After 16 years since the purchase of Shephall Manor by the Christian Coptic Church in England, I was privileged to visit Shephall Manor on 26th September 2007 with Kenneth Heathcote and his wife Janet together with my wife, Ginnie Holton, who worked at the building between 1978 and 1990 as a Residential Social Worker before it closed down. We were received by Father Shenouda and Bishop Angelos and given a free and open tour of the building. The transformation has been remarkable and many of the rooms that we saw were in the best condition I have ever seen them in. Like many people before them, the people in the church have grown to love Shephall Manor and the many icons around the building seem to blend effortlessly with the Victorian Gothic theme of Shephall Manor. The future is indeed bright as beyond my greatest hopes, an excellent use for the building has been achieved with the arrival of the Coptic Church.
From right to left
Father Shenouda, Kenneth Heathcote, Bishop Angaelos, Janet Heathcote, Richard Holton and Ginnie Holton
The new cathedral to the south of the building is indeed very sympathetic to the old building and in itself incredibly beautiful, fully justifying the planners compromise to site it in the grounds of the old manor house. At the present time I could not be optimistic about the future of Shephall Manor in the hands the Christian Coptic Church or about their open handedness with regard to arranged or ad hoc visits, indeed they have shown the true hand of Christian friendship.
Included below is a photo gallery of various snapshots of the day
Click on this picture to go to Coptic Church website