History

As May draws to a close, so too does a month of special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. With Spring and the promise of new life well under way, the Archives turn once again to the wonderful Blandyke Papers. These wholly manuscript volumes, spanning 1888 to 1923, were largely a place for future priests to reflect on history, literature, liturgy, philosophy and science. But they were also an outlet for literary and creative and artistic development, and perhaps none display these skills...
Fr William Feran SJ, author of the original Chaplains' weekly
On May 9th 1915 Fr William Feran composed the first edition of The Chaplains’ Weekly; a newsletter whose purpose he explained in the foreword was to maintain communication with British Jesuit Chaplains serving in WWI. He wrote:As Fr. Provincial finds it impossible to send lengthy letters to the individual chaplains, he has asked me to chromograph, week by week, items of news that may interest them and send a copy to each. This I propose doing each Sunday. The communication will not be, in any...
Black and white photograph of Fr Bernard Vaughan wearing a long coat and top hat
100 years ago in April 1915 Fr Bernard Vaughan SJ spent several days at Farnborough with Lord Kitchener’s new army at the conclusion of which he ascended in a military biplane. Letters and Notices reported on this event in July 1915 (L&N,33,189-191), extracts of which are included here:..It would be difficult to express the fine impression Fr Vaughan’s visit has created among the men, Protestant as well as Catholics. They were proud to see him flying like an airman and riding like a...
Having discovered that 170 years ago on 29 March 1845, the English Governor of Malta invited the Society to open a College on the island, it was decided to look at what material could be found in the Province Archives which relate to Malta and in particular to this College.From looking at various sources, it was discovered that the College of St Paul's was opened in 1845 at Notabile. George Connell SJ (1800-1853) was the first Rector of the College. His name is the sole name listed...
John Luck was born 9 January 1867 in Aldershot where his father Richard was a boot maker. He entered the Society in September 1888. Throughout his life Luck kept up regular correspondence with his parents and five sisters: Lizzie, Lucy, Maggie, Emma and May, and latterly his niece, Mildred. Through his letters, which are unfailingly upbeat and streaked with humour, we catch a glimpse of a man who is always willing to provide advice to his sisters and throw himself whole-heartedly into any task....
It was the custom that each year the Philosophers and Theologians went for two weeks on holiday to Barmouth, otherwise known as Barmouth Villa.  The original villa house was called Aber House and still stands in the centre of Barmouth.  In 1879 Aber House was sold and Fronoleu Terrace, a larger and more suitable house was rented outside of Barmouth in Llanaber.  In the 1930s the house was bought from the owners. The house is now known as “The Jesuits” or “The Jesuit House”...
“My first impression of Fr Cary-Elwes was a vivid one”, wrote a friend of his, “but, oddly enough as it now seems to me, it was one of disappointment. He came into the room where I was sitting, and I looked up, expecting to see a figure of rugged and compelling charm (I had heard much of his wonderful missionary work and journeying), a sort of modern version of St Francis Xavier ... I saw a little white-faced man, with unbrushed , untidy clothes and rumpled up-ended hair.” (Our Dead 1939-1945,...
Around this time last year our attention was brought to an auction on French Ebay of ‘Portrait d’un martyr Jésuite (fin 17ième debut 18ième)’.  This turned out to be a miniature oval shaped portrait of St Henry Morse SJ painted on copper by an unknown artist, with an inscription around the edge ‘Henricus Mas Passus 22 Janvari 1645’.Jan Graffius, Curator of Collections at Stonyhurst College explains: The painting is in the tradition of small devotional images painted on copper,...
Black and white photograph of a Zepplin in front of a hanger with people milling about underneath
One hundred years ago today the first Zeppelin raid on Britain took place on the evening of 19th January 1915.A young Jesuit scholastic who had been studying in Germany until 1914, was concerned about the Zeppelin menace and provided drawings and warnings in an article in the Blandyke Papers.   Thomas Egan SJ (1889-1915) was a member of the Irish province.  After the outbreak of war and his return from Germany, he resumed his philosophy studies at Stonyhurst.  His...
Black ink sketch of a chapel with palm tree
On 2 November 1869, Fr James Splaine SJ (1834-1901) travelled out as a Jesuit missionary to Jamaica, and remained there three years, until he left for the United States and then Canada.Fr Splaine kept several detailed diaries and occasionally included illustrations to explain what he is describing. According to his obituary: ‘…he left England and began foreign mission work in Jamaica. Upon arriving at his destination, Father Splaine started afresh to build up another diary with renewed...

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