The Church of St Alban the Martyr, Salford, Greater Manchester, celebrated Christmas 2012 with a new Altar.

The wooded altar with canopy, reredos, gradine, tabernacle and the Altar Stone was given on extended loan to the Anglican Catholic Church of St Alban the Martyr, Saford, Greater Manchester, by The Right Revd Damien Mead, Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the United Kingdom, Anglican Catholic Church, on 28th October 2012. Prior to this it was used in the Domestic Oratory of the Bishop in the garden of his residence in Lydd, Kent from August 2007.

Before coming into Bishop Mead’s care this altar stone and altar were taken from the former Chapel of St Benedict’s Convent, Penton Lodge, Penton Mewsey, Andover, Hampshire on 23rd June 2007 where it had been since 1946. Previously is was in the same altar in the chapel of St Benedict’s High School in Fareham where it had been from 1935. It is believed to be the same altar stone used in the home of Eugenie Kendall (1890 – 1969), later Reverend Mother , Superior and Prioress, foundress of St Benedict’s Convent School. in her home at Hatherden, near Andover, in 1921 (Upon which Mass was celebrated daily by the Roman Catholic parish priest of St John the Baptist, Andover, Fr James O’Sullivan) as referred to in her letter dated 29th April 1936 written to the RC Bishop of Portsmouth. However, no longer having need of it, the Bishop was thankful that Mr Roy Hipkiss was willing to deliver the Altar to the Church in Salford back in October 2012.

(We are indebted to Patrick Pontet-Piccolomini, Archivist of the parish of St John the Baptist, Andover, for the information above about the Altar’s history and the old photographs).

The photographs show the altar at St Albans and in situ in some of its previous homes. including where it had been adapted for use for a ‘westward’ facing Mass in a school chapel.

Bishop Mead also presented as a gift to the Parish, not on loan, new wooden Church Chairs and a set of 6 matching brass candlesticks for the altar.

The Lord also gave a gift. All the way from Kent, a Butterfly was found alive and well under the altar when it was being installed in St Alban’s.