Branch Leader/Contact Jane Endean
e-Mail mothers.union@standrewsoxshott.org.uk


St Andrew’s Church, Oakshade Road, Oxshott, Surrey, KT22 0LE

Oxshott’s Mothers’ Union began more than 100 years ago, with the founding of St Andrew’s Church. Currently a lively group of 50 members, dedicated to caring for the community as well as each other, the Mothers’ Union runs a continuing varied programme of events from organising a hog roast for the Olympic cycle race to contributing to church flower festivals. Membership is open to all and anyone is welcome to join.


Photograph from Jane Endean

Mary Sumner Visits Oxshott

Courtesy of a Time Machine and a costume which had belonged to a member’s great-grandmother I paid a visit to St Andrew’s Oxshott on Sunday, 14th October. I had been invited to help the branch celebrate its 100th birthday, which it shared with the church, and was interviewed by parishioner Andrew Burns in the chancel.

Mr Burns began by asking me about the speech I had made to the Church Congress in Portsmouth in 1885, the very first congress to which women had been invited.  I had been asked to speak alongside Bishop Ernest Wilberforce, nephew of the great reformer William, and cousin of my husband George. I said how wonderful it was to see so many women, particularly those from working class backgrounds.  Although I was terrified to face such a huge audience, including many distinguished churchmen, my fears soon dissolved as I warmed to my subject.  I told Mr Burns that the Bishop had heard about the work I began nine years ago in my husband’s parish of Old Alresford which had spread to other dioceses and was known as The Mothers’ Union.

Asked what had inspired me to form this Union I told him of my very privileged upbringing and how it contrasted with the abject poverty of some village women and the spiritual and physical starvation of their families.  I admitted that when they arrived at the Rectory at my invitation I took fright and hid, leaving my husband to cope with the meeting.

The final message for Mr Burns was to stress the vital importance of Christian family life, the health of nations depending upon morality being taught in the home - “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.

Mr Burns then returned to his Time Machine and travelled to the brand new church of St Andrew’s in the year 1912, on the very day on which a new Mothers’ Union Branch was formed under the leadership of The Hon Mrs Gore.  He interviewed Mrs Skelton, newly enrolled that day, who told him that there were 37 working class women like herself and 10 Lady Members!