The Roman Catholic Foundry Lane Mission, under the patronage of St Boniface was opened in 1902. Initially, services were held in Wilton Lodge, on the south corner of Foundry Lane and Henry Road, but soon a corrugated iron church, which had previously been situated within the grounds of La Saint Union Convent on the Avenue, was acquired and erected in the grounds of Wilton Lodge.

The new Romanesque-style church of St Boniface was built on Shirley Road in 1927 by architect Wilfred C. Mangan of Preston, who had designed many other Roman Catholic Churches in the country. The builders were Jenkins and Sons of Southampton.

The building is of an interesting design, described by David Lloyd (Building of England: Hampshire and the I.O.W.) as “expansive neo-byzantine” - and has a distinctive slender tower ending in an octagon with a tiled cap.

After the opening of the new church, the old corrugated iron church at Wilton Lodge was used as a social club for many years before its destruction by fire. Wilton Lodge itself was demolished in 1930.

St Boniface Church, Shirley

Image Unavailable

Photograph, c.2000

St Boniface Church, Shirley

Image Unavailable

Photograph, c.1970


Further reading:
Buildings of England: Hampshire and the I.O.W., by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd, p567. (H/i)
St Boniface’s Church, Shirley, by Maureen Guly. (HS/j)
‘St Boniface’s Church’, by Anne Engesvik in Shirley from Domesday to D-Day, by John Guilmant and Hilary Kavanagh, p60-64. (HS/h.SHI)


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