History

On 15 April 1755, Dr Johnson published his Dictionary of the English Language. In the previous 150 years over 20 English dictionaries had been published, but these had all had serious shortcomings of organisation or scope which limited their usefulness. Dr Johnson was commissioned to make his dictionary by a group of publishers who needed a definitive authority for English grammar, definition and spelling. There had been a huge expansion of books, newspapers and pamphlets in the Eighteenth...
This Friday, 30th of March 2017, will see the launch of the eagerly anticipated Farm Street: The Story of the Jesuits’ Church in London by Michael Hall, Sheridan Gilley and Maria Perry. The gloriously illustrated volume celebrating 50 years of the Farm Street Parish explores the history of Farm Street Church to 1914, the architecture and furnishings of the Church and its associated buildings, and takes a look at life at Farm Street between the wars. Several of the photographs of Jesuits and...
Praying Monks date unknown
This week these two wooden painted monks, each measuring about seven inches tall, have returned from the City & Guilds of London Arts School. The monk on the left has undergone conservation as a final project in an undergraduate’s degree in Conservation Studies, whilst the other, still showing its red and white patches of wear, is unchanged.The monks are something of a mystery. Their appearance provides the only clues to their history, as on their donation in 1835 by Mr P.G. Blackett, the...
Pelican Shamrock Banner
With the celebration of St Patrick’s Day today, (17th March), our chosen object has an appropriately Irish theme. This processional banner comes from a collection with 7 others, which were used at Stonyhurst on the Feast of Corpus Christi.On that Feast Day, through much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the College would make a procession with the Blessed Sacrament from the Fronts to an altar placed in the gardens to celebrate Mass. Along with a guard-of-honour from the CCF and OTC, many banners...
“Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures … [It is] the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” (United Nations’ World Poetry Day website).The British Province of the Society of Jesus can count many poets among its members. In previous ‘From the Archives’ blog posts we have already celebrated the verses written down and often beautifully decorated by philosophy students in the...
Manuscript of Taffy the Welsh Mouse
Having celebrated St David’s Day earlier this week, it seems appropriate that this week’s Object from the Stonyhurst College collection focuses on Wales.  ‘The Mouse Trap’ is a poem written in English and Latin by John Formby, when he was a student at St. Omers in 1729, aged 17. Such poems were written by pupils to be performed on suitable occasions, and it is very likely that The Mouse Trap was declaimed by John Formby on St David’s Day in 1729.It is believed that John Formby is in fact...
This year, on the 2nd of March, over 100 countries across the world will be celebrating World Book Day, and 2017 marks the 20th such annual celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading, designated by UNESCO.Here at the Jesuits in Britain Archives, it is not purely archival material, which preserves the records of the British Province in the form of unique written documents, that we care for. We also look after a large number of antiquarian books dating to the 16th-17th centuries,...
Warriors, Sketch of Augustus Law SJ c1880
There is a small sketchbook in the Stonyhurst College collections, with a number of curious and moving drawings and paintings by a Jesuit priest who is popularly known as the Martyr of the Zambezi.Augustus Law was converted to Catholicism when serving as a junior officer in the Navy. He joined the Jesuits in 1854, and twenty-one years later set sail for South Africa, feeling a strong call to be a missionary. He founded St Aidan’s College for boys in Grahamstown and learnt the Zulu language...
The purpose of the Jesuit in Britain Archives is to collect, preserve and make available records concerning the Jesuits in Britain. This is the basic principle by which we in the Archives work on a daily basis. For hundreds of years, people have been creating records on paper and parchment and the Jesuits are no exception, with some of our records dating as far back as the sixteenth century. For Archivists, these types of records are fairly easy to preserve and manage; once they have been...
St Omers Customs Book
This week’s object may seem less exciting that some previous examples, consisting as it does of a 20th century typescript of a lost 17th century document, but it is of critical importance in the shaping of the College’s mission early in its history, and has had a lasting, profound effect on the development of the College ethos since 1601.In 1617, the second Rector of St Omers College, Fr Giles Schondonch, became aware that his end was near and he was keen to pass on his hard-won...

Pages