The origins of the parish date back to 1877, when the Honourable Colin Lindsay and his wife Lady Frances decided to start a Catholic Mission at their home Deer Park (now called the Deer Park Hotel). The Lindsay’s were converts from the Anglican Church and decided to refurbish an outbuilding on the estate that had previously been used as a brewery. The Lindsay’s were a wealthy family and had the benefit of a resident Chaplain, Father Henri Galeran who said the first Mass in the new chapel on the 3 August 1877, it was probably the first Mass in the Honiton area since the Reformation.

The Honourable Colin Lindsay died in 1892. Lady Frances lived for a further five years and died in 1897, at which time the estate passed to their eldest son William Alexander, he had remained a member of the Church of England and soon after moving into the property closed the chapel for catholic services. Responsibility for the Mission was then assumed by the fourth son of the Lindsay’s, Leonard Lindsay and he together with his brother the Reverend Claud Lindsay, erected a small temporary church in 1898 on a site they purchased on Church Hill, Honiton. This was an old Iron structure of curved galvanised sheeting rather like an old army hut. During the period  1898 to 1927, Mass was provided by various visiting priests who were supported financially by Leonard Lindsay. In July 1927 Bishop John Kelly decided to appoint a resident Parish Priest and officially recognise the parish of Honiton. The building remained in use until 1935 by which time it was in a very poor state of repair.


In 1931 Leonard and Claire Lindsay, decided to move to London, Leonards health was deteriorating, and they arranged with Bishop John Barrett, that they would leave Broomhill’s House to the diocese on the understanding that the Bishop would undertake to find a religious order of priests to take responsibility for running the parish of Honiton, and be based in Broomhill’s House.

In 1933 the Augustinian Recollect Order agreed with Bishop Barrett to take responsibility for the parish, and in 1935 they established a new temporary chapel at their property Broomhills House, Ottery Moor Lane, (now known as St Rita’s Centre). The Recollect Order together with some financial help from Leonard Lindsay and others, commissioned an architect to design a suitable church, and the present building was erected by Hansford’s of Honiton, in only seven months. The new church was completed and opened by Bishop John Barrett on the 21 November 1937, and the first Recollect Parish Priest was Father Mariano Ortiz, O.A.R The name of the parish ‘Holy Family’, derived from the reredos on the original altar in the Lindsay Family Chapel, which depicts the figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This altar is also known as the ‘Munich Altar’ and it is now located in the Lindsay Memorial Chapel, adjacent to the main altar of the church. The church building is in a simple Gothic design, and the inside is bright and welcoming.


CGS 25/10/18