Church Name: Church of the Blessed Sacrament
(photo courtesy of Marist Archives, Wellington)
Situated at New Headford in Shands Road.
This church was called The Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament but some Baptismal records refer to the Church of St Stephen. This is puzzling, especially as the nearby Anglican church in Lincoln was called St Stephen’s.
In June 1871 Fr Chervier took charge of the country parts of Canterbury when Christchurch became a separate parish under Fr Ecuyer. Fr Chervier took up residence on Shands Track, near Lincoln, at a place he called New Headford, the land being given by Patrick Henley who gave one acre on the corner of Shands Track and Boundary Road for a church. In 1869 tenders were called for a church that would measure 40 feet by 20 feet. It was opened on New Year’s Day, 1871. Before it was opened Patrick Henley gave four more acres. A large presbytery that doubled as a school was built in 1871.
Once a new church was built in 1882 this building was used as a school and parish hall.
In the book Lake Ellesmere to Te Pirita Sarah Penney says: “Father Chervier made his headquarters at Patrick Henley’s house in Shands Road, which he called New Headford. At Mr Henley’s house Mass was said three or four times a year by priests on visits from Christchurch as Fr Chervier was away for long periods making visits throughout his large parish, mainly on foot. An acre of land was given by Mr Henley and a school was built that was used as a church. In 1870 Fr Chervier went to reside permanently in the locality. He obtained more land (1.2 hectares) from Mr P. Henley near the school and built a presbytery for £2000. The presbytery was a large one by the standards of the times and this may explain how it was possible to have some boarders there. Records seem to indicate that Fr Chervier was a keen educationalist by the facts that the buildings he had built in Lyttelton and Ashburton seemed to be church schools in the morning; that on weekdays they were used for teaching children, and that they were used on Sundays for religious purposes. With all the travelling that had to be done and with so few clergy, there would be Sundays without services.