Fr Peter Harris

Parish Priest

01279 654 063

I was born in Epsom in Surrey in 1951. I went to the John Fisher School in Purley and joined a publishing firm in London after I left school and worked in Sales and then Graphic Design departments of J.M.Dent & Sons. At the age of 20 I went to seminary at the English College, Valladolid, Spain, for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. I didn’t stay there very long and returned to England and spent three years at St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill training to be a secondary school teacher. Having qualified, I returned to seminary, this time in Maynooth, Ireland, training with the Vincentian Fathers. But it was not to last and after four years I returned to England, spent a year to obtain my B.Ed degree and worked as a secondary school teacher for the next 12 years.

It was the late Cardinal Hume who invited me to return to Seminary in 1991, studying at Allen Hall and getting my M.Th. degree at Heythrop College. In 1994 I was ordained for the Diocese of Westminster and was appointed as Assistant Priest in Poplar in the East End of London. From there I moved next door to be Parish Administrator in Limehouse. After three years there I was appointed the Parish Priest at Harrow on the Hill. In 2004 I was appointed to return to the East End as Parish Priest of the Isle of Dogs and, after two years also taking responsibility as Parish Priest of Limehouse once again. During this time I taught Church History at Allen Hall Seminary and later at Heythrop College, University of London. In 2011 I reached the age of 60 and was given an eight-month sabbatical, which I spent in New Zealand, the USA and Rome. On my return to England, I was appointed as Parish Priest of Bishop’s Stortford.

I served as Dean in Tower Hamlets, Harrow and now, also, in the Lea Valley. In 1996 I was appointed to the Diocesan Historic Churches Committee and has been Chairman of it for the last 23 years. I also serve on the national Bishops’ Conference Patrimony Committee. I have served as a School Governor in all the Parishes I have been placed in and am currently the Chair of Governors of St Mary’s Catholic School here in Bishop’s Stortford. At the request of the Cardinal I serve as Ecumenical Officer for Hertfordshire and also as the Curator of the historic collections at St Edmund’s College at Old Hall Green.

I love history, gardening and have been known to enjoy a glass of chilled white wine.