After the passing of the Toleration Act, Roman Catholics of the district had been able to worship publicly and did so in the Cary chapel at Torre Abbey. However, in 1853, Mr R S S Cary gave "a plantation of fine beech trees" in Abbey Road as the site for a new church, the foundation stone of which was laid in April 1853 by Bishop Errington.

Early in 1854, the Church of the Assumption, described as "an excellent example of Early English architecture" was consecrated by the same Bishop. The presbytery was built three years later (this subsequently became part of the school and a new one built). The foundation stone for Abbey Road RC Schools was laid in July 1857.

On 20th February 1887 the "Angelus Bell" was rung for the first time in 350 years. The bell, paid for by members of its congregation, was put up in the "long vacant turret" in the Church. Catholics had, for centuries, rung an Angelus bell throughout the world at the time of services to commemorate the Lord's Incarnation but the practice had been banned in 1536 by Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General to Henry VIII. In that year it was rung at Torre Abbey for the last time.

© copyright John Pike

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