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Places of Worship

St Mary's

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.

Wesleyan Chapel

The Chapel sadly closed permanently in April 2020 due to a decline over many years in the number of people regularly attending services. The numbers became so few that it was no longer possible to continue.

The Wesleyan Reform Union gave the trustees permission to sell the building. The sale completed in March 2024 to Souldern Sports and Social Club CIO. All money raised from the sale will be returned to the WRU.

In 1818 and 1819 dissenting meeting houses were licensed so a small Wesleyan Chapel was built in Chapel Row in 1850, (now the end private house there — No 4)

In 1869 a group of Wesleyan Reformers were given land by James Cox who owned The Laurels (now Spring House). The original Trust Deed stated that the Chapel should also be used as a Sabbath school for teaching children and a small room was built on the side of the Chapel. The Trustees included Mr Fox and the foundation stone was laid on the 6th July 1869 in its present position in Back Lane.

In 1893 work began on a new school room and it was opened in 1895 and refurbished in 2006. It has been used ever since as a Sunday School with Mrs Audrey Westbury as Leader until her retirement due to ill health in March 2016.

In 1994 there were 125th Anniversary Celebrations.

Mr Robert Hitchman the author of three books recording his life and work in Souldern was one of the original members and a plaque was placed in the pulpit dedicated to his memory in 1994.

In 2009 John and Margret Goulder prepared a more detailed history of the chapel and Audrey Westbury recorded some memories of her long association with the Sunday school as part of the 140th Anniversary celebrations.

St Joseph's

The 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: (

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 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.