Vicars of Penn Street


Nigel Stowe 1976-2001

Nigel Stowe: (1936-2021), was born on the 29th April 1936 in the School House attached to the small village school at West Tytherley, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, where his father was headmaster.

At the age of 14, Nigel committed his heart and life to Christ following a talk at a well-attended school Christian Union meeting at Monkton Coombe school, visited by the evangelist Don Summers, who went on to have a world-wide ministry of evangelism.

Nigel’s spiritual growth began to take off when a fellow pupil invited him to help and teach at the small Sunday School at Midford Chapel in one of the nearby villages. In his last 2 years at school he played a leading role in the CU becoming its secretary and organising the Wednesday evening speakers.
Following National Service in the Royal Engineers as a training officer and almost full-time Chaplain confirmed God’s call and provided a wonderful training ground for leadership and teaching experience. In September 1959 Nigel returned to Clifton Theological College for 2 years ordination training, being appointed vice-senior student in his last year.

At Michaelmas 1961 Nigel was ordained by the Bishop of St Albans to serve as curate in the parish of Christ Church, Ware in Hertfordshire where he learned much about the administrative workings of a parish. Just after his third Christmas there he married Pauline Gray who was the PE teacher at the secondary school and heavily involved in the Young People’s work at Christ Church.

At the end of the summer of 1964 Nigel and Pauline moved to Reigate, Surrey where Nigel became senior curate at St Mary’s with Canon Peter Baker, whose son, Tony, had been at college with him and was his best man. These were very happy and fulfilling years.

In 1968, they accepted an invitation to the parish of St Jude’s Mildmay Park in Islington, consisting of 8000 people in a half mile square with the church at the centre, Newington Green and Hackney and Balls Pond Road on different edges. These were precious days of outreach and humbling commitment by the small dedicated congregation. The 8 years of ministry there provided several life times of parochial and human experience for Nigel and Pauline.

In 1976 they moved to the parish of Penn Street with Holmer Green, which was to be their home for 26 years. Nigel oversaw the almost total restoration of Holy Trinity Church, the parsonage house and much of Christ Church. He carried on to completion the facilities at Holmer Green provided by the new church centre main hall started by Frank Wankling, and then designed and built with the help of members of the congregation, first the extension to the front, the workshop and upper room and then, later, the games room to the rear. Pauline is remembered by many for the Sunday School she ran in the vicarage.

Nigel and Pauline retired in 2001.