The Chapel at Marsden was probably not dedicated.

J.J. Wilson said Father Colomb purchased a house at Clifton, near Marsden, to make a chapel, which may be this building, but the two settlements were about a kilometre apart and quite distinct, with other sources referring to a church at Clifton..

Greymouth, the First 100 Years, says: “About 1883 Barrytown and Marsden were added to the parish of Greymouth, little churches having previously being erected at both places by the Rev. Father Rolland.

Another source says the Marsden church was built in 1883

Finally, in Valley of Little Towns Rona Adshead says: “In February of 1873 Bishop Moran, the newly appointed bishop of Dunedin, undertook the Herculean task of inspecting these West Coast parishes. After opening the Greenstone Church he passed through Marsden where he “received addresses” and his carriage was then escorted to Greymouth by a body of horsemen. Doubtless he was consulted over the desirability of acquiring land for a future church, probably looked over the suggested site and gave his approval for 10 acres to be bought when the Marsden sections were auctioned in April. This was negotiated by Cornelius O’Driscoll and his committee as trustees of the Catholic Church at a cost of £1 per acre. But it was to be 10 years before Father Rolland saw to the building of the Marsden church prior to his departure from Ahaura in 1884.

“The Marsden church never grew to the status of serving a parish and was thus designated a chapel. The site on which it was built is called Chapel Hill to this day [1986]. It is a gentle rise from the main road that commands a fine view of the valley where the township once nestled.

“In 1892 the parish annual report noted briefly that the chapel was in need of repair. This is probably when the totara shingle roof was covered in corrugated iron which was the unwitting cause of its destruction. Late in 1916 when some unwanted scrub was being cleared nearby, stray sparks lodged between the iron and shingle and, before anyone was aware of it, fire had spread through the roof. The difficulty of bringing water sealed its fate. The tiny wooden church was soon razed to the ground.

“Today [1986] a moss covered hawthorn marks the foundation. If one is prepared to search through the tangle of gorse, scrub and long grass, the remains of gateposts, staunchly upright against the ravages of time, can be found where the two upward paths meet.”


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