History

Illuminated IHS headscript under which October 1917 and Codex Juris Canonici in typescript
A centenary ago, on 19 May 1918, the Code of Canon Law took legal effect, having been promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917. Prior to the Code of 1917, the Churches law was scattered in separate documents making it very difficult to find out what the law was on a particular point. “The volume of documentation was so vast and complex that only a canonist who possessed some of the skill of an archivist would have known where to look to find what the law said” (Peter Ingman, ‘The New Code...
On 23 April 1995, UNESCO proclaimed the first World Book and Copyright Day. For world literature, this is a symbolic date: it is the day that, in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (chronicler of Inca history, culture, and society) died. It is also the date of birth or death of other noteworthy authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo, making it a natural choice for UNESCO to pay a worldwide tribute to books...
As in most professions, it is important for archivists to keep up with their professional development in order to be up to date with current theory and practice in the field, and to expand their knowledge. In this week’s ‘From the Archives’ blog post, Archives Assistant Lucy Vinten Mattich reports on two training events that she and other members of the Archives team have recently attended for just that purpose.Archivists need many different skills.  We need to know how to look after...
The Jesuit presence in Maryland dates back to the arrival of English settlers in the area now known as St Mary’s City on the Potomac River in 1634. Among the first group of 320 settlers to arrive on 25th March 1634 was an English Jesuit, Fr Andrew White SJ, and his companions who established the Maryland Mission. Maryland was erected as a Province in its own right in 1833. Today the Province encompasses an area covering nine states on the eastern seaboard of the United States. In this blog post...
Just over 161 years ago in March 1857, Fathers James Etheridge, Aloysius Emiliani and Clement Negri arrived in Georgetown in what was then British Guiana to establish a Jesuit mission there. Individual Jesuits, most notably Fr Leonard Neale and Fr James Chamberlain, had attempted missionary work in the territory in the late eighteenth century, however as the Society was under suppression these individual endeavours did not lead to the establishment of a Jesuit mission.The first Vicar-Apostolic...
Fr Conor Harper SJ, Vice-Postulator for the Cause of John Sullivan SJ, last weekend preached at Farm Street Church to mark the anniversary of his death in 1933.  Bl John Sullivan was first received into the Church at Farm St in 1896 by Fr John Gavan SJ.Lent is the time of the year when Christians of all denominations observe a time of prayer and penance in preparation for the great feast of Easter when we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.We are invited to reflect on the great...
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...

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