History

Since 2015, the Jesuits in Britain Archives have held an annual open day in November for the Jesuit community and staff to coincide with the Explore Your Archive launch week. Explore Your Archive is an Archives and Records Association tool for public and private organisations across the UK and Ireland to showcase hidden gems stored in their collections. Over the years we have put on displays focussing on various themes, such as ArchI’ve Explored, which aimed to introduce the wide range of...
A blue sheet of paper with black typewriter print
November marks 40 years since Pedro Arrupe SJ, the then Superior General of the Jesuits, set up the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in response to the plight of Vietnamese refugees fleeing their war-ravaged homeland. JRS is an international Catholic organisation aiming to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. There are now programmes in over 50 countries.With the anniversary approaching, JRS UK contacted the Jesuits in Britain Archives to...
This year, Sunday 25 October marked the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. The Martyrs represent Catholic lay and religious men and women executed for their faith between 1534 and 1680. The Jesuits in Britain Archives are privileged to look after the Martyrs’ Cause archives, a considerable body of work created by the Vice-Postulators of the Cause, which spans over 100 years from the introduction of the Cause in the 19th century to the final...
 This year, 20 October marks World Statistics Day, a day to highlight the importance of data for informed decision-making. The United Nations event is celebrated every 5 years. Archives are repositories of data, and at the Jesuits in Britain Archives, our core activity is the processing of the data that we hold by way of cataloguing, in order to make it accessible to users. To celebrate, we have put together some fun statistics about the Archives. If you are interested in the work...
(Originally published September 2015)The 1715 Jacobite rising saw an attempt to regain the English throne for the Stuarts, who had fled into exile in France following the 1688 Revolution. The Earl of Mar, John Erskine, sailed to Scotland in the summer of 1715 and on 6 September the Stuart standard was raised at Braemar and a military force was mobilised. The Old Pretender, James Stuart, landed in Aberdeenshire in December but the initiative was lost by that time and further military operations...
Book provenance is an area of research which delves into the history of individual books and of libraries.  It focuses on who owned which books, and what other books they kept in their libraries, and how they organised them.  Knowing the contents of a person’s or institution’s library gives an insight into their life and thinking. It allows us to see what interested people in former ages (even if they did not read...
This year, 1 September marks the 125th anniversary of the death of former Provincial of the English Province, Fr Robert Whitty SJ. The Irish priest joined the Society at the age of 40, after a successful career in the Roman Catholic church as a secular priest. Whitty was acquainted with many influential Catholics of the day including Bishop Thomas Griffiths, the first and only Vicar Apostolic of the London District, Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster, and influential...
The outbreak of Coronavirus saw Jesuit novices Dunstan Rodrigues and Sam Dixon abruptly leaving their experiment in Dublin – a six-week experience of ministry – and heading for St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in north Wales. Four vulnerable Jesuits were spending time there in quarantine, and it seemed the perfect opportunity for the two new Jesuits to conduct recorded interviews with them for the Jesuits in Britain Archives.While the production of oral histories has always been high on...
On 28 July 2020 the parish of St Francis of Assisi in Barbados was handed over to the local diocese after Michael Barrow SJ celebrated his final Mass there. This seems like a good opportunity to reflect a little on the British Jesuits history on that island after 163 years of their involvement.Although the Jesuits in Britain Archives have a bound volume of mission papers containing letters, financial and spiritual accounts and articles from the Bajan and Missionary Magazine on the history and...
For many of us, the idea of a summer holiday will be just a memory because of the coronavirus pandemic - but since 1853 Jesuit students have taken a two week holiday in Barmouth, Wales. The house at Barmouth is still owned by the Jesuits, and is today used as a retreat centre. Travel back in time over the last 160 years with the Jesuits in Britain Archive.The summer holidays are about to start, and for some they are already upon us. Children will be enjoying their six weeks off school, and...

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