Local Area: Origins of St Theodore's In Cranbrook
For more local information
see Cranbrook websites cranbrook.org.uk or cranbrook.org
Priests associated with St Theodore
14 Jul 1963 Fr Thomas Gleeson
16 Jul 1972 Fr Niall Thornton
15 Feb 1980 Fr Joseph Coleman
20 Apr 1981 Fr Michael Chapman
01 Jan 1988 Canon John Morris
04 Oct 1995 Fr Bert White
05 Aug 1999 Fr John Lawrence
Until the early 1930s at least one parishioner regularly did the walk to and from Goudhurst for Sunday Mass. As she lived to be 103, it cannot have done her any harm.
In 1935 Lady Millicent Moore (widow of Sir Norman Moore, an eminent physician and medical historian) came to the village and provided an oratory at her house, "Little Shepherds" in the High Street. In November of that year Mass was said for the first time in the oratory, the congregation shared between Goudhurst, the travelling mission and a Jesuit priest from Farm Street in London. Lady Moore died in 1947, but another benefactress had arrived in the person of Mrs Muriel Lewis, who took up residence at "Brooksden", in the High Street (now the veterinary surgery). Mrs Lewis had a paying guest, Father Allan, a retired priest from Lowestoft, who now said daily Mass at "Brooksden", with Benediction on Sunday afternoons.
One former resident recalls going to "Confession", in a small room not usually associated with spiritual comfort! Father Allan became a respected figure in Cranbrook; it is no small degree due to his personality that local resentment towards the Church, amounting at times to open hostility, disappeared.
These makeshift arrangements were a great blessing, but thought was constantly being given to a more permanent establishment. One or two sites for a church were considered, but financial stringency prevailed until Mrs Lewis gave the parish the site for the present church and priest's house. Father Allan, who died in 1953, left a substantial sum towards the building costs. Mass was said for the first time in the new church on 28th November 1958.