St Mary Magdalene
Since the Reformation in the 16th century, there had been no Roman Catholic church in Stony Stratford, though there were several Church of England churches – St Mary Magdalene, St Giles and St Mary the Virgin. St Giles and St Mary the Virgin were amalgamated in 1968 to form the combined parish of St Mary and St Giles.
St Mary Magdalene Tower - repaired when the rest of the church burnt down in 1742
Following the Reformation, which began around 1533, it was very dangerous to be Roman Catholic and the position of Stony Stratford on a main national highway made it very difficult to maintain the Faith with any degree of safety.

In 1702, in a report supplied to his diocese, the Vicar of Stony Stratford wrote that in his parish "were only three families reputed Papists".

Up to the 1860's, when St Francis de Sales Catholic Church was built, the nearest churches east and west were Weston Underwood, near Olney and Hethe, near Bicester, both rural areas where the Faith had survived through the protection of the lords of their manors.

In 1908, the Rev O P Henly, vicar of St Mary the Virgin, otherwise known as Wolverton St Mary, was forced out of his parish by the Bishop of Buckingham for being too 'high church'. He joined the Roman Catholic Church, followed 4 years later by the Rev C Stenson, a curate of St Giles, who became Dom Columba OSB of the Caldery Benedictines.

A number of their parishioners were upset at losing them and subsequently also converted to Catholicism. They were remembered when the new St Mary Magdalene Church was built (see The Building of the New Church).

St Mary Magdalene RC church when it was first built
St Mary the Virgin church whose parish amalgamated with St Giles. It has now been converted and is used as a community centre.
In 1908, St Francis de Sales church in Wolverton served an area including Bletchley, Woburn Sands, Newport Pagnell and intervening villages. The Roman Catholic population of this area was 150.

By 1958, the same area, now provided with five churches, served 2,200.