History

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...
Pen and ink sketch of a pharaoh with caption Ramses as a boy
As we turn the pages of the Old Testament the wish can hardly fail to arise in us – that more could be told us about the characters of whom we read.Once more we turn to the Blandyke Papers for inspiration for the first of this month’s Archives’ blog posts, and what could be more fitting than this piece 'The Paraohs of the Oppression and Exodus' by Fr Cyril Martindale SJ (1879-1963) of February 1900, as we enter Lent and prepare for Easter.There are many parallels that can be drawn between...
Helena Wintour was born in dangerous times for Catholic families in England. Her father was Robert Wintour who, along with his two brothers, was executed as a traitor in 1606 for his part in the Gunpowder Plot which had been foiled the year before. The name Wintour was even enough to convict Robert’s younger half-brother, John, who had no part in the plot, but suffered death nevertheless. Helena was only six years old when her mother Gertrudewas left alone to bring up the four children.  ...
The 30th January marks the anniversary of the death of Fr Thomas Falkner SJ at Norton, Shropshire, in 1784. Author of the book ‘Description of Patagonia and the adjoining parts of South America’ (accessible by clicking here), Falkner spent 38 years in South America and his medical and scientific expertise lead him to be considered a “latter-day Galen” by his contemporaries. Information about Falkner is pretty limited but my preliminary reading included a brief Wikipedia entry that made several...
Collage of black and white boats on which photos of Frs Legros, Devas and Day, all in military uniform is shown
The Gallipoli Campaign, occurred in what was then the Ottoman Empire but is now Turkey, between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. The Gallipoli peninsula forms part of the bank of the Dardanelles strait, the sea route to the Russian Empire. Britain and France launched a naval attack to secure the route for their ally Russia. When this failed, a land campaign was prepared. A hundred years on we review the experience of the three British Jesuit Chaplains missioned to Gallipoli whose job it was to...
Painting of snow covered village
The personal papers of Fr Leslie Ignatius Walker contain some of the Archives’ most treasured items, particularly his sketch books. Among his records are his personal diaries, the majority of which belong to his teenage years. These give a delightful insight into the life of a school boy during the late 19th century. Among the most charming are the entries for Christmas day, in which he often lists what he and his family received.Christmas Day 1889:Rose early at 5-30 but got in to bed...
Title page and photo of the company
While looking into a research enquiry recently I discovered pantomime plays written by Fr Bernard Basset SJ (1909-1988) with music by Fr John Delahunty SJ (1907-1992). In the 1940s, Stella Maris published some of Bernard Bassett’s pantomimes including Aladdin, Robinson Crusoe and Cinderella, but more fascinating are the two bound librettos located in the Archive. At the time these pantomimes were written they were both studying philosophy at Heythrop (1931-1934).  The first is ‘...

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