History

Statue by Kathe Kollwitz: parents in mourning
“God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself,not holding people’s faults against them,and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.”2 Corinthians 5:19A century ago Europe was in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in its history, with a line of trenches that ran from the English Channel to the border of Switzerland: that line was the ‘Western Front’ that marked out the edges of a conflict that scythed also across the northern, southern...
In this blog post we reflect on some key figures that helped shape the Province Archives over the course of the 20th century. On reading the obituaries of these individuals, it became clear that those tasked with the challenge of overseeing the Archives were scholars and historians; their interest in the topic and skill with primary material making them ideal candidates for the job. Often in these obituaries, their role as Archivist as opposed to their contributions to history is over-shadowed...
Sepia photograph showing Father William sitting outdoors
Last month (May 2016) the Jesuits in Britain Archives received a new accession for the archives. Five items concerning William Amherst SJ (1820-1904) had been found in a book by Fr Amherst and had been sent to the archives by Brentwood Diocesan Archives. This inspired further investigation into Fr Amherst.William Joseph Amherst was born on 17 July 1820 of honourable and ancient lineage on both parents’ side and ‘was the last representative of a staunch old Catholic family that...
Old sepia photograph showing internal view of chapel at St Beuno's
In Letters and Notices of March 1966 the following note can be found:A stone in the Rock Chapel at St Beuno’s records: "This stone of the chapel was laid on May 10, 1866, and the chapel was opened on September 24, 1866." It may not be generally known that it was built in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows and as a pilgrimage shrine in reparation for the 64 shrines (we have a map of them) in honour of Our Lady destroyed in North Wales during the Reformation years. It was apparently...
Ferdinand Poulton was the third son of John Poulton and elder brother to another member of the Society of Jesus, Fr Charles Poulton. Ferdinand was born in Northampton in 1605, graduated in humanity studies at St Omer’s College, entered the Society at Watten in 1625 and was professed of the 4 vows 19th September 1641. Since the Reformation, England had been a dangerous place for Catholics. Yet in 1640 he was sent to the College of the Blessed Aloysius (Lancashire District) where...
Photo showing three pamphlets about Shakespeare
The discovery, in December 2014, of a hitherto unknown First Folio of the works of Shakespeare at St Omer, likely to be an overlooked part of the library of the Jesuit College that ultimately came to Stonyhurst, has added to the already lively debate around the playwright’s religion. The controversy has seen a growing corpus of works arguing that the Bard was a Catholic; a thesis seen by its proponents as a revisionist counterbalance to the prevailing academic orthodoxy that, some...
Image of a relic of the True Cross
The Jesuits in Britain Archives hold perhaps hundreds of relics, authenticated and non-authenticated, wrapped up in tiny parcels or housed in reliquaries of varying size, style and ornamentation. A relic usually consists of the physical remains of a venerated person or saint, or personal effects preserved so that the individual may be venerated. The relics held here range from teeth and small bones to blood soaked linen, rocks taken from holy places to a piece of rope from the hurdle that took...
Letter from John Butt, chaplain at the Crimea
This year, the 30th of March marks the 160th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris: the Treaty which put an end to over two years of fighting between Russia and an alliance of France, the United Kingdom, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia in the Crimean War. It was to be a war of several firsts: it was one of the first conflicts to use modern technologies such as explosive naval shells, railways, and telegraphs, one of the first to be documented extensively in written reports and ...
Since the closure of the Office of the Vice-Postulators at 114 Mount St c1984 the Jesuits in Britain Archives have been the home of its records, although the material wasn’t officially deposited with us until last year. The Archives fairly frequently receive requests for information regarding the lives of martyrs, and since many of those who suffered during the Reformation and those involved centuries later in the Cause were members of the Society, the collection became a priority for...
Small portrait images of John Stratton and Arthur Graham on a black and white image of an outdoor service during WWI
Last week marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Verdun, which was fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916. It was one of the largest battles of World War I on the Western Front between the German and French armies, and took place in north-eastern France near Verdun-sur-Meuse.To mark this anniversary, we thought we should share some more information about the Jesuit chaplains who served in World War I, who have not yet been featured on this website.Chaplains’ Weekly...

Pages