A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
Crowning Achievement – The crowning achievement of the century has come within the last three years – the provision of another church to meet the needs of increasing numbers of Catholics in Taunton, particularly those living in the large housing area of Priorswood and Lyngford. In his original letter of appeal, issued in March, 1957, Canon Iles wrote : “In view of the close association of Taunton with Lisieux, it has been decided, in consultation with the Bishop, that the church should be dedicated to St. Teresa. In three years’ time we shall be celebrating the Centenary of St. George’s Church, and in gratitude to our forefathers who provided for us a church of which we are justly proud, and privileged to worship in, I am confident that all our loyal parishioners will welcome the opportunity of celebrating in a worthy manner that joyous event. Could there be any more appropriate way of observing the occasion than by the erection of another church in our town?” This aim has been realised. St. Teresa’s built at a cost of £18,000 (with seating for about 250 people), was blessed and opened by the Bishop on October 8th, 1959.
The confidence expressed by Canon Iles at the outset has been rewarded. At the time of the opening of the church the building fund had reached about £5, 750, obtained mainly by regular monthly collection, plus direct donations. Since then, the fund has increased to £6, 440 by the end of February. The March figures complete the total for three years. It will be seen, however, that a substantial debt remains to be cleared; hence St. George’s parishioners, including all now attending Mass at St. Teresa’s, are called upon to continue their loyal support. It is a pleasure to record that the Sunday Mass attendance at St. Teresa’s has fully established the need for the church in that locality. The first chairman of the Building Fund Committee and of the Executive was Mr. F. T. Naylor. His successor (from April 1959), in consequence of his leaving Taunton, has been Mr. J. L. Newman.
On 13th November 1958, Bishop Joseph Rudderham laid the foundation stone and it was he who opened the church on 8th October 1959. The architect was Eric Carwardine Francis of Taunton and the builders were Messrs Stansell & Son Ltd. This is the only known church design by Francis, who otherwise specialised in domestic work. The overall style is described by The Buildings of England as a mixture of ‘Georgian and Swedish Modern’. The crucifix in the apse was carved by a local artist, Estcourt Clack, and the Stations of the Cross are made of fabric and are believed to have originated from Buckfast Abbey.
See ‘Taking Stock’ for a full architectural description.