This is a PowerPoint presentation with notes of a talk, based on recent original research, on the first six priests of St. Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church, Surbiton, KT1 2NA [www.straphaelsurbiton, ]. It was given on Sunday, 26 March 2023 as part of the Church’s 2023 Lent Project in support of the “Bread of Life” charity of the Sons of Divine Providence []. The priests were Jeremiah Donovan, 1850-1853, Henry Clark, 1853-1854, James Doyle, 1854-1855, John Ainsworth, 1855-1880, William Morley, 1880-1899, and Emile du Plerny, 1899-1907.  All served as a chaplain to the different owners of the Church at the time.  Additionally, each priest was appointed by the Bishop of Southwark as head [Missionarius Apostolicus] of the Catholic Mission to Kingston upon Thames.  An account of each priest’s life and ministry, as far as can be ascertained, is provided.  On the instigation of Bishop Thomas Grant, Frs. Clark and Doyle served as army chaplains in the Crimean War.  During Fr. Morley’s ministry, The Countess of Mexborough, the owner of the Church, dispensed with his services as chaplain, and the Church was closed for nearly three years. In the meantime, Sunday Masses were said in St. James’s Hall, St. James’s Road, Kingston and on weekdays at Fr. Morley’s nearby house. The evidence indicates that all six priests were highly respected by their congregations and by Kingston non-Catholics alike.

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The Author

David A. Kennedy, PhD

About 20 years ago, I accompanied my late wife to some talks on the use of computers in historical research and began to help her with her genealogical studies. Later, I took part in a project, organised by the Centre for Local History Studies at Kingston University, to digitise the Enumerators’ Books for the Kingston Census of 1851-1891. This rekindled my interest in history, especially that of Kingston upon Thames, where I live. This website has been set up so that I can share my research findings, some based on digitised material, with others who may be interested in them.

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