St. Wilfrid’s Chapel in the London Oratory
Based on a talk by Edmund Matyjaszek for the 1300th anniversary of the death of St. Wilfrid and local research by Peter Clarke
One of the most famous and ornate chapels dedicated to St. Wilfrid within a church is that in the London Oratory at Brompton. Situated to the right of the high altar the chapel is exquisitely adorned with marble and alabaster with a Flemish Baroque altar. The chapel was given by Mrs Bowden, in memory of Fr. Frederick William Faber, the famous convert, Victorian hymn-writer and spiritual author. Born in 1814, Faber converted to Catholicism, was ordained a priest and after joining the Oratorians, he became the first Provost of the London Congregation of the Oratory. It was Fr. Faber who promoted the Benedictine saint, when he wrote a “Life of St. Wilfrid” while still an Anglican much to the annoyance of his superiors. It caused controversy because of Wilfrid’s advocacy of the supremacy of Rome over the locals churches.
Fr. Faber died in 1863 and is buried beneath the altar in the London Oratory. An inscription above the entrance to this chapel reads, “Remember your leaders (Hebrew 13: 7) In honour of St. Wilfrid, Confessor and Bishop and in memory of Fr. Wilfrid Faber D.D.”
Co-incidentally, the Feast of St. Wilfrid, Patron of the Island, (12th October) is also the anniversary of the Dedication of our two Solesmes abbeys at Quarr and St. Cecilia’s.