History

St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595), whose feast day is celebrated 21 February, is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised in 1970. The youngest of eight children of Norfolk gentry, Southwell was sent to Douai in 1576, where he studied at the French Jesuit College of Anchin. In 1578, he set off on foot to Rome, with the intention of becoming a Jesuit. Although he was at first denied entry to the novitiate, he was eventually admitted to the probation house at Sant’ Andrea on 17...
One of the Jesuits in Britain Archives’ most frequently consulted sources is a publication called Letters and Notices. It is an internal publication, intended for members of the Society, and is currently produced twice a year. This year is the 155th anniversary of the publication of its first volume in 1863.The first volume opens with a circular from the anonymous editor at Manresa House, Roehampton, dated ‘The Feast of the Annunciation of BVM 1862’:It has been proposed to make an effort to...
Archives Assistant, Lucy, is currently studying alongside her position at the Jesuits in Britain Archives for a professional qualification in Archives and Records Management. Having the practical experience to complement the theory and principles taught on the course is invaluable, however the reality of tasks such as cataloguing are in practice not always as straightforward as the theory would have you believe. In this blog post, Lucy tells us of her experiences, as she tackles a particularly...
One of the Archives’ most recent cataloguing projects is the fascinating collection of personal papers of Fr Thomas Corbishley SJ (1903-1976), Master of Campion Hall and later Superior at Farm Street. Since the personal papers of a deceased member of the British Province of the Society of Jesus are subject to a standard closure period of 40 years from the date of his death, as we steadily work towards producing a full catalogue of the Jesuits in Britain Archives, many of our cataloguing...
Ninety years ago this Christmas, Britain experienced one of the heaviest snowfalls recorded in the twentieth century. The huge blizzard of 1927 began on the afternoon of Christmas Day. Up to 25 feet of snow fell in parts of southern England, with six inches of snow recorded in central London. Towns and villages were completely cut off and roads in some rural areas remained unpassable for as long as three weeks. It was widely reported in the press at the time that the Salvation Army had...
Tuesday 5 December is International Volunteer Day, an international observance designated by the United Nations in 1985 that offers an opportunity for volunteer organisations and individual volunteers to make their contributions visible at local, national and international levels. At the Jesuits in Britain Archives, volunteers have given over 700 hours, the equivalent of 130 days, of their time since 2014, to help us with many important tasks such as cataloguing, calendaring volumes of letters...
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...

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