ON THE night of Friday, November 11, 1940, a German bomber blew the church of St Mary's, East Finchley clean off the map. It missed the wooden hut which served as a boys club, and this was immediately dedicated as a temporary church.
Thus the links going back to mediaeval times were restored, when the Bishop of London's village and manor of East Finchley stood astride the pilgrim trail to St Alban's Abbey, north, and the shrine of St Edward the Confessor in Westminster, and St Thomas Becket in Canterbury, to the south. The miraculous waters from St Mary's Well (Muswell) cured pilgrims of toothache or skin disease.
If you visit St Mary's Church, where you will be welcomed by the parishioners, you can pick up a charming and informative brochure by Glen Petrie which describes not only the history of the parish but gives details of its delightful and modern treasures. If you are in the market for objects of modern Catholic Art for your parish church, then St Mary's is well worth an educational visit.
Note the highly original stained glass windows designed by Mark Angus, who designed the great Last Supper window in Durham Cathedral. Look at the tabernacle, five surfaces in copper and enamel by Benedict Tutty OSB of Glenstall Abbey in County Limerick. The Processional Cross, carved from a single piece of ash, is the work of Angela Godfrey. It represents the Risen Christ. The oak altar chair, designed by the architect, Richard Hurley, is also the work of Angela Godfrey. The altar, hewn from Bath stone, was quarried under the personal, supervision of the sculptor, who again was Angela Godfrey.
On Sunday March 29 1987, Cardinal Basil Hume OSB inserted into it the relics taken from the old altar of St Mary's of St Edward the Confessor, and of Pope St Stephen. The priests and parishioners of St Mary's Church are rightly proud of their church.