53 Leigh Road - Eastleigh - SO50 9DF
In the 1880’s, Eastleigh was established as an important railway junction. Large tracts of land were bought for carriage/locomotive works. In 1886, Bishop Virtue purchased land in Leigh Road for a future Church. Some years later a tin School/Church was erected known as Our Lady of Good Counsel.
At the turn of the century came the prospect of a new Church. In 1901 the Bishop was able to report that a lady (Miss Ward) had promised to build a Church at her expense. Canon Scoles was commissioned to prepare the plans for the building to be erected under the title and invocation of the Holy Cross. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Cahill on the feast of Holy Cross in 1901. The new Church was consecrated on the 13th August 1902. An account of the opening was given in the Eastleigh Weekly News with a list of the priests and ‘notables’ present.
In 1903, a new school was opened next to the Church. An anonymous benefactor provided the funds required after previous unsuccessful attempts to raise the money.
In 1921, Father Doran purchased two cottages next to the Church and made them into a presbytery.
The Church was enlarged by Father Power in 1962. He was also responsible for persuading the Sisters of Our Saviour and The Blessed Virgin to come to Eastleigh. At the same time, Fair Oak began to expand, previously the few catholic families there went to Bishop Waltham or Holy Cross. The first mass was said at the Acorn Club and thereafter at the Village Hall. In 1978, a new Church was opened and dedicated to Swithun Wells – a local martyr.
The dedication of the Church in Eastleigh to the Holy Cross derives from its exaltation as the symbol of Christian faith on which Jesus was crucified and died for the salvation of the world.
In Holy Cross Church there is a statue of St Helena who was the mother of the Emperor Constantine who was the first Christian Emperor of Rome. She was famed for her piety and was very generous to the poor. She travelled to the Holy Land in the 4th Century and by tradition found the remains of the True Cross as well as establishing Churches in Jerusalem and at other Holy Sites.
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is on 14th September and of St Helena on 18th August.