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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

Shephall Manor 2007

Close up 2007

The old science room

Now a Reception room

The Hall

A mirror view of the hall and staircase

The fireplace in the hall

The staircase with a wheelchair lift

Candelabra in the hall

Ginnie Holton in south dormitory

The cathedral as seen from the house

The old library

Kenneth Heathcote and Ginnie Holton in East Dormitory

The kitchen

West door

The back of the building

The stunning cathedral

View from the new cathederal 2007


The tallest tree in Stevenage

Second view from the cathederal 2007

From right to left - Father Shenouda, Kenneth Heatcote, Archbishop Angaelos, Janet Heathcote and Richard Holton

From right to left - Father Shenouda, Kenneth Heatcote, Archbishop Angaelos, Janet Heathcote, Richard Holton and Ginnie Holton


Side from cathedral

Inside the cathedral function hall

The sweet chesnut tree beloved by footballers

Oriole window ( spelin?? )

North side of building

Outside of old sitting room, now a small chapel


Click on this picture to go to Coptic Church website

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