History

As part of the annual Explore Your Archive campaign, the Jesuits in Britain Archives held an open day on Tuesday 21st November 2017. Archive services across the United Kingdom and Ireland participate in this campaign to showcase their collections and to raise awareness of the work of archivists and recordkeepers. The Explore Your Archive campaign also serves to celebrate the richness and diversity of archive collections and to highlight individual examples of the wonderful, the unexpected and...
This week we remember those who have served their country in war.Jesuits have served as Military Chaplains in successive conflicts, and in the Jesuits in Britain Archive we have records of Jesuits who served in the British military as Chaplains in the Crimean and later wars.  We have written about some of these before; Chaplains of the Crimean War, Jesuits at Gallipoli, and Two 1916 World War One Chaplains.During the First World War a total of 84 Jesuits from the English Province served as...
As the UK prepares for the annual Bonfire Night celebrations, the BBC will be airing the final episode of its ‘explosive’ three-part drama, Gunpowder. As part of the main cast, the series has portrayed two English Jesuits: Frs John Gerard and Henry Garnet. The first episode saw them involved in a tense opening scene which set the tone for the series, and of the times, of an intense atmosphere of persecution and paranoia. Forced into priest holes at the house of a Catholic recusant by the...
On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg – or so the story goes. Although this part of the story is likely to be myth, the year 1517 was to be a turning point in history. In that year Luther’s Theses, originally sent to the Archbishop of Mainz in protest of the sale of indulgences, were printed in several locations across Germany; in January 1518 they were translated from Latin to German, and within two weeks, copies had...
Robert Emms as John Gerard SJ and Peter Mullan as Henry Garnet SJ, BBC iPlayer
By the time she died in 1603, Queen Elizabeth’s succession had been planned carefully by Robert Cecil and the Queen’s Council.  As Elizabeth had no heir and many remembered the years of confusion over the succession after the death of Henry VIII, Cecil was convinced that stability was best achieved by paving the way for King James VI of Scotland, a great-grandson of Henry’s sister Margaret, to succeed to the English throne. On Cecil’s secret advice, James VI cultivated the elderly...
The Jesuits in Britain Archives is full of letters – personal correspondence, circulars, letters to and from Fr Provincial and Fr General, annual letters in Latin, postcards and Christmas cards. There are letters from Guyana, South Africa, Jamaica, India, Maryland, Rome, from all parts of Britain and, it seems, from all corners of the world. Such a volume of correspondence is perhaps unsurprising for letters are the staple component of many archives. However, the extent of the correspondence...
This year, September 28 will mark the second year of UNESCO’s International Day for the Universal Access to Information (or Access to Information Day). With this in mind, we take a moment to reflect on the work of the Jesuits in Britain Archives, and how we play a small part in Access to Information Day every day, by making our records available.Arguably, there is no point in having an archive – employing the staff to manage it and putting in the financial resources to ensure the material is...
September is the start of the new academic year as children all over the country head back to school. The Society of Jesus is recognised throughout the world for its work in establishing and running schools, colleges and universities. This blog post gives a brief overview of some of the collections of school records held here at the Jesuits in Britain Archives and, in particular, the records of Mount St Mary’s College, which is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its establishment this...
‘It was as lonely an outpost of religion as you could find anywhere.’ So wrote Evelyn Waugh of the Jesuit mission station of St Ignatius in the central Rupununi region of south-west Guyana.In the winter of 1932-1933 Waugh had travelled to the interior of British Guiana (as it was then known) and Brazil. Waugh ostensibly had the travelling bug – in the foreword to Ninety-Two Days, the travelogue Waugh published in 1934 giving an account of this trip, he admits to ‘a fascination in distant and...
Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Rubens Credit Wikimedia
‘DOGMA’ has become a ‘boo-word’. Rather than its original Christian definition ‘a tenet of Christian faith’ or ‘the authoritative teaching of the Church’ the Oxford dictionary now includes the meaning ‘an arrogant declaration of opinion.’ The negative definition may have evolved through widespread criticisms of the way the Catholic Church has historically enforced its teachings, especially via the CDF (the Congregation of the Faith), formerly called the Holy Office. This Congregation has until...

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