Parish History

The Roman Catholic Parish of

Our Lady the Immaculate Conception,

Devizes, Wiltshire

The Roman Catholic Parish of

Our Lady the Immaculate Conception,

Devizes, Wiltshire

Parish History

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The early days

The early days

After the Reformation in Tudor times, there was no Roman Catholic Priest in Devizes until 1861.

 

Captain Charles Dewell, while serving in India, had met some priests of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales. He arranged for one of the priests, Father Francis Larive, to travel to Malmesbury in Wiltshire and set up a mission there, using the Dewell home as a base.

 

However, when Father Larive arrived in Malmesbury, he found that the Dewell house was let. The Bishop suggested that he went to Chippenham as there was already a Mass Centre there, which served Chippenham, Rodbourne, Calne and Devizes.

During a visit to Devizes he met a Mrs Ann Davis, who pleaded with him to establish a Mass Centre in the town for the dozen or so Catholics there. Father Larive engaged her to look for premises that might be used as a chapel. He feared that making his own enquiries might arouse suspicion. A warehouse was found and Father Larive authorised Mrs Davis to inspect it and subsequently rent it for two years at £12 per year. It was here that the first Mass since the Reformation was celebrated on Sunday October 27th 1861.