There has been a church in the village of Clifton for around 1,000
years and its existence was noted in the Domesday Book. At the time of
the Reformation the village church became part of the Church of England
It was not until 1966 that the Clifton Catholic community once again had
a permanent place of worship. Corpus Christi Church was officially
opened on 29th March 1966 by Bishop Ellis.
Formation and Early Years of the Parish
In 1956 Bishop Ellis asked Father McGuinness, (later to become the
eighth Bishop of Nottingham), to form the new parish of Clifton.
For the ensuing ten years the parishioners worshipped in many different
places. Their first site was a Wimpey builders’ but which served as a
kitchen for the builders during the week. When the hut was burned down
by vandals, the congregation moved to a building owned by the
Nottingham Co-operative Society and used a billiard table as an altar.
Father McGuinness also celebrated Mass and christenings in a
converted garage in Ruddington Village and finally in Blessed Robert
Widmerpool School when it was built on Listowel Crescent.
Construction and Design of the Church
Work began on the construction of the church in November 1963. Due to
difficult site conditions, the church was built on a reinforced concrete
base with a structure of precast concrete frame and beams. In the
finished building these give the effect of a vaulted roof.
The church has a side chapel, known as the Lady Chapel, where Mass is
offered on weekdays.
The original Baptistry is housed beneath the Church Tower. No longer
used as a Baptistry, it is now the Ringing Room. High in the tower there
is a single bell, electronically operated. Much lower in the tower are
six bells hung for manual ringing.
A choir gallery is set at the rear of the church. The gallery also contains
the organ. Above and behind the gallery is a fine modem stained glass
window, designed by the Stephen Walsh studio in Dublin .
The architects were Messrs Reynolds & Scott of Manchester and
Nottingham and they also designed the adjoining Presbytery. The
builders were Messrs Varley of Langley Mill.
The Foundation Stone was laid on 24th June 1964 by Bishop Ellis.
First Service in the New Church
The first service in the church was Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
1965 when a congregation of over 600 filled the church.
The occasion was notable for the choir of the day. It was the first time
that they had been accompanied by an organ.
The first organ in the church came from Birmingham. The second was
rescued from the Odeon Cinema on Angel Row in Nottingham. The
present organ came from the Mary Ward Teacher Training College when
it closed (now the British Geological Survey Headquarters in Keyworth).
Consecration of the Church
The church was consecrated by Bishop McGuinness on 2nd June 1983.
The Church Bell
The bell tower houses a single bell that was cast by John Taylor & Co of
Loughborough in 1964.
It has a diameter of 698 mm (27.5 inches) and weighs 211 Kg (4 cwt 16
The waist of the bell bears the inscription “MARIA”.
The electrically operated bell; thought to have been silent for 27 years,
was restored to working order in December 1999 for the Millennium.
It now calls the faithful to prayer once more and chimes the Angelus at
9 am, noon and 6 pm each day.
Priests who have served at Corpus Christi
Father James McGuinness was the first Pansh Priest of Corpus Christi.
He came to Clifton in 1956 and stayed until 1972 when he was
consecrated Coadjutor Bishop with the light of succession by Bishop
Father McGuinness was assisted by Father Joseph Maguire (1965 .68)
and Father Cahill (1968 -72)
Father Patrick Blackwell took over as Parish Priest in 1972 and
remained until 1977.
Father Eamonn O’Hara was Father Blackwell first assistant (1972 –
74), followed for a brief spell by Father Gerald Kitchen (1974) and
Father Gerry Murphy (1974 -79)
Father Joseph McGovern followed Father Blackwell in 1977 and was
Parish Priest until 1993.
Father Philip Ziomek became Assistant Priest in 1979 and stayed with
us until 1982.
There was no Assistant Priest in the parish from 1982 to 2007.
Monsignor Joseph F Phelan replaced Father McGovern in 1993 and
was the Parish Priest until September 2002.
Father George Woodall was appointed Pansh Priest in September 2002
but was requested to assist in Beda College Rome in September 2003.
Father Christopher Thomas became Priest in Charge in September
2003. He was also appointed Chaplain to Nottingham University at that
Father Thomas was appointed Parish Priest in September 2005. He
left us in September 2014 to become Secretary to the Catholic
Conference of Bishops of England and Wales.
Father Philip O’Dowd was appointed Assistant Priest in September
2007 and remained in the parish until his death in 2009.
Father Philip McBrien was appointed Parish Priest in September 2014
and left the parish in October 2017.
The parish was without a resident priest from October 2017 until
In March 2018 the Religious Congregation of the Sacred Heart
Fathers of Betharram took over the responsibility of the pastoral care
and Father Wilfred Pereppadan SCJ was appointed Parish Priest.
Brother John Dawson SCJ joined the parish in October 2018.
Father Peter Phirote SCJ became Assistant Priest in December 2019.
(some dates given am best estimates).