew, the community sought the help of Fr. Gordon Albion who found a venue in a disused café—The Kingpost— in the site now occupied by a car garage. In 1958, Orchard Cottage and the adjoining land in New Inn Lane was purchased and the building of a Burpham Church began. The First Mass was celebrated in June 1960, establishing the Burpham Parish of St. Mary of Pity. Father Charles Clarke was appointed the first Parish Priest (and Orchard Cottage became the Presbytery).
Meanwhile in Merrow, Sunday Mass was originally celebrated by the priests of St. Peter’s School then taken over by the priests in the Guildford Parish of St. Joseph. Eventually a site was purchased from the Sisters of Mary and Joseph, who ran the former Merrow Grange Convent School in Horseshoe Lane East. The Merrow Parish built its own Church in what was formerly the gardens of the Merrow Grange Convent School. The Parish of St. Pius X was established in June 1973.
Shortly after that the Parish of Merrow with Burpham was formed with Fr. Brian O’Sullivan as first Parish Priest of the combined Churches of St. Pius X and St. Mary of Pity, and the parish flourished. An account of this time can be found in Fr. Brian O’Sullivan’s book “Parish Alive”. Subsequent Parish Priests were Fr. Christopher Benyon, Fr. John Healy, Fr. Michael McGlade (RIP), Fr. Niven Richardson, Fr. Ian Byrnes and Fr. Tim Hunting (Associate Priest with Pastoral Responsibilty for St Pius X).
However, with much sadness, on Sunday, 7th September 2003, the Closing Mass was celebrated at the Church of St. Mary of Pity. Now the Parish of St. Pius X is the Catholic Church for Merrow and Burpham.
We would like to thank all the parishioners who, through all the years of development and change, have given their time, talents and resources to make the Parish what it is today— a strong, caring, and united worshipping Parish community.
The Catholic Parish of Guildford
Church of St Mary: 157 Aldershot Road, Guildford, GU2 8BP Church of St Joseph: 12 Eastgate Gardens, Guildford, GU1 4AZ Church of St Edward: Sutton Park, Guildford, GU4 7QN Church of St Pius x: Laustan Close, Guildford, GU1 2TS