Incumbents

The Old Church

Ministry at St Peter’s during its time as a chapel-of-ease was carried out by a succession of assistant priests from St James’ Parish Church:

1838Revd Edmond Strong MAExeter College, Oxford
1839Revd Robert Cave Wood Collins MAExeter College, Oxford
1842Revd Henry Griffin MAQueens College, Oxford
1843Revd John Henry BroomeQueen’s College, Cambridge
1845Revd Edward Robert Twiss MAUniversity College, Oxford
1847Revd Henry Milne MABrasenose College, Oxford
1854Revd Robert Thompson Branson MAPembroke College, Oxford
1866Revd John Lambert Knowles MAPembroke College, Oxford
1873Revd Hamilton Llewellyn Gerty DD MATrinity College, Dublin
1884Revd George Townshend  MAAmherst, Nova Scotia
1885Revd Thomas Denham Williams  MAJesus College, Oxford
1886Revd Stewart Sim  MATrinity College, Oxford

Very little is known about their ministry, except for brief mentions of three of them. The Revd John Henry Broome was a former Lieutenant in HM 10th Infantry and left St Peter’s to become the Vicar of Houghton, Norfolk. He was a fairly prolific author and had several works attributed to him, including “A Word on the Divine Promises as to the Restoration of the Jews to their own Land”; “A Prayer for the House of Israel”; and “The Story of Papal Rome”.

The Revd E R Twiss is remembered in a stone inscription fixed in the bell ringing chamber which reads:

RESURGAM
Sacred to the memory of the Revd Edward Robert Twiss MA
late of University College, Oxford and assistant Minister of
St Peter’s Church, Bushey Heath. He departed this life on
the 13th December 1847 in his 30th year.
His mortal remains repose in the new Catacomb under the
Chapel of the Cemetery at Kensal Green

The Revd Branson lived at Sparrows Herne House. Before taking over the curacy of St. Peter’s, he was Rector of Testerton in Norfolk. He died on the 8th December 1866 at Havre-des-Pas, Jersey aged 42 and is buried in St. James’ church.

The New Church

Revd Spencer Richard Arthur Buller MA – 1889/1896

  • Born Huntingdon 1852
  • Ordained Priest 1876
  • Curate St. Mary’s, Bury St. Edmunds 1875/1877
  • Holy Trinity, Twickenham 1877/1884
  • Vicar Holy Trinity, Twickenham 1884/1889
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1889/1896
  • Rector Harpenden 1896/1903
  • Weybridge 1903/
  • Rural Dean Emley 1915/1921
  • Died Weybridge 1925

The Revd Spencer Buller moved from Holy Trinity, Twickenham and was inducted by the Bishop of St Albans as the first vicar of the newly created parish of St Peter’s, Bushey Heath on the 19th July 1889. He was the distant cousin of General Sir Redvers Buller who led the British force in the relief of Ladysmith in the Boer War. A keen temperance man and a member of the Church of England Temperance Society, he also held strong views on the importance of the churching of women after childbirth, ‘to render thanks to God for safe deliverance from the grave danger of childbirth’

Due largely to his great drive and initiative, a new chancel was built and consecrated on the 8th June 1891 and a new organ installed less than two years after his induction. Spencer Buller also built the Mission Hall on Police Station Lane, using his own funds, which remained as part of the parish plant until 1968. In June 1896 he announced that he had preached 733 times in church! Perhaps the Bishop overheard for he left soon afterwards to become Rector of Harpenden.

Revd John Llewellyn Pugh Thomas MA 1896/1904

  • Born Oswestry 1862
  • College Christchurch, Oxford MA 1894
  • Ordained Priest 1894
  • Curate All Saints, Croxley Green 1892/1893
  • Ewell, Surrey 1894/1896
  • Vicar St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1896/1904
  • Aldbury, Much Hadham, Herts. 1904/1919
  • Rector Oswaldkirk, York 1919/1934
  • Permission to Officiate – Diocese of York 1934/1935
  • Permission to Officiate –  Diocese of Guildford 1935/1940
  • Died Redhill, Surrey 1942

Spencer Buller was succeeded by the second vicar, the Revd J L P Thomas, who was inducted at St Peter’s into his first incumbency in 1896, having served two curacies in Croxley Green and Ewell. Probably the two most important events in the district during his reign were the opening of the new Clergy Orphan Corporation School, St Margaret’s on Merry Hill Lane in 1897 and the death of one of his most prominent parishioners, Simpson Noakes JP, in the same year. At this time there was a lively curate, the Revd E A Lane (1900-1904) who was deeply involved in the social and community life of the parish and was also responsible for services in the Mission Hall. Both the vicar and curate left in 1904.

Revd Thomas Sadgrove BA 1904/1909

  • Born Cambridge 1858
  • College Trinity College, Dublin BA 1891
  • Ordained Priest 1887
  • Asst. Master Liverpool College 1884/1887
  • Curate Eccleston 1886/1889
  • St. Mary, Plaistow, Essex 1889/1896
  • Vicar Aldbury, Much Hadham, Herts. 1896/1904
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1904/1909
  • Rector Fairstead, Essex 1909/1925
  • Retired Colchester & then Taunton 1925
  • Died Taunton 1941

The induction of the Revd Thomas Sadgrove as the third vicar took place on the 13th August 1904. He and the previous vicar exchanged parishes, John Pugh Thomas taking over Thomas Sadgrove’s parish of Aldbury, Much Hadham. It was during Revd Sadgrove’s vicariate that the new vicarage was built on the site now occupied by St Peter’s Close. The curate at this time was the Revd J A Mackinney (1905-1909).

Revd Thomas Vernon Garnier MA 1909/1916

  • Born Mitford 1875
  • College Trinity College, Oxford BA 1901
  • Wells College MA 1901 
  • Curate Frodsham 1901/1904 
  • Domestic Chaplain – Bishop of St. Albans 1904/1909
  • Vicar St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1909/1915
  • Chaplain to the Forces 1915/1919
  • Vicar Tring, Herts. 1919/1930
  • Rector Colkirk w. Oxwich, Norfolk 1930/1939
  • Died West Looe Cornwall 1939

n 1909 the Reverends Sadgrove and Mackinney left and were succeeded by the Revd Thomas Vernon Garnier, the fourth vicar, with Charles Henry Barker (1909-1913) as curate. Ernest Cobb in his old age was able to recall the vicar’s enthusiasm for cricket. Ernest was a choir boy and a member of the church team who played their games on The Warren House private cricket pitch and on practice nights, the Revd Garnier would put a penny on a cricket stump and invite the boys to knock it off bowling from a normal length. The boy who hit the stumps kept the penny. Play ended when the vicar’s stock of pennies ran out!

The curate, Charles Barker had a strong interest in music and organised a successful choir at the Mission Hall while the vicar set about raising funds to complete the new church building. His endeavours were rewarded when the new church, designed by architect George Fellows-Prynne, was dedicated on 1 February 1913 by the Bishop of St Albans in the presence of a large congregation and many visiting clergy. In the same year Mr. Barker moved to Chipperfield and the parish was left without a curate for the next 23 years.

Revd Charles Henry Barker MA 1915/1930

  • Born Kensington 1882
  • College Sydney Sussex, Cambridge MA 1911 
  • Ordained Priest 1906
  • Curate St. Bartholomew, East Ham 1905/1908 
  • St. James, Bournemouth 1908/1909
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1909/1913
  • Vicar Chipperfield, Herts. 1913/1915
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1915/1930
  • Ill Health 1930/1934
  • Public Preacher St. Albans Diocese 1934/1936
  • Vicar Eastbourne 1936/1943
  • Retired Watford/Bournemouth 1943
  • Died Bournemouth 1960

In 1916 the former curate, the Revd C H Barker, returned as the fifth Vicar of St Peter’s and was inducted on 5th February . Upon his return, he continued to indulge his passion for church music and it was during this period that St Peter’s reputation for choral music was probably at its greatest. When the Parochial Church Council (Powers) measure was passed by Parliament in 1921, St Peter’s moved quickly to elect its new PCC “to cooperate with the incumbent in the church work in the parish”. The first task of the council was to pay off an accumulated debt on the new church building and with a generous response to the vicar’s appeal for funds, the church was soon free of debt.

Charles Barker then turned his attention to raising money for a new organ and helped by his enthusiasm for church music, his task was completed within two years and a new organ was installed in 1919. And then in 1921/2 he was able to complete two major projects – the installation of the peal of eight bells, a benefaction by Sir David & Lady Rutherford which were dedicated in October 1921 and the building of a Memorial Chapel to the fallen of the Great War, dedicated in February 1922.

The Revd Barker’s health began to fail in the late twenties and in 1930 he was compelled to resign his living, but by 1936 he had recovered sufficiently to assume new responsibilities as vicar of Eastbourne. There was never a curate at St Peter’s during the whole period of his incumbency.

Revd George Aiden Kingsford Hervey MA 1931/1934

  • Born Halifax 1893
  • College Trinity College, Oxford BA 1916 
  • Cuddlesden MA 1920 
  • Ordained Priest 1923
  • Curate Ruabon, Clwyd 1922/1924
  • Woodhouse 1924/1926
  • Vicar Buttermere 1926/31
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1931/1934
  • Chaplain Bryanston School, Salisbury 1934/1942
  • Vicar Gilsland w. Over Denton, Cumb.1942/1946
  • Rector Gt. Salkeld, Cumberland 1946/1965
  • Died Penrith 1967

The Revd G A K Hervey ,who moved from Cumberland, became the sixth vicar and was inducted on 6th March 1931. He was a keen teacher and helped many young people to understand the basic truths of the Christian faith. He introduced church tutorial classes and Sunday evening discussion services which drew large congregations. It was no surprise when in 1934 he resigned to become chaplain of Bryanston public school, before returning north in 1942 to resume his church ministry in Cumberland.

Revd Maurice Baldwin Stuart-Fox 1934/1939

  • Born Reading 1876
  • College London College of Divinity 1897 
  • Ordained Priest 1900
  • Curate St. John Evangelist, Penge 1899/1906
  • Christchurch, Eastbourne 1906/1912
  • Rector St. Mark’s, Bexhill 1912/1922
  • Vicar St. Martin;s, Bedford 1922/1934
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1934/1939
  • Chaplain St. Margaret’s School, Bushey 1939/1944
  • Retired Torquay
  • Died Carnden, Midlothian 1958

George Hervey was succeeded as the seventh vicar by the Revd M B Stuart-Fox, who was inducted on 12th October 1934 and came to St Peter’s with a long experience of parochial work. He was particularly keen to keep the church finances under control. The congregation and demands on the church were still increasing and so the old Mission Hall was repurchased in 1936 for £500 by the St Albans New District Fund in trust for the Parish of Bushey Heath. With financial assistance from St James’, it was completely refurbished as a place of worship and rededicated on 10th February 1937 under its new name of St Christopher’s Hall.

In 1936, the parish was able to engage a curate, the Revd Reginald Pym Lempriere Parkin (1936-1940) who was made responsible for St Christopher’s Hall. The late Miss F Cobb (Cobbie) remembered Mr Parkin well and his work with young people. She conducted a young people’s group at the Hall on Mondays and recalls evening trips to Stanmore Common to listen to the nightingales! The vicar moved a few yards down the road in 1934 to take up an appointment as chaplain at St Margaret’s School, Bushey, where he stayed throughout the war, before retiring to Torquay.

Revd Arthur Gerald Sayer MA 1939/1946

  • Born Paddington, London 1888 
  • College Magdalen College, Oxford BA 1910 Ely Theological College 1911
  • Ordained Priest 1912
  • Curate St. Paul’s, Swindon 1911/1913
  • Folkstone 1913/1916
  • St. Peter’s, Bournemouth 1916/1923
  • Vicar Westend, Southampton 1923/1928
  • Perm. to Officiate, Diocese of Truro 1928/1929
  • Curate Lelant, Cornwall 1929/1931
  • Vicar St. Michael & A.A. Maidstone 1931/1938
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1939/1946
  • Perm. to Officiate, Truro, Exeter & Winchester 1946/1970
  • Died Winchester 1971

Parish life during the war years at St Peter’s was conducted by the eighth vicar, the Revd Arthur G Sayer, who was inducted on 23rd June 1939 a few weeks before the outbreak of war. His curates were the D J F Rees (1940-1943) and P B Denny from 1943.

During 1940 and 1941 the Revd Sayer enabled the Church to become involved in the war effort! The church tower, being one of the highest points in Hertfordshire, was used by the Home Guard to advise the local ARP, the Rescue and the Fire Services just where bombs were being dropped. A heavy and concentrated air-raid was self-evident, but on most nights single planes would appear, dropping bombs indiscriminately over London and the suburbs. The quickest way to identify the sites of isolated bombs dropped over a wide area of southwest Hertfordshire was by keeping a look-out from the top of St Peter’s tower. Their duty was to line up the bearing of the flash, count the seconds to hearing the explosion and then telephone the news to ARP HQ (a special line had been laid on) so that the necessary forces could be deployed accordingly.

Having guided the parish through the war years, the vicar left in 1946, St Peter’s being his last parochial appointment.

Revd William George Eeles BA 1946/1960

  • Born Barton Regis, Bristol 1895 
  • College Mirfield College 1913 
  • University of Leeds BA 1920
  • Ordained Priest 1923
  • Curate St. Chad’s. Manningham. 1922/1924
  • St. Mary, Bideford 1924/1930
  • Rector Braxted 1930/1934
  • Vicar St. Peter’s, Mill End 1934/1946
  • St. Thomas, West Hyde. 1940/1946
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1946/1960
  • Died Montpellier, France 1961

William George Eeles entered the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield in 1913, only to have his training interrupted by the outbreak of war. He enlisted and received a commission. At the end of hostilities he returned to Mirfield and read for his degree at Leeds University from where he graduated in 1920. After his ordination he served his title in the Diocese of Bradford, before moving south. After a six year curacy in Bideford followed by four years in his first incumbency as Rector of Braxted, Essex, he then spent the next twelve years looking after two parishes near Rickmansworth – Mill End and West Hyde.

Immediately after the second world war, he was installed as the ninth vicar of St Peter’s on 22nd November 1946 and served for the next 14 years. He and his wife were perhaps the last of the old style Anglicans who presided over church and community in a benevolent, kindly and enthusiastic way. A little unconventional and perhaps somewhat erratic at times, George Eeles never lost that pastoral touch which had characterised his ministry from the beginning. His obituary from the Parish Chronicle of his previous Mill End parish probably best describes the man ” Many a family in trouble will have appreciated his kindly word of sympathy and understanding and his deep knowledge of the frailties of human life . It is a tribute to his ministry that so frequently he was called to help people whom he had known in former years to whom he was able , by tender compassion, to exercise both a personal and a pastoral ministry” 

At Bushey Heath, both he and his wife worked hard at pastoral care and encouraged church societies. They were much loved and although changes were in the air one could be forgiven for thinking that so long as the Eeles family remained the status quo would continue. In 1960 he was offered a chaplaincy in Marseilles but sadly died a year later on 23rd July 1961. George Eeles has his memorial in the set of silver/ gilt cross and candlesticks now in the Memorial Chapel. His curate from 1955 was the Revd Harold D Jones.

Canon Philip Henry Cecil BD 1960/1963

  • Born Ecclesall, Sheffield 1918 
  • College University of London BD 1940
  • Kings College, London 
  • Wescott House, Cambridge
  • Curate Leeds Parish Church 1941/1945
  • Precentor Durham Cathedral 1945/1948
  • Rector St. John’s, Belize, Honduras 1948/1952
  • St. Luke, Old Street 1952/1954
  • Wormley 1956/1960
  • Commissary Trinidad 1952/1960
  • Vicar St. Peter’s. Bushey Heath 1960/1963
  • Principal Bishop’s College, Cheshunt 1963/1967
  • Vicar Potten w. Cockayne Hatley 1967/1972
  • Resident Canon & Treasurer, Peterborough Dioc. 1971/1977
  • Died Peterborough 1977

After graduating from London University, the Revd Philip Cecil spent several years on missionary work in Central America and the Caribbean before his induction on 22nd November 1960 as the tenth vicar of St Peter’s upon the departure of George Eeles. He stayed only three years. During this time he suffered the strain of family illness but he worked hard in the parish. His gentle manner and soft tone concealed a deep thinker and a man of some charisma. His appeal, for instance, on behalf of the victims of the Honduras earthquake (where he had served as a missionary) raised over £100 (good money in those days) in less than two hours.

He is remembered as a man with a sympathetic tolerance towards those who had doubts about their faith. Philip left in the summer of 1963 to become principal of Bishop’s College, Cheshunt. The curates in those days were Harold D Jones (1955 – 1961) and Ronald F Cottingham (1961-1964) who each left to take charge of’ a parish.

Canon Myles Kenneth Raikes MA 1963/1970

  • Born Newport, Mon. 1923
  • College New College , Oxford MA 1951
  • Wells Theological College 1947 
  • Curate St.Mary’s Cathedral, Chelsmford 1949/1951
  • St. John, Stratford 1951/1953
  • Hockerill 1953/1955
  • Chaplain Herts & Essex General Hospital 1956/1963
  • Vicar St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1963/1970
  • Rector Digswell, Welwyn, Herts. 1970/1977
  • Hon. Canon of St Albans in 1976
  • Priest in Charge Meare, Bath & Wells 1977/1981
  • Coker 1981/1983
  • Diocesan Ecumenical Officer, Bath & Wells 1984/1988
  • Hon.Curate Petherton w. Seavington 1985/1988

The Revd Myles Raikes was appointed the eleventh vicar and was inducted on the 11th November 1963 and his arrival with Joan and their family heralded a time of change for St Peter’s. Myles Raikes moved quickly to involve more lay people to take an active part in the Eucharist, including administering the chalice, taking the intercessions, reading the lessons and presenting the elements at the offertory. The new vicar also saw the need to encourage regular giving of time, talents and money and fostered these aims of Christian Stewardship, which had been introduced with much goodwill just before his arrival with a dinner for more than 150 of St Peter’s congregation in Watford Town Hall.

The sixties saw the abandonment of much of the Church of England’s traditional form of worship, particularly the Book of Common Prayer. Alternative rites, Series 1, 2 and 3, were introduced and new translations of the Bible in various forms of modern English became best sellers. All this meant abandoning the classic and poetical language of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in favour of the language used in Church Times editorials – clear but dull! Another feature of the modernist approach at this time was the introduction of a Nave Altar, with the celebrant behind the altar facing west instead of east. This involved the relegation of the High Altar to chapel status and in St Peter’s it was hidden behind a curtain. As can be imagined, this change generated considerable heat among the rank and file and there were some very lively meetings of the PCC followed by a rebellious parish meeting. However, the vicar’s opinion prevailed and the Nave Altar was installed.

The curates during this period were Robert W Dray (1964 – 1968) and James M Grindell (1968 – 1972). Both lived at Colne View in Elstree Road with their families. Bob left to take over the new parish of Marsh Farm on an industrial estate near Luton. James Grindell was essentially a teacher and continued the work in the Tuesday school and Youth Club. He left to become priest-in-charge of St Michael and All Angels, Exeter, a job which included headship of St Wilfrid’s School and chaplaincy of the Community of St Wilfrid.

Myles Raikes left in 1970 to take up an appointment as Rector of Digswell, Herts.

The Venerable George Bernard Austin BA 1970/1988

  • Born Bury, Lancashire 1931
  • College St.David’s College, Lampeter BA 1953
  • Chichester Theological College 1953 
  • Ordained Priest 1956
  • Curate St. Peters, Chorley 1955/1957
  • St. Clements, Nottingdale 1957/1960
  • Asst. Chaplain University of London 1960/1961
  • Curate Dunstable 1961/1964
  • Vicar Eaton Bray, Beds. 1964/1970
  • St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1970/1988
  • Archdeacon York 1988/2000
  • Retired  2000

The Revd (later Canon) George Austin was inducted as the twelfth vicar of St Peter’s on 29th June 1970 and arrived with his wife Bobbie and baby son Jeremy just in time to see the end of the old vicarage and to move into a new vicarage across the road. Whilst Myles Raikes put great emphasis on changing the forms of worship and on lay involvement in the church, George Austin steered his flock more towards examining and understanding their faith. He pursued this through teaching in sermons, Lent courses, other short courses and by bringing to St Peter’s a wide variety of preachers from Free Church to Roman Catholic. In 1984 Bill White, a Lutheran priest from the USA, directed a lively series of talks and discussions which presented a new and encouraging view of the Christian Faith.

Soon after his arrival, George Austin encouraged the setting up of house groups, and very quickly there were at least ten in operation. The work of the PCC under George Austin was facilitated by the use of small specialist committees to deal with matters such as finance, plant and building, stewardship, the church’s mission, youth activities, baptism and other aspects of church life. 

As a member of the General Synod and of its Standing Committee, a Church Commissioner and a member of the Central Board of Finance, a considerable amount of George Austin’s time was taken up outside the parish. However, this experience would prove invaluable at a later stage in his life after leaving St Peter’s. He also developed an interest in ecumenical affairs, being involved for a number of years with international Anglican/Lutheran relations. He served as Church of England delegate to the British Council of Churches Assembly and in 1983, to the World Council of Churches Assembly in Vancouver. In addition, he broadcast regularly, mainly on Radio 4 and the BBC World Service.

After some seventeen years as vicar of St Peter’s, Canon George Austin was approached by the Archbishop of York to fill a vacancy for Archdeacon at the cathedral which he eventually accepted and was instituted in November 1988. He served in this capacity for the next twelve years before retiring to Wheldrake, near York.  In 2010 he returned, with his wife Bobby, to settle in Bushey Heath.

After James Grindell left in 1972, St Peter’s had two further curates. The Revd Philip J W Buckler (1972-1975) was particularly good in his work with young people and in the house groups and soon made his mark in the parish. He stayed for three years before leaving to become a college chaplain at Cambridge and then vicar of Hampstead. He later moved on to take up an appointment as Resident Canon at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He was followed by the Revd Philip Sladen (1975-1977), the last full time curate at St Peter’s, who left in 1977 to become an RAF chaplain.

Revd William Roberson Low MA 1988/2003

  • Born Walton-on-Thames, Surrey 1950 
  • College Pembroke, Cambridge BA 1973 
  • Westcott House,Cambridge MA 1977 
  • Ordained Priest 1980
  • Curate Poplar 1979/1983
  • Chaplain St. Alban’s Abbey 1983/1988
  • Vicar St. Peter’s, Bushey Heath 1988/2003
  • Resigned Moved to Cornwall 2003

The thirteenth vicar, the Revd Robbie Low, moved into St Peter’s vicarage in 1988 with his wife Sara and three young children and was inducted by the Bishop of St Albans on the 9th December 1988. Sara was much involved in church activities, both locally and nationally and was eventually elected the St Albans Diocesan representative on General Synod. 

Following the Act of Synod in 1992, St Peter’s PCC opted to adopt Resolutions A,B and C, involving Episcopal oversight by the Bishop of Richborough. St Peter’s became a member of Forward in Faith, the orthodox Anglican constituency, but always welcomed Christians of all shades of opinion. 

During his incumbency, Robbie Low provided services to cover for a wide range of churchmanship, including the use of the Book of Common Prayer, a modern rite based on the ASB, a monthly Family Service in the modern idiom and a monthly Choral Evensong. He extended his ministry to embrace the nursing and other care homes in the parish as well as conducting weekly services at the Church Army chapel and introduced lay involvement in the Healing Ministry, House Groups, Bible Study, Healing Prayer Groups and Alpha courses. Without such help, his job as parish priest, devoid of any other ministerial assistance, would have been almost impossible. The annual Retreat, held each Spring at St Francis House, Hemingford Grey was introduced by the vicar very early in his incumbency.

The lack of a full time curate was alleviated somewhat in January 2001,when the Revd Geoffrey Neal, the erstwhile vicar of Houghton Regis, returned from a six year spell in the United States and agreed to act as assistant priest at St Peter’s for one third of his time. As Area Dean for Forward in Faith and a popular, caring priest this arrangement worked very well.

Robbie’s wife Sara is a lady of many gifts. In addition to her unstinting work in many aspects of parish life, including founding the Women’s Fellowship, resurrecting the junior Youth Club and masterminding the Christmas Charity Fair, she also founded and edited ‘New Directions’ from 1993. This magazine became the leading traditional publication and is read all over the English speaking world. Through Sara’s editing and Robbie’s writing they became major figures in the movement for a return to orthodoxy in the Anglican Church.

Robbie Low’s time at St Peter’s came to an end on St Peter’s day, 29th June 2003, when he resigned his living to return to his native Cornwall.

Robbie and Sara were received into the Roman Catholic Church and run Fowey Retreat.  Robbie was subsequently ordained as a Roman Catholic priest and serves at St. Mary and St. Petroc, Bodmin in the Deanery of Cornwall.

The Revd Stuart Seaton MA

  • Born St Albans, Herts 1975
  • College Durham University 1993/1996
  • Mirfield College 1997/1999
  • Leeds University 1997/1999
  • Ordained Priest 2000
  • Curate St Mary Magdalene, Welwyn 1999/2002
  • Asst Chaplain Aldenham School 2003/2004
  • Vicar St Peter’s, Bushey Heath 2004/2007

After an interregnum of a year, the Revd Stuart Seaton was inducted as the fourteenth – and youngest – vicar of St Peter’s on 15th June 2004 by the Bishop of St Albans and the Bishop of Richborough. A graduate and organ scholar of Durham University, trained for the priesthood at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, Fr Stuart continued to take the Church along the path so clearly marked by Fr Robbie Low – although not walking exactly in his footsteps!

The parish took the opportunity during the interregnum to completely redecorate the vicarage in anticipation of the appointment of a new vicar. Fr Stuart and his wife Hilary, previously a planning officer with Hertsmere Borough Council, took up residence at Easter 2004 in advance of the June induction as Hilary was expecting their first child in May. Gregory Peter Seaton was born at 1.48pm on the 19th May 2004 and so once again the parish was blessed with a young vicar with a new young family residing in the vicarage.

During his time at St Peter’s, he completed the introduction of Common Worship and took a great interest in the Parish youth organisation.  His musical talent was particularly appreciated by the congregation especially his ability to play the newly installed organ.  

The incumbency of Stuart Seaton spanned a fairly tumultuous period in the history of the Church of England and we were sad to say farewell to him in February 2007 when he decided to leave the Church of England and become a Roman Catholic. 

The Revd Andrew Burton BA SSC

  • Born Lichfield Staffs 1963
  • St Katharine’s College Liverpool BA 1984
  • Cranmer Hall, Durham 1986/88
  • Ordained Deacon 1988
  • Ordained Priest 1989
  • Curate Holy Spirit, Harlescott 1988/91
  • Curate Holy Trinity, Blacon 1991/94
  • Priest in charge St James the Great, Congleton 1994/01
  • Vicar Calton, Cauldon, Grindon, Waterfall and Blore Ray with Oakover 2001/07
  • Rural Dean of Alstonefield 2003/2008
  • Vicar St Peter’s Bushey Heath 2008/

The Reverend Andrew Burton became the fifteenth vicar of St. Peter’s on 16th January 2008. He was collated by the Bishop of St. Albans during a service at which the preacher was the Bishop of Richborough.

Born in Lichfield, Staffordshire in 1963, Fr. Andrew read theology at St. Katharine’s College, Liverpool before training for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall, Durham. Whilst in the north-east he was able to indulge his devotion to the northern saints whilst developing his interest in New Testament studies.

Following ordination to the diaconate at Lichfield Cathedral in 1988, Fr. Andrew served his title at The Church of the Holy Spirit, Harlescott in Shrewsbury. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 and served in the parish until his move to Holy Trinity, Blacon in 1991. During this time he developed an interest in the healing ministry of the church which he was able to continue when he moved to St. James the Great, Congleton as priest-in-charge in 1994. Whilst in Congleton Fr. Andrew served as chaplain to the Council of St. John Ambulance in Cheshire.

In 2001 Fr. Andrew moved to the rural benefice of Calton, Cauldon, Grindon, Waterfall and Blore Ray with Okeover in the Staffordshire Moorlands. From 2003 he was also Rural Dean of Alstonefield.

Fr. Andrew is a member of the Society of the Holy Cross, the Guild of All Souls, a Priest Associate of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and also a Serving Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. He is married to Fiona and they have two sons, James and William.