The Community of St John Baptist was established in Clewer in 1852 as an Anglican Religious Community for women, initially to run the House of Mercy established in Clewer in 1849 to rescue "fallen women".
The Convent building and adjoining House of Mercy in Hatch Lane, Windsor, were built in the mid 1850s, and added to at various dates, c. 1872-1900. Works undertaken by the Community included Houses of Mercy in other parts of the country; orphanages and children's homes (the inmates of which were not all orphans); hospitals and convalescent homes; and mission work in new urban parishes. In 2001 the Community sold the Convent and House of Mercy (see D/EX 1627/1 for a copy of the sale catalogue (dated 2000)) and moved to new premises at Kidlington, Oxfordshire.
The Convent was governed by a Chapter of the professed Sisters from 1860. This dealt with branch work as well as the profession of novices, withdrawal of Sisters and disciplinary matters. It was subject to the Warden of the Community, a clergyman.
From 1874 the Chapter elected Consultative Council. In 1893 a Business Committee was established (consisting of the directors of the Land and Money Trust which managed the Community's property and finances) to deal with legal and property matters, including oversight of the works of the Community and the Community Fund (for maintenance of the Sisters). In 1948 the organisation of the Community was altered. The Council dealt with general business, including discipline and admission of Sisters, while the Finance Committee replaced the Business Committee and the Council of Finance.
The property of the Community was brought under a single General Trust Fund, of which seven Sisters were trustees, in 1889. The Land Trust was established in 1899 to hold the Community's real estate, and the Money Trust in 1898 to hold personal property, including real estate let to tenants. They were jointly incorporated as a limited company (the Land and Money Trust) in 1906. It appears to have been replaced by Clewer Trustee Ltd in 1953.
For a history of the Community, see Valerie Bonham, A Joyous Service: The Clewer Sisters & Their Work (Windsor 1989). For a more detailed study of the early years, see Valerie Bonham, A Place in Life: The Clewer House of Mercy, 1849-1883 (Windsor 1992).
Burials in the convent cemetery should be recorded in the Clewer parish registers.
Major works of the Community
1/12/1; 2 House of Mercy, Clewer: established 1849. Managed by Community from 1852, with oversight by Council of interested clergy and laymen. 1943 name changed to St John's Training Home. Closed 1954.
1/12/1; 4 St Andrew's Convalescent Hospital, Clewer: work began in a cottage, 1860. Hospital built 1865-1866. Run by its own Council and treasurer, under the Community's Council of Finance. Extended at various dates, 1874-1888. Closed 1939. Premises requisitioned 1940. Formally wound up 1950.
1/12/1; 5 St Andrew's Cottage, Clewer: built c.1868 Almshouse for elderly ladies. Renamed St Andrew's Lodge, 1963. Closed 1983.
23 St Augustine's Home for Boys, Clewer: 1885-1920.
1/12/5 St Michael's House, Clewer: established 1893 to board and train girls as teachers; later used to board young women teachers. 1894 moved to Clewer Road, 1901 to New Road, 1906 to 15 Gerald Villas, Vansittart Road (formerly St Stephen's Mission House).
1/12/1 St Stephen's College, Clewer (later Folkestone, Kent): private boarding school for girls. Established 1874. Moved to Folkestone 1919. Closed 1991.
1/12/6; 6 St Stephen's High School, Clewer: private day and boarding school for girls, established 1882. Closed 1934. St Stephen's Guild (for Old Girls) continued.
1/12/1; 7 Wafer and Embroidery Rooms, Clewer: Church Embroidery Rooms established in Soho, London, 1869. Moved to Clewer 1927. Wafer Bakery closed 1989.
1/12/1; 8 Neale House, Cambridge: student mission and pastoral work, 1964-1976.
1/12/11; 9 Devon House of Mercy, Bovey Tracey: 1863-1940
1/12/12 Mission House, Bovey Tracey, Devon: 1879-1922
1/12/1; 10 Convalescent Homes, Torquay, Devon: St Raphael's (for women) established 1866; St Luke's (for men), 1883; St Barnabas' (for phthisis patients), 1892. All closed 1959.
1/12/15; 11 St Alban's and Chelmsford Diocesan House of Mercy, St Mary's Home, Great Maplestead, Essex: established 1868. Managed by Coummunity 1891-1943.
1/12/16; 12 St Lucy's Home of Charity, Gloucester: children's home and penitentiary; daughter-house of Clewer. Established 1872. Closed 1934.
1/12/18 St Lucy's Hospital for Poor Children, Kingsholm, Gloucestershire: part of St Lucy's Home, but not run by Sisters (except briefly in 1921).
1/12/17 Newark House, Hemsted, Gloucestershire: preventive home for girls. Run by Community, 1883-1912.
1/12/1; 14 St Andrew's Convalescent Home, Folkestone, Kent: established 1875, closed 1940. Building requisitioned, and sold in 1946.
1/12/20 St Eanswythe's Mission, Folkestone, Kent: 1882-1937.
1/12/1, 21 St Saviour's Mission, Folkestone, Kent: 1880-1945.
1/12/23; 15 London Diocesan Penitentiary, House of Mercy, Highgate: established 1853. Run by Community, 1901-1940.
1/12/47 All Hallows Mission, Blackfriars and Southwark, London: 1877-1930.
1/12/47 St Barnabas Mission, Pimlico, London: 1859-1933
1/12/28; 18 St Barnabas Orphanage for Girls, Pimlico, London: established 1855. Run by Community from 1860. Closed 1913. Country branch established at Chislehurst, Kent, 1879.
1/12/27 Stonehouse House of Refuge, Pimlico, London: established 1853. Run by Community, 1869-1919.
1/12/29 House of Charity, Soho, London: emergency housing for unemployed and sick. Established 1846. Run by Community 1862-1940.
17 St John Baptist Mission House and St Anne's Mission School, Soho, London: training home for girls. Established 1861. Moved to take over Home of the Good Shepherd and the Pastures Training Home, Leytonstone, Essex, 1899. Evacuated to Kettering, Leicestershire, 1940. Closed 1942. Premises sold 1948.
1/12/1, 26, 31; 16 St Alban's Mission, Holborn, Middlesex: 1869-1955
19 St John Baptist's Home, Newport, Monmouthshire: children's home for neglected and abused children. Established 1885 as The Children's Refuge. Closed 1940.
1/12/34 St John Baptist High School, Newport, Monmouthshire: private school for girls, 1901-1939.
1/12/33 St John's Mission, Newport, Monmouthshire: 1876-1940.
1/12/1, 36-37; 21 Oxford Diocesan Penitentiary, St Mary's Home, Littlemore (formerly at Holywell), Oxfordshire: taken over by Community 1860. Moved to Littlemore, 1929.
1/12/1; 20 St Basil's Home For Aged Women, Oxford: established 1891. Run by Magdalens from Oxford Penitentiary. Closed 1966.
1/12/35 Mission House of SS Mary and John, Cowley, Oxford: 1891-1937.
1/12/38 St Anne's School, Baltonsborough, Somerset: private school for girls. Run by Community 1882-1894. Sold 1895.
1/12/1, 39; 22 All Saints Home, Hawley, Surrey: established 1881 as country branch of work in Soho. Later operated independently as home for girls. 1937 changed to become guesthouse for elderly ladies. Closed 1954.
1/12/1, 45 St Mary's Home (House of Mercy), Salisbury, Wiltshire: established 1831. Run by Community 1889-1947.
1/12/1, 44 St Michael's Home (Worcester House of Mercy), Leamington Spa, Warwickshire: established 1855. Run by Community 1884-1950.