Places of Worship
More formally, The Church of The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Parish Church, a short history of the building is is given in the Church pages.
A short history of the Chapel is available in the Chapel pages.
St Joseph'sThe Weedon family who built the current Souldern Manor were Roman Catholic, and a date of 1665 appears on stonework on one of the rooms known as “Old Vestry”. This room was probably used as a Roman Catholic Chapel. The house was let to the Kilby family on Weedon’s death from 1679 to 1757. In 1781 the Roman Catholic Chapel in the attic of the house was closed and the sacred vessels and vestments moved to London. Worshippers went to Tusmore and now to Hethe.
The Roman Catholic presbytery built for the incumbent of the Roman Catholic Church in Souldern is now a private house known as “St Josephs”.
St Joseph's Catholic School was built in 1879 adjacent to the Manor by Lt. Colonel Cox. Records show it had 18 pupils in 1887 and 8 in 1903. It closed in 1904. It is now also a private house “Appleton Lodge”
An excerpt from The Tablet from 1870: (http://archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/12th-february-1870/18/diocesan-news)
OPENING OF A NEW CHURCH AT SOULDERN, OXON.—On Candlemasday, the congregation of Souldern, near Banbury, Oxon, witnessed the interesting ceremony of the opening of a new chapel. The Mission of Souldern is one of the most ancient in England, having been maintained by the old family of Cox of Broxwood from a very early period. Owing to circumstances, the Mission had fallen for some years into disuse, when in the year 1852 the late Dr. Dolman reestablished the old state of things, the chapel being served from Hethe by the incumbent of that place, the Rev. Joseph Robson, and for many years after that date the congregation worshipped in an upper room in the Manor House at Souldern. However in the year 1868 the Bishop of Birmingham appointed a resident priest for the immediate neighbourhood of Souldern, and shortly afterwards it was resolved to build a chapel detached from the house, the chief expense of which Ls been borne by Mrs. Dolman. This building, which was solemnly opened on the 2d inst., is of a size suited to thewants of a small country congregation, but is very correct in design, being modelled upon the plan of our old mediæval parish churches. The roof especially, which is of open timber-work, has a remarkably good architectural effect. One interesting feature in the building is the altar rails, which were used in the days of persecution, and having been thoroughly renovated form a link between the past and present state of Catholicity in England. The ceremony of open.ng was performed, in the absence of the Bishop, by the Very Rev. Canon O'Sullivan, V. G., and it was also attended by the Revv. Joseph Robson and Dr. Sweeny of Hethe, and Rev. J. H. Souter of Banbury. The latter gentleman was accompanied by the Catholic choir of Banbury, who gave their very efficient services during Mass and Benediction. At II o' clock the chapel was filled by a crowded congregation, when the blessing and distribution of candles took place, followed by ./Wissa Cantata, the Celebrant being the Rev. Hugh McCarten, the priest of Souldern. After the gospel:the Vicar-General preached an excellent sermon suited to the occasion. When the service was at an end, the assembled company were entertained at luncheon by Captain Stapleton ; among those present were Mrs. Dolman, founder of the chapel, Major and Mrs. Cox of Broxwood Court, Mrs. Witham, &c.
Several complimentary speeches and toasts were made, among which the health of the Bishop was received with marked enthusiasm. After lunch the party returned to the chapel, when the choir sang some beautiful English hymns, followed by a sermon from Rev. Dr. Sweeny, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, it being the first time that this last.named rite had been celebrated at Souldern in modem times. The members of the congregation were treated in the evening to a substantial entertainment, and everybody appeared heartily pleased with the events of the day.