Church History

The history of the Church.

The full history of St Peter's can be downloaded from this document,  what follows is a guide around our Church.


The Church in 1940 

P1080125-1024x768Start at the back of the church. Turn round and look up at the back wall – the east wall and the ceiling. This area was originally going to be the place for the altar and if you have seen any ancient churches in Italy you will recognise the style. Look down at the bottom left corner and a stone tells you that this part of the church was begun on 1st August 1940.

P1080126Now look above the main entrance where there is a portrait of the first Catholic priest of this Church, Father John Lopes.

It was under his inspiration and generosity that this church was built. He wanted a grand building to mark the return of Catholicism to the site of the great Abbey of Eynsham but the 2nd World War made further building impossible. So for almost 30 years, the altar stood here, whilst the rest of the church was just a large wooden hut. Fr. Lopes never gave up his dream for the church to be finished to his original design, and so it was not until after his death in 1961 that a more modest church, the one you see now, could be built, begun in 1966 and consecrated in 1968. Fr. Lopes is buried in the graveyard outside and was so well-known in Eynsham that a road is named after him. 

The New Church of 1968

When the new church was built, the whole church was turned round the other way with a new altar at the west end of the church, just like St Peter’s, Rome – though smaller of course! 


To read more about the Church, please follow the Church Tour on the right site menu.