Church of Our Lady and St. Andrew, Portland

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File:Church of Our Lady and St. Andrew, Portland.JPG
Church of Our Lady and St Andrew. The building to the left was once the Grove Post Office and General Store.

Church of Our Lady and St Andrew is a 19th-century Roman Catholic church, located in The Grove village, on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. Today the church remains redundant and in private ownership.[1]


During the 19th-century, the influx of workers for the new prison establishment, and the construction of the breakwaters of Portland Harbour, led to a growing Catholic community on Portland. This led to the need for a Catholic church.[2] To meet demand, a new church was built at 47 Grove Road, by George Poole, during 1868. It was designed by the noted Catholic Church architect Joseph Hansom.[2] The catholic church was soon dedicated to Our Lady and St Andrew. George Poole became the first Priest in Charge of the new parish of Our Lady and St Andrew, Portland. The church's longest serving priest was its sixth - Walter Keily - who remained priest from 1881-1930. There would be eighteen priests serving the church from its opening to closure in total, with two assistant priests operating at separate times from 1868 to 1873, when Poole was the parish priest.[3]

From the late 19th century and into the 20th century, the church's main offering revolved around two Sunday services. Sailors would have a service at 9am, whilst another would follow immediately after at 10:30am for the military and civilians.[4] Right from the opening of the church, it proved a valuable establishment for the community as well as to the various Regiments in Garrison and the Royal Navy. It was supported and used by the community right up until the end of the 20th century, including Portland's three prisons - HM Prison The Verne, HM Prison Weare, and the Young Offender's Institution.[5]

The church's future remained unsure until March 2008 when Christopher Budd, Bishop of Plymouth, decreed that the parishes of Our Lady & St Andrew, Portland, St Augustine, Weymouth and St Joseph, Weymouth, be suppressed and united to form a new parish which was to take the name of Our Lady Star of the Sea. This union came with the announcement that the Church of Our Lady and St Andrew would remain closed.[6] After Weymouth and Portland merged as a single Catholic parish, overseen by Stephen Geddes, the church was then sold three years later.[7]


  1. "Portland Directory 1895". Retrieved 2014-01-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1
  4. Paul Benyon. "Portland Churches, Buildings and Views". Retrieved 2014-01-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "History". Our Lady, Star of the Sea. Retrieved 2014-01-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "History". Our Lady, Star of the Sea. Retrieved 2014-01-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Portland's fond farewell to Sister Maria Cooke (From Dorset Echo)". 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2014-01-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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