History

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Between 10 July and 31 October 1940, the German Air Force waged an air campaign against the United Kingdom. The objective of the German forces was to achieve air superiority over the Royal Air Force, and began by targeting coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres. Soon the target of attacks was shifted to RAF airfields and infrastructure, factories involved in aircraft production, and eventually areas of political significance...
The Pyrotechnica Loyolana pamphlet title page
349 years ago for four days a major fire burnt in London. The Great Fire of London swept through the city from 2 to 5 September 1666, and destroyed many buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral. As the fire burnt, the inhabitants looked for culprits and so foreigners and Catholics were attacked. During the Popish Plot, Titus Oates accused the Jesuits of setting the fire. An article, written by the historian and former Province Archivist Thomas McCoog SJ, on the religious and political landscape...
In the latest ‘From the Archives’, we feature the Farm St alphabet poem written by Fr Frederick Hathaway SJ (1814-1891). While cataloguing the Farm St Church collection, I came across the alphabet written by Fr Hathaway. Intrigued by the author and names in the poem I carried out some research. Fr Hathaway entered the Society at Hodder in 1852 by way of the Church of England, and particularly Tractarianism, when he was 37 years old. His progression was remarkably fast and he was ordained...
On the 9th of August 1793, the English College began its migration from St Omer in Artois, to Bruges. Initially founded in 1593 by Fr Robert Persons SJ as the College of Saint-Omer in Artois, France (then part of the Spanish Netherlands), the school was forced to relocate twice due to the suppression of the Jesuit order, first to Bruges in 1762 and then Liege in 1773, before migrating a third and final time to Stonyhurst in England where it became Stonyhurst College in 1794.Since Catholic...
This year marks the 155th anniversary of the opening of the Jesuit-run Church of the Sacred Heart at Lauriston Street, Edinburgh.Looking back 300 years, the position of the Jesuits in Scotland, and indeed the Catholic Church, was not such a happy one:‘The monasteries nearly are all in ruins … churches, altars, sanctuaries are overthrown and profaned … No religious rite is celebrated in any part of the kingdom, no Mass is ever said in public … and none of the Sacraments publicly administered...
           Sheila, one of our archive volunteers, has recently been repacking some of the photograph collection to ensure their preservation. She came across two fascinating photographs taken of St John’s College, Belize, in what was then known as British Honduras, taken just before and immediately after a severe hurricane in 1931 in which many lives were lost. The annotations on the back of the photographs made us want to find out more....
18 June 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. This decisive battle not only ended the series of wars that had convulsed Europe since the French Revolution of 1789, it also ended the First French Empire and the political and military career of Napoleon Bonaparte, and ushered in almost half a century of peace in Europe.The Archives of the Jesuits in Britain might be the last place you would expect to find anything of significance for this occasion, but among the archives is...
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...

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