About the Roman Catholic Chapel at Highbridge, near Brambridge, in Hampshire
Although much altered and extended the building, which was once used as a Roman Catholic Chapel at Highbridge, survives today as a grade 2 listed dwelling, now known as, “The Chapel House”. Its location now lies in the parish of Otterbourne and it can be found to the west of Highbridge Road, south of Brambridge itself. It should not be confused with the now demolished older Church of England Parish Church of Otterbourne, the site of which can be found to the north of Kiln lane, in Otterbourne.
There are currently very few references to the Highbridge Roman Catholic Chapel to be found on-line, but the following web sites reveal some interesting information about this one time centre of Roman Catholicism.
The following is a short extract from a book called, “Old Times at Otterbourne” by Charlotte M. Yonge, a once famous author who lived in Otterbourne:
“The family of Smythe, Roman Catholics, long held Brambridge, and they endowed a little Roman Catholic Chapel at Highbridge. At one time, a number of their tenants and servants were of the same communion, and there is a note in the parish register by the curate to say that there were several families at Allbrook and Highbridge whose children he had not christened, though he believed they had been baptized by the Roman Catholic priest.“
I have read in, “Colden Common, a Village History” that, prior to the small chapel and priest’s house being “created” at Highbridge, in 1782, the local Catholics worshipped in a room in Brambridge House itself. (The “Listed Buildings” web site, see below, suggests that modifications were made to an existing building in 1782.)
This web site includes a map and aerial photograph, as well as revealing some interesting information about the architecture and history of the building, which was once used as a place of worship for Catholics, and also provided a home for a Catholic priest.
I believe that, between 1754 and 1837, marriages in England were only recognised in law if they had taken place in a Church of England church, with the only exceptions being for Quakers and those of the Jewish faith. Consequently, I believe that any marriage services and records, relating to the Highbridge Roman Catholic Chapel, will usually have been “replicated” in one of the nearby Church of England Parish Churches.