Parish History-New Church

fr gerryBut in 1949 Fr Gerry Langley became Parish Priest and remained in Swaffham for 21 years. It is to him that the Parish owes more than to anybody else. He was a man of great presence, huge energy and strong opinions. What parishioners nowadays would like to be told in the Bulletin:

"The turnout for (the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham), for which plenty of notice was given and a special plea made, was lamentable. No reason other than indifference seems to explain the facts .... May God make us ashamed of our apathy towards his Mother"

But it was through forcefulness of personality as well as energy in fund-raising that Fr Langley was able to design, plan and build both the Church and the Presbytery. This caused such interest that he was interviewed by the BBC Radio for 'East Anglian Highlights' in 1957, and recommended by the producer to the Midland Region Television organiser in a letter which stated:

"...I think it will be of interest to you. Much of the work involved in the building is being done by members of the congregation. Already they have cleared the site. They are to pull down the Priest’s House, and individual members are to be responsible for the heating system and the main doors. Help is being given as well by some non-Catholics .... The other unusual feature is that no architect is being employed. Father Langley has designed the church himself. He has already drawn up detailed plans, and at present he is constructing a scale model. There has been a lot of criticism about this. A Norfolk architect wrote to the 'Eastern Daily Press' stating that the church would probably fall down!