St Mary's Ladybrook
Written in 2008 for St Mary’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations
The need for a church
In 1953 the then Bishop of Southwell, Dr F R Barry, saw the need for a church to be established to cater for the needs of the post-war housing estate being built in the Bancroft Lane and Ladybrook areas.
He appointed Rev John C Milner who was at the time serving as senior curate at East Retford to be the first Priest in Charge of the Convential District of Ladybrook and to build up a congregation.
John Milner was no stranger to Mansfield having served as curate at the parish church and it was there that I first knew him. He came to live in Mansfield at St Peter’s Vicarage with Canon Norman Hodd and his family until eventually the council gave 207 Ladybrook Lane as the place for him to live and work from. Knowing John Milner, I rang him and offered any assistance I could give to help in the setting up of a church.
Worship venue & first services
Ethel Wainwright School hall was to be the worship venue and it was my task on Saturday evenings to collect hymn and service books from St Peter’s and return them on Sunday after Evensong.
The first services were held on 8th October 1953 and were well attended. Many people began to attend and a large Sunday School developed and two sessions were held in the afternoon to accommodate all the children. Thus the foundation of a parish was laid.
The Brook of our Lady
Eventually the design and name of the new parish church were unveiled. Originally the idea was to name it St Luke’s because, as in the gospels, it was to be situated between St Mark’s and St John’s but in the end it was St Mary Ladybrook because of the area in which it was to serve – the brook of Our Lady.
Foundations & fund raising
The foundations were laid and a service of blessing was conducted by Dr Barry and the ground consecrated.
People worked hard to raise money and the businesses in the town gave much support through the efforts of Canon Norman Hodd, the Rural Dean.
Consecration of the new church
Eventually the church was built and the day of consecration arrived – 13th July 1957.
Choirs from the other churches joined with St Mary’s and the great service of consecration was held by the Bishop and many supporting clergy. The following day a procession left Ethel Wainwright School and made its way along Harrop White Road up Ladybrook Lane and into the church for another service and the day’s events were completed by the service of Evensong. Thus St Mary Ladybrook was established after much hard work and prayer.
50th Anniversary -2008
On this 50th Anniversary it is appropriate to give thanks for the vision of Dr Barry, the establishing work of John Milner, who was greatly supported by Canon Norman Hodd, and for all those people who gave of their time and talents in those early days.
We also need to be mindful of all the priests who have served since John Milner and been supported by the lay people of the parish and for them and all their efforts in maintaining the work of St Mary Ladybrook we say ‘Thanks be to God.’