On this page.....
"Our Ministry Team" - meet our current staff
"Our Bishop" - introducing our Father in God
"The Succession of our Parish Priests" - mini biographies of all our Vicars, present and past
"Some Assistants" - a list of assistant ministers (priests, deacons, readers, & evangelists) through the years
Our Ministry Team:
The Rev'd Timothy L'Estrange, MA, DipMin, FRSA
Vicar of North Acton and Surrogate
Father Timothy trained in London and Oxford for six years before being ordained in 1993. He is a third-generation priest; his father, uncle, and grandfather were all priests of the Church of Ireland.
He was an assistant curate in Suffolk, then a Bishop's domestic chaplain in Sussex; after that he served three incumbencies, firstly in the Adur Valley (Sussex), then in North London, and finally here at St Gabriel's since 2011. In his first parish appointment he worked with young people who abbreviated his name to "FT". These initials have stuck, and in all the parishes in which he has served he has been known locally by his parishioners as "FT".
Within the wider life of the Church, Fr Timothy is the President of the Society of St Botolph, a Chaplain of the Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem, a Priest Associate of the Holy House at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, a Priest Associate of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and a Surrogate to the Chancellor of London Diocese.
Before ordination he was a qualified nursing auxiliary (working at St Mary's Hospital in Etchinghill), and a qualified railway worker (employed on the staff of a light railway in southern England for several years). He spent his spare time as a first aider with the St John Ambulance Brigade, and pursuing a life-long interest in railways, especially the narrow gauge. He also enjoys world travel, especially by train, and has taken many long-distance train journeys across western and eastern Europe, India, and Africa.
Fr Timothy is one of the 26 godsons of the legendary Bishop Tony Tremlett, and the only one of the 26 to have been ordained. He owns a large dog and is also a registered breeder of cavies (guinea pigs). He is married, and has a daughter.
Mark Corcoran, BA, PGCE, AVCM
Licenced Lay Minister (Parish Reader)
Mark has been a Reader in the Church of England for 30 years. After several years assisting in our parish, he was licenced as the Parish Reader in 2020. He had formerly served as a Reader in the Diocese of Chichester and in the Diocese of Southwark.
Mark's professional career has included many years as a school teacher, community education work for the Open University, and a lengthy period as a self-employed textiles designer. In addition to his role as Reader, Mark is also the Sacristan.
His varied interests include church history, religious art, music, and rugby (he is a qualified rugby Union referee). Like our Vicar, Mark has been known to dabble in the ancient art of railway modelling. He is married (to our honorary Parish Treasurer), and has grown-up children, grandchildren, and two cats.
The Rev'd Callan Slipper, PhD
Honorary Assistant Priest
Fr Callan has a very long association with our parish. He served his title (first appointment after ordination) here as Assistant Curate from 1993 to 1996. Then from 1996 to 2012 he was an honorary assistant priest in the parish.
He has been a member of the Focolare Movement since 1977, and has been an active worker for unity in society and in the Church. After leaving our locality in 2012, Fr Callan remained an honorary visiting priest, until moving back to the area again in 2019, and resuming work as an honorary assistant priest. He holds Permission to Officiate (PTO) in the Diocese of London, and is a Public Preacher of the Diocese of St Albans.
Since 2017 he has been the National Ecumenical Officer of the Church of England, based at Church House, Westminster, in the Council for Christian Unity.
Certified local preacher and worship leader
Andrew has also had a very long association with St Gabriel's Church. Additionally he is a life-committed Brother of the Servants of the Word community.
Andrew has current commitments to full time ministry within the Servants of the Word community, and is also an active leader in the Antioch Community here in west London.
Within St Gabriel's Church he has a particular ministry with our older children and young teenagers. He also holds local certification from the Bishop of Willesden as a preacher and as a worship leader within our parish.
The Rt Rev'd Peter Broadbent, MA
Bishop of Willesden
Bishop Pete attended university in Cambridge and Nottingham, before serving his title curacy for three years in Durham. All his ministry since then (since 1980) has been here in London.
From 1995 to 2001 he was the Archdeacon for this Willesden Episcopal Area, becoming our Bishop in 2001, and serving in that capacity ever since.
The succession of our Parish Priests, from the present backwards:
9. The Rev'd Timothy J. N. L'Estrange, MA, DipMin, FRSA, (2011) has been our parish priest for 9 years, and remains in office as our current vicar. He trained for ordination at St Stephen's House, Oxford, and served a curacy in Suffolk, then as a Bishop's Domestic Chaplain in Sussex, and two previous Incumbencies (in Sussex and London), before coming to St Gabriel's. See his full biography above (on this page).
The Interregnum, (2009): for two years from 2009 to 2011 we had a planned long interregnum, with no resident parish priest, as part of a diocesan experimental scheme for parishes. During this time we were looked after by our assistant priests, and visiting clergy.
8. The Rev'd Keith A. Robus, MA, RNR, (2002) served our parish for over 7 years. He trained for ordination at Chichester Theological College, and served two curacies in London before coming to St Gabriel's (one of them very nearby in Willesden). Father Robus was an accomplished cook, and brought culinary delights to the parish, as well as a new impetus to our social programme. He was responsible for the legendary barbecue which still provides the popular burgers, hot dogs, and bacon rolls at our summer and winter fairs. When not in the parish he was often away with the Royal Navy, where he served as a reserve Chaplain. Father Robus left us in 2009 when he decided to switch to full time service in the Royal Navy. More recently Fr Robus has retired from the Navy and returned to parish ministry in Devon.
7. The Rev'd E. James Alcock, AKC, (1981) is our longest-serving vicar, having served the parish for 20 years. He trained for ordination at Kings College, London, and served two curacies in London before coming to St Gabriel's. His children grew up here, and his family was completed by a large German Shepherd Dog (a tradition perpetuated by his successor's successor). Father Alcock had a long and energetic ministry in the community of North Acton, and retired to a property in the parish, where he remained a familiar site riding his bicycle (and miraculously not getting his flowing cassock caught in the spokes) for many years. Father Alcock retired in 2001, but continued to celebrate weekday masses in our church until 2015, when failing health led him to give up regular celebrations.
6. The Rev'd John R. P. Ashby, BSc, (1968) was a long-serving and respected parish priest, whose ministry at St Gabriel's was marked by great stability, famous parish plays, and innovative liturgy, including the country's first Christingle service (now a familiar feature of Christmas in many churches and cathedrals). Fr Ashby trained for ordination at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield (West Yorkshire), and served two curacies in London (as well as a brief overseas spell in Tanzania) before coming to St Gabriel's. However, after leaving us in 1980 he moved to the Chichester Diocese, where he spent the rest of his active ministry, eventually becoming an Honarary Canon of Chichester Cathedral. Fr Ashby was our Vicar for 12 years. He died in 2003, three years into his retirement.
5. The Rev'd Brian W. Horlock, BA, (1962) was our vicar for 6 years in the 1960s. He trained for ordination at Chichester Theological College, and served two curacies (one in London and one in Oxfordshire) before coming to St Gabriel's. His ministry here was short, but his legacy proved long-lasting, for in 1966 he employed a young teenage musician as a temporary organist at St Gabriel's, and recognising his talent, went on to appoint that teenager as the permanent Director of Music just after Easter 1966. That musician was David Carter, who was admitted to the Order of St Mellitus in 2016 by the Bishop of London, to mark his continuous 50 years of service as Director of Music. St Gabriel's was Father Horlock's only English incumbency, as he left North Acton in 1968 to serve in churches in Scandinavia. Later he was appointed a Canon of the Anglican cathedral in Brussels, and he went on to serve as Archdeacon of Scandinavia, and later as Dean of Gibraltar Cathedral. As a Dean his prefix became "The Very Reverend". He was awarded an OBE by the Queen.
4. The Rev'd Stuart E. Adams, CF, (1953) was a bachelor, and during his incumbency a clergy house was established at No 1 Balfour Road (next to the church) where Father Adams and an assistant curate lived together, providing ministry across the parish. Father Adams trained for ordination at Kelham Theological College, and served two curacies in London, the second during the war, when he also served as a temporary Chaplain to the Forces. After the war Father Adams became parish priest of a nearby sister church, Holy Innocents, Hammersmith, before coming to St Gabriel's. He also served (during both his Hammersmith and Acton years) as Chaplain to Queen Charlotte's maternity hospital. He was a very active officer of the Nautical Training Corps, running a unit ("training ship") here in North Acton, but also serving as the national Chaplain of the organisation.
3. The Rev'd Edward Aykroyd Jones, MA, (1946) was vicar for 7 years after the war. He was a scholar (studying at both Dublin and Oxford universities), a linguist, and a West London priest. He trained for ordination at Cuddesdon Theological College, and served two curacies in London (his title curacy being in Twickenham), and during the Second World War served as a London Diocesan Home Missionary (LDHM) priest for Harrow Weald and Wealdstone (which became the parish of St Michael and All Angels). He moved from there to St Gabriel's, which had also been a LDHM mission until 1931, when it achieved parish status. Fr Jones left St Gabriel's in 1953 and moved to Yorkshire. He returned to the south in 1966 when he was appointed to a living in Buckinghamshire, but tragically he died after less than two months in post, aged in his mid-60s.
2. The Rev'd Cyril Vincent Camplin Cogan (1928) is our second longest serving priest, having served the parish for 17 years from April 1928. He was our second full-time priest, but our first vicar. The mission to North Acton came to fruition during his incumbency, and he was the parish priest who had the privilege of seeing our church building completed, opened, and consecrated in 1931, by the Bishop of London. Father Camplin-Cogan was a Canadian, who was educated and ordained in Newfoundland, where he also served his early church appointments. Moving to London he became a London Diocesan Home Missionary (LDHM) for Twickenham in 1910, and oversaw the completion of the parish church there, and its consecration as All Saints, Twickenham, where he became the first Vicar in 1914. He remained in office throughout the First World War, but was in fact on active service as a temporary Chaplain to the Forces. He served with bravery and distinction, and was Mentioned in Despatches in 1919. He moved out of London for 10 years after the war, serving as parish priest of a Lincolnshire village from 1918 to 1928, before returning to London as LDHM (1928-1931), and then Vicar (from July 1931), here at St Gabriel's. He left us in 1945 to take up an incumbency in rural Somerset. Crockford's Clerical Directory appears to list "Camplin" as a given name, and "Cogan" as his surname, but both parish records and contemporary local press reports give his surname as "Camplin-Cogan".
1. The Rev'd William Marsh Rapson (1922) was our first priest, and one of Bishop Winnington-Ingram's London Diocesan Home Missionary (LDHM) priests. He guided our parish through its early years, when it was first established as a mission in the new suburb of North Acton. He was appointed in October 1921, started work in January 1922, and served through the days of the mission church (a temporary wooden building, designed to accommodate up to 150 worshippers), which preceded the building of our permanent church, supported by his hard-working wife. They had a young daughter, Diana, who was born in 1925, whilst they were at St Gabriel's. He was an interesting character, and being our very first priest, we have given him an extended biography here. (We do not currently have a photograph of Rapson, but are seeking one.)
Rapson was one of 5 children (a younger brother had been killed on active service in the First World War) of the Rev'd William Rapson and Elizabeth Marsh. Their father was a Wesleyan minister from Cornwall, and the family lived in Kent (Lydd on Romney Marsh) whilst the children were young. William Marsh Rapson (who was born in 1882) became a Wesleyan minister (like his father), and by 1911 was the minister of the Wesleyan church in North Street, Isleworth, Middlesex. In that year (1911) he led a combined group of Methodists and members of the Church of England, in building a non-denominational mission hall in South Street, Isleworth, where he continued to be their non-denominational minister. In 1915 the members, then numbering 46, decided to hand the mission over to the Established Church and become part of the Church of England again. Rapson decided at the same time to seek ordination as an Anglican; he was Confirmed (and so officially received into the Church of England) at All Saints Parish Church in December 1915 (Middlesex Chronicle, 11 December 1915); he was ordained Deacon in 1916, with a full report in the Middlesex Chronicle of 24 June 1916 about the ordination service in St Paul's Cathedral, at which members of the Mission Church were given reserved seats in the cathedral choir; he was ordained Priest in 1917.
Having become an Anglican priest, Fr Marsh Rapson served as Curate of All Saints, Isleworth, remaining Curate-in-Charge of the mission church he had founded there, which now became known as "All Saints Mission Church". His original chapel was replaced with a larger one in 1922 (which eventually became the church hall for All Saints' Church, and was serving in that capacity by 1958). In October 1921 he was appointed as the Mission Priest at the new North Acton (St Gabriel's) church plant, and he took up his duties in January 1922. Although our beuatiful church building had not yet been constructed, and Fr Marsh Rapson was leading worship first in a marquee (tent), and then in a temporary wooden church, the programme was nonetheless very full. Every Sunday he presided at Low Mass at 8.00am, Mattins at 10.00am, Sung Parish Eucharist at 11.00am, and Choral Evensong at 6.30pm.
After leaving St Gabriel's (in April 1928, following six years in post, and before the permanent church building was constructed) he became the vicar of St Anne's, Ambergate, in Derbyshire.
In 1930 the Marsh Rapsons returned to North Acton for the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of St Gabriel's church - their presence is recorded in the press report of the day (Acton Gazette, 21 November 1930). The completed church building was dedicated by the Bishop of London in a consecration ceremony on 18 July 1931, and again the Marsh Rapsons travelled from Derbyshire to be present, as recorded in the press report of the day (Acton Gazette, 24 July 1931). St Gabriel's was the first of Bishop Winnington-Ingram's "45 new churches for London".
The Rapsons were known by the composite surname "Marsh Rapson", although Marsh was in fact his mother's maiden name, and there is no evidence that his legal surname was ever anything other than "Rapson". Mrs Marsh Rapson was a committed charity and community worker. She was very involved with parish work in all her husband's parishes, and in her later years (as a widow) she became a national officer of the NSPCC.
Fr Marsh Rapson died on 16 October 1940, aged 58, after a short illness. His death was reported in the Derby Daily Telegraph the same day (16 October 1940) in the later editions, with a fuller obituary the following day. His funeral was held at St Anne's Church, Ambergate, and then Belper Cemetery, the following Saturday. His parishioners were very fond of him, and memorials were placed in the press on the anniversary of his death for many years afterwards.
Some Assistant Priests, Deacons, Readers, & Evangelists
This list is incomplete - further names welcomed.
Prior to 1922 (when the first Missioner was appointed) there were Evangelists from the Church Army working in North Acton from a mission hall in York Road; it was originally intended that the York Road site should be developed into the St Gabriel's Church Hall.
1920 - 1922 : Sister Sarah Henshaw(Church Army Sister and Commissioned Evangelist)
1926 - 1928 : The Rev'd James Carden(Honorary Assistant Curate (PTO))
1920s - 1930s : Thomas Harris(Licenced Parish Reader (Lay Reader) exact dates unknown)
1932 - 1934 : The Rev'd Henry Chatfield-Jude, AKC(Assistant Curate)
1933 - 1935 : The Rev'd Edward Bernard Ashby(Honarary Assistant Curate)
1936 - 1939 : The Rev'd John Austin Isaac Bickerstaff, BA(Assistant Curate)
1958-1960 : The Rev'd Paul Sanford Lansley, BA(Assistant Curate)
1960s (dates unknown) : The Rev'd Fr Wheeler(Honorary Assistant Priest (retired))
1971 - 1983 : The Rev'd John Herbert Williams, BA(Honorary Assistant Priest (Prison Chaplain))
1972 - 1974 : The Rev'd Ian Robert Henderson(Assistant Curate (NSM))
1993 - present : The Rev'd (Charles) Callan Slipper, PhD(Assistant Curate (NSM) 1993-1996)(Hon Assistant Priest (NSM) 1996-2012)(Hon Visiting Priest (NSM) 2012-2019)(Hon Assistant Priest (NSM) 2019 - present)
1996 - 2000 : The Rev'd Jane Hippisley Robinson, MA(Honorary Assistant Deacon (NSM))
2008 - 2016 : The Rev'd Paul Mark Smedley, MA(Honorary Assistant Priest (PTO - MSE))
2016 - present : Mark Samuel Livermore Corcoran, BA(Honorary Assistant Reader 2016-2020)(Licenced Parish Reader (LLM) 2020-present)