Corpus Christi Church, Boscombe

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Corpus Christi Church
Catholic Church of Corpus Christi, Boscombe
South side of the church
Corpus Christi Church is located in Dorset
Corpus Christi Church
Corpus Christi Church
Location of church within Dorset
Coordinates: 50°43′38″N 1°49′47″W / 50.727315°N 1.829851°W / 50.727315; -1.829851
OS grid reference SZ1208991974
Location Boscombe, Dorset
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Roman Catholic
Founded 1895 (1895)
Founder(s) Baroness Pauline von Hugel[1]
Dedication Body of Christ
Consecrated 8 September 1896

Extended 1932-34

Re-ordered 1974
Status Active
Functional status Parish Church
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 27 February 1976[2]
Architect(s) J. W. Lunn
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 22 August 1895
Completed 22 April 1934
Construction cost £5000 (£15,000 extension)
Capacity 800
Spire height 108 ft (33 m)
Deanery Bournemouth[3]
Diocese Portsmouth
Province Southwark
Bishop(s) Rt. Rev. Philip Egan
Priest(s) Fr Denis Blackledge SJ

Corpus Christi Church is a Roman Catholic church in Boscombe, on the outskirts of Bournemouth in Dorset. It in the Diocese of Portsmouth and is served by the Society of Jesus. It is situated on St. James' Square, on the corner of Parkwood Road and Christchurch Road. It was founded in 1895 and from its 108ft tall bell tower, it is possible see the Isle of Wight.[4]



Entrance of the former Convent of the Cross, which neighbours the church and the primary school

The first Catholic place of worship in Boscombe was created in 1887 when the Religious of the Cross moved into the area to make a foundation there. They purchased four and a half acres of land on which John Vertue, the first Bishop of Portsmouth, erected a small public chapel, an iron building bought from Lord Petre. This iron chapel was formally opened on New Year's Day 1888 and was served from Bournemouth by the Jesuit priest there, Father Charles de Lapasture SJ. The building of the convent itself started on 6 September 1888. A year later, a school was built next door, Corpus Christi Primary School.[5]

If Corpus Christi church could be said to have had a founder, it would have to be Baroness Pauline von Hugel. She was the daughter of the Austrian nobleman, army officer and botanist Charles von Hügel (1795-1870) and sister of the theologian Friedrich von Hügel (1852-1925), and anthropologist Anatole von Hügel (1854-1928).[1] With the school being built, there arose the need for a permanent church. The Baroness resolved to build a church that would meet the needs of both parishioners and the nearby Sisters, and to this end bought a property known as 'Holyrood' and two acres of land stretching from Christchurch Road to the Convent garden.[5]


Building work on the church started in 1885. The architect was J. W. Lunn from Malvern, Worcestershire who also designed St. Catherine's Church in Chipping Campden.[6] On 8 September 1896 it was opened by Bishop John Vertue. Baroness Pauline von Hugel decided to give the church to the Society of Jesus so that Father de Lapasture SJ became the first parish priest. The church was built to have a height of fifty metres along the nave and could accommodate a congregation of 400 people.[5]


In 1926, Father Ralph Baines SJ became parish priest and he decided to enlarge the church. An extension fund was opened to be able to pay for the scheme which was estimated to cost £15,000. Work commenced in August 1932 and was completed by March 1934. The enlarged church could hold 800 people with the most prominent new feature being a tower at 108 feet high. It was blessed by Bishop Cotter on 22 April 1934.[5]


In 1974, to meet the requirements set down by the Second Vatican Council, that the congregation should all have a clear view of the altar, the sanctuary was again modified with the altar being moved forward. On completion of this work, the church was consecrated by Bishop Derek Worlock, on 18 July 1974.[5]


The Jesuits still serve the church. In 2007, their presence in the area expanded with the opening of the Corpus Christi Jesuit Community Care Home adjacent to the church.[7] Corpus Christi has a number of parish groups and organisations, prayer groups, music groups and choirs.[4]

Also, next door to the church is Corpus Christi Primary School. It is a voluntary-assisted school for children from the ages of 4 to 11 years. Unlike the church, it is not served by the Jesuits, but as it under the trusteeship of the Diocese of Portsmouth so it has a close relationship with the parish.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Baroness Pauline von Hugel, Boscombe Catholics Retrieved 19 January 2013
  2. ^ British Listed Buildings
  3. ^ Portsmouth Diocese Deaneries Retrieved 19 January 2013
  4. ^ a b Corpus Christi, Boscombe, Jesuits in Britain Retrieved 19 January 2013
  5. ^ a b c d e Corpus Christi History, Boscombe Catholics Retrieved 21 January 2013
  6. ^ Verey, David Gloucestershire Vol. 1 (London, 1970) p. 103
  7. ^ 13 September 2007, Jesuits in Britain Retrieved 22 January 2013
  8. ^ Governors Page, Corpus Christi Primary School Retrieved 19 January 2013

External links[edit]