All Souls – History

All_Souls_soon_after_built-320.jpgThe Rev. R.E. Johnston was appointed Priest-in-Charge of the District called Cheriton Street when he came here in 1891. It has been recognised that the ancient Saxon parish of Cheriton, (the name means "Church Farm"), needed a second church, nearer the area of Victorian development, following the westward enlargement of Folkestone during the 1880’s. The Saxon parish extended from Crete Road on the Downs across farmland down Horn Street to Seabrook, with its ancient church of St. Martin. The railway embankment suggested a convenient boundary for the prospective new parish which would develop along the axis of Cheriton Road from Shorncliffe railway station - now called Folkestone West - through Morehall and Cheriton Street towards Newington. But what about funding the projected new church?

This was greatly helped by the prospect of claiming a bequest by Mrs. Thompson, a local farmer’s widow who had died in 1887. She had in her will left a plot of land to the Church Commissioners for building a new church, backed up with a bequest of £10,000 towards building the church and vicarage. But there was a legal hitch - she had died before signing the land conveyance deed, and it took 2 years of legal process through the Court of Chancery before her trustees could had over the land on which All Souls Church now stands But Mrs. Thompson’s project was fulfilled. The new parish church was designed by Ewan Christian, a notable architect; it took a year to build, and the Parish church of All Souls was consecrated by Archbishop Benson on 3rd January 1895. Rev. Johnston, promoted as Vicar, moved with his wife into the Vicarage, from their temporary tenancy at Enbrook Manor (Risborough Lane). The dedication had been inspired by his desire to help the population of Cheriton Street to grow into a community, the Church helping "all souls" to realise the love of God - Ezekiel 18 v4.

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