top of page

St. Tarcisius Church

Summer 2009 ST Tarcisius.jpg

St. Tarcisius church

II Roman Catholic church. Built between 1923 and 1926 by F A Walters specifically as a war memorial to British Catholic officers who died in the First World War, many of whom were trained at the Staff College or the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.


The Church is of Perpendicular style. Built of Bargate coursed stone rubble with Bath stone dressings and tiled roof.


Comprises of a west tower with porch underneath and baptistery to the side, four bay nave with north aisle, lower two bay chancel and transepts with side chapels.


EXTERIOR: The west tower of three stages has a crenellated parapet and arched and louvred windows to the bell chamber. Triple traceried window below, over the west door with carved stone head and double doors. Offset buttresses.


The Baptistery to north has two cinquefoil-headed lights. The Nave has two-light arched windows divided by buttresses and cross-shaped saddlestone to east. Gabled transepts with traceried windows. The Chancel has elaborate five-light traceried east window and cross-shaped saddlestone.


INTERIOR: Marble memorial tablets inside the porch.


The nave has a pitch pine arched braced roof with kingposts and an arcade of Bath stone pointed arches supported on octagonal columns.


The transepts have larger Bath stone arches on columns and there is a wooden gallery to the north transept. There is an octagonal carved stone pulpit and an octagonal stone font. The original oak pews survive.


The south chapel has a carved reredos and the north Lady Chapel has triple arches and a stone reredos depicting the Virgin and Child and angels.


The chancel has a barrel-vaulted pitch pine roof, carved white alabaster altar rail and carved Beer stone reredos with six canopies above Catholic saints and martyrs, St Tarcisius, St Pancras, St Augustine, St Patrick, St George and St Sebastian.


Many stained glass windows are by Paul Woodroffe (1875-1954).


A well designed and unusually well-preserved 1920s Perpendicular style Bargate stone Catholic church built specificially as a War Memorial to British Catholic officers Supreme Sacrifice made during World War 1914-1918 by British Officers, many of whom received their training at the Staff College and at the RMC Sandhurst.


Designed by: Mr F A Walters F.S.A., architecht of Great ormand Street, London

‘Perpendicular Gothic’. Tower 50 feet high.Internal length 96 feet

Stone: Bargate/Godalming. Reredos –Beer stone from South Devon.

Cost: £13,500. Never any debt.

High Altar in memory of Mr Allan MacDonnell, his wife and son Hugh.

History of the Mission and Parish of Camberley:

1869 on 19 Aug First Mass at Mr Crutchfield’s Staff Hotel in London Road said by Fr Purcell. Masses then said in house of Mr John Hughes at No5 London Road.

1870-1874 Camberley served from Aldershot.

1873 on Jan 25th. The school site bought for £120

1874 Rev John McKenna appointed as first Mission Priest at Camberley

1879 Lady Southwell gave London Road site for a permanent church

1884 – Iron church erected on school site

1888 – Priest’s House built. Later Iron church moved alongside it.

1896 School enlarged

1906 Fr Twomey appointed to Camberley

1923 on 1 July new brick church commenced. 12 Sept foundation stone laid by bishop Peter Amigo.

1924 on18 Nov new church opened.

1926 on 26 June the new church and three altars consecrated by Bishop W F Brown, bishop of Pella.

1931 in Sept the pulpit erected

1934 in June benches installed

1935 on 29 March the East stained glass windows erected.


Canon Patrick Twomey (Fr Paddy)

Ordained 23 June 1901. Bermondsey. Died 14 April 1950 aged 74. Canon Twomey First Parish Priest, Camberley also first Chaplain RMC Sandhurst


Bagshot Parish

1904-1934 Bagshot formed part of the Catholic Mission or parish of Camberley

26 Sept 1930 Fr Edward Gallagher – assistant to Fr Twomey and Priest in Charge Bagshot



Cadets went to St Tarcisius for Mass and instruction. Relieved by War Office by regular Army Chaplain in the 1930s. Canon Twomey felt the loss of the care of RMC keenly. 100 RC cadets out of 850. Raison d’etre for town and the parish was the Staff College.


Priests of the Mission and Parish of Camberley

Rev John McKenna appointed as first Mission Priest at Camberley - 1874-1882

Reverend Michael O’Neil 1882-1887

Reverend John O’Meara 1887-1888

Reverend John Golden 1888-1890

Reverend Columba Ellison 1890

Reverend Thomas Ford 1890-1895

Reverend Alexander McAuliffe 1895-1896

Reverend William Fitcher 1896-1897

Reverend Francis Bennett 1897-1906

Reverend Canon Patrick Twomey 1906-1950

Reverend Canon Edward Fennessy 1950-1953

Reverend Canon Walter Quinlan 1953-1963

Reverend Joseph Flanagan 1963-1973

Reverend Brendan Burke 1973-1995

Reverend Anthony Heerey 1995-1998

Reverend Michael Reynolds 1998-2007

Reverend Monsignor Richard Madders 2008-2016

Reverend Andrew Moss CCJ 2016-2017

Reverend Paul Turner 2017- Date

About St. Tarcisius

Tarcisius was a twelve-year-old acolyte during one of the fierce Roman persecutions of the third century, probably during that of Valerian. Each day, from a secret meeting place in the catacombs where Christians gathered for Mass, a deacon would be sent to the prisons to carry the Eucharist to those Christians condemned to die. At one point, there was no deacon to send and so St. Tarcisius, an acolyte, was sent carrying the "Holy Mysteries" to those in prison.

On the way, he was stopped by boys his own age who were not Christians but knew him as a playmate and lover of games. He was asked to join their games, but this time he refused and the crowd of boys noticed that he was carrying something. Somehow, he was also recognized as a Christian, and the small gang of boys, anxious to view the Christian "Mysteries," became a mob and turned upon Tarcisius with fury. He went down under the blows, and it is believed that a fellow Christian drove off the mob and rescued the young acolyte.

The mangled body of Tarcisius was carried back to the catacombs, but the boy died on the way from his injuries. He was buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus, and his relics are claimed by the church of San Silvestro in Capite.

In the fourth century, Pope St. Damasus wrote a poem about this "boy-martyr of the Eucharist" and says that, like another St. Stephen, he suffered a violent death at the hands of a mob rather than give up the Sacred Body to "raging dogs." His story became well known when Cardinal Wiseman made it a part of his novel Fabiola, in which the story of the young acolyte is dramatized and a very moving account given of his martyrdom and death.

Tarcisius, one of the patron saints of altar boys, has always been an example of youthful courage and devotion, and his story was one that was told again and again to urge others to a like heroism in suffering for their faith. In the Passion of Pope Stephen, written in the sixth century, Tarcisius is said to be an acolyte of the pope himself and, if so, this explains the great veneration in which he was held and the reason why he was chosen for so difficult a mission.

Thought for the Day: Mere boys can become saints, and youth is no barrier to holiness. The call to holiness begins at baptism, and we do not have to wait for old age and gray hair to serve God. Youthful saints tell us something about sanctity, and their example is especially luminous as they dedicate their young lives to God.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': In a race, everyone runs but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best.  

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Screenshot 2024-01-15 201158.png


Help Those In Need

At the Camberley and Bagshot Catholic Parish, we believe in the power of giving. Your donations help us to support our community and continue God's work in the world.

[Proverbs 19:17]


The Camberley and Bagshot Catholic Parish is a part of

The Catholic Diocese of
Arundel & Brighton

bottom of page