St Francis Chapel of Ease, Station Road, Bardney
ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, BARDNEY
Mass will be celebrated for the final time at the church of St Francis of Assisi in Bardneyon Saturday, 28th August 2021 at 5pm. It will be an opportunity to give thanks to God for the graces and blessings received in this church for the 70+ years of its existence. The church will officially close as a place of Catholic worship on Tuesday, 31st August.
Grateful thanks to all those who have given generously of their time and money to look after this church over all these years.
Miss Gladys Peet was received into the Church in the 1920's and she was then the only Catholic resident in Bardney. By 1939 and the outbreak of war there were a few more and they attended Mass at the recently constructed Bardney Airfield. The RAF closed the airfield in 1945 and so there was no longer a Chaplain available.
The sugar beet factory was built in 1927 and there was a seasonal workforce between autumn and spring of as many as 200 Irishmen. Mass for them was said by a Franciscan Friar from Panton College but there was no permanent arrangement.
Miss Peet persuaded Fr Taylor (St Hugh's Lincoln) and Bishop McNulty to establish a Mass Centre at Bardney. By her efforts and generosity land was purchased and an old poultry hut was converted into a dignified wooden chapel in 1945. The chapel was further equipped with fittings obtained by Miss Peet from the US forces chapel at Nocton Hall. She also built a bungalow on the church land so that someone would be able to live near to the chapel. The first tenant was Mrs Cowle who died in 1965.
In the early days petrol rationing made transport difficult. People gave Fr Taylor petrol coupons which could be spared and Miss Fisher of Curle Avenue lent her car for George Williams to drive. John Keane began to drive Fr Taylor's car in 1947 and later joined David Keane on the 'Bardney run'. At St Hugh's presbytery were kept suitcases containing Mass vestments and the other equipment. The drivers picked up a priest and a suitcase and set off for Bardney. As fasting from midnight was then the rule Bardney families took turns to give breakfast to the priest after Mass.
Miss Peet died in 1977 with her vision of a permanent building unfulfilled. The chapel was no longer overcrowded as mechanisation took over men's work at the sugar beet factory and Bardney's congregation once again comprised a few resident Catholics and an occasional fisherman or boater.
John & Paddy Keane
The church is set back off Station Road (B1190) next door to Bardney Garage. Postcode: LN3 5UD