Originally built in 1896 as the Church Rooms for St. Mary’s Parish Church in Churchgate, the building has been used for many purposes during its history. Cheshunt residents, now retired, remember having their school dinners in the building and also attending dances there.
After the Second World War many young italians, who had come to the area to work in the market garden industry in the Lea Valley, set up home permanently in Cheshunt. These Catholic families, along with others from Poland and Ukraine, needed their own place of worship and the building became the Mass Centre or ‘Chapel of Ease’ run by the Italian Mission under the auspices of St. Joseph’s Waltham Cross.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century the nurseries moved out of the Lea Valley, the greenhouses were demolished and a massive building programme on these brownfield sites greatly increased Cheshunt’s population. The congregation grew to such an extent that an application was made to Westminster to make St. Paul’s a Parish in its own right. This was granted in the 1990’s. There have been plans to move to larger premises on more than one occassion over the years, but this has never materialised.
Today St. Paul’s retains its unique ‘country church’ atmosphere but is nevertheless a vibrant welcoming congregation of all ages and nationalities.