The Parish of Carshalton used to have a daughter church in Wrythe Lane called St Andrew's (not to be confused with Bishop Andrewes Church in St Helier Parish) founded by Revd Lord Victor Seymour and consecrated on 28 October 1883, and paid for by Mr Gassiot who made his fortune importing wine from Portugal. It served the northern part of the extensive parish. It was a brick-built structure with an external bell, and stood on the corner of Brookfield Avenue and Wrythe Lane, at postcode SM1 3QP.
In the middle of the 20th Century Fr Harris served there, using the rites of the Roman church, and the services were conducted in Latin. The Rector seemed unwilling or unable to make Fr Harris use Church of England rites, and in 1959 the Diocesan Bishop, Rt Revd Mervyn Stockwood, took matters into his own hands.
There are several accounts of what happened next which are hard to reconcile. Apparently the Bishop confronted Fr Harris in the Rectory and demanded before witnesses that he conform, whereupon Fr Harris resigned. The Bishop dispatched the archdeacon and two policemen to change the locks on St Andrew's church.
Fr Harris was popular; consequently the bishop's action was not. S.J. Forrest said:
So call the bobbies, bar the door,
raise high the churchyard wall,
for those who won't be C of E
shan't worship God at all.
Services were taken for a short while by Fr Cole, but when he died the church closed and was demolished in 1964. It appears that this was triggered not only by questions about the churchmanship, but also the roof and organ needed repair. Echoes of these sad times can be seen in reports in:
Some photographs and documents from St Andrew's Church are shown below.
The altar, which is believed to be the one now in the North Aisle at All Saints (photo).
Fr Harris as a young man (centre, wearing a biretta) apparently with the choir at St Andrews. We believe that the third man in the back row is Herbert Thomas Dale (1899–1990), the first seated boy is Charles James Fuller (1915–1989) and next to him is James Frank Weston (1913–1992).
A letter from Fr Harris about the
Feast of the Assumption which illustrates his controversial churchmanship.
The back row of this group are Fr Harris, David Wilderspin (Sacristan, with a penchant for practical jokes), and Fr Peter Dale (an ecclesiastical lawyer who helped out at St Andrew's). The front row include Fr Simes and Bishop Mackenzie, the visitors mentioned in the letter concerning the Feast of the Assumption.
A party, showing Fr Harris making a presentation to Fr John Oldland, Vicar of St John's Bedford Hill, Balham. There is a curious mixture of mirth and formality, in that two priests are wearing birettas, and the parishioners look jolly. Mrs and Captain Barton are to the left of Fr Harris, Grace and Ronald Capps to the right of Fr John. David Wilderspin is leaning on the window-ledge, and his brother Peter Wilderspin is at the door. Fr Dale looks on from the corner.
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