History

The Parish has 2 pieces of land, both purchased in the 1920’s, and separated by a private road, Forge Lane, most of one side of which is owned by the Parish.

The northern plot, purchased when the Parish was founded, had previously been used as a builders’ yard, with a workman’s cottage and stables and a garage at the western end of the site. The stables and garage were adapted to serve as the first Church, while the cottage was extended, and was used as the Presbytery. After the present Church was built on what had been the builders’ yard, the original stables and garage were used as a Parish Hall.

The block of land immediately to the south of the Church, had originally been the site of a Wesleyan Methodist Church (“the tin tabernacle”). When this congregation decided to unite with the other Methodist congregation in Northwood, Canon Fellows, the founder of St Matthew’s Parish, had the foresight to borrow money to secure the land for the Parish for the princely sum of £475! For many years, the land was used as the Parish garden, but in 1971, Fr Bebb was responsible for building the present Parish Hall on the site to cater for, amongst other things, the Sunday School which continues to this day. This allowed the remainder of what had originally been the stables and garage space to be incorporated into the Presbytery.

Numbers attending Mass in St Matthew’s grew so great that Fr Michael Archer planned and completed the extension of the Church by replacing most of the lower brickwork of the nave with the present pillars and arches, and adding the side aisles.

In 2003, the developer of land to the west of the Hall agreed to give the Parish an additional piece of land in exchange for the Parish waiving some of our rights over Forge Lane, and this additional piece of land has now been incorporated into the Parish car park, giving us another 13 parking spaces. In order to make best use of this land, and to improve the turn out into Forge Lane, the old garage was demolished, and a new garage built. An appeal to the parishioners resulted in some £28,000 being raised, covering about ¾ of the cost of the works.The parish then had to face the major exercise of replacing the tiles on the Church roof – after 77years some of the tiles were slipping due to the nails securing the tiles having started to rust through. Once again an appeal to parishioners brought in generous donations, and it was not long before the cost of the works had been met.

A survey of the Presbytery in 2002 had revealed quite a number of defects, ranging from condensation and rising damp in the North-east area, to a time expired flat roof, to say nothing of an outside WC that betrayed its age. After a long time in the planning, a complete refurbishment of the ground floor was carried out in 2011, eliminating all the defects, creating a well planned WC with disability access via the new front door of the Presbytery in Forge Lane. The opportunity was taken to improve the energy efficiency of the Presbytery with insulation of some of the solid walls, up-graded roof insulation, solar water heating, and low energy light fittings.