Archives

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...
Jan Graffius shows Andrew Graham-Dixon the Campion rope at Stonyhurst
The Collections of Stonyhurst College featured prominently in a documentary broadcast on BBC Four at the weekend. In the programme, Treasures of Heaven, Andrew Graham-Dixon explored the ancient Christian practice of preserving Christian relics and the largely forgotten art form that went with it - the reliquary. His research took him from the Crown of Thorns venerated at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the martyrdom of St Thomas Becket – and even to more recent events in El Salvador with the...
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...
Hello, I’m Mary, Assistant Archivist at the Jesuits in Britain Archives. I have been working here since the beginning of 2015 and have previously worked and volunteered in a variety of Archive services. I have been a qualified Archivist since 2013. My main task is to catalogue the vast collections of material that we have on individual British Jesuits, the records of colleges, residences and houses, foreign missionary work of the Province, and photographs. The aim of cataloguing is to make our...
Kircher's 1678 catalogue has been republished by St Omers Press
A new translation of an historic 17th catalogue recently published by the St Omers Press at Stonyhurst College brings together significant items from the collection of the Collegio Romano Museum. The facsimile of Kircher’s 1678 catalogue includes a selection of natural, scientific and cultural wonders and even illustrates what is probably the world’s first ever computer! It was recently launched at Stonyhurst College by its Curator, Mrs Jan Graffius.Jesuit Father Athanasius Kircher SJ (1602-80...
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 ‘...
Text reading: ARCH'IVE explored
On Wednesday 18 November the Jesuits in Britain Archives held an open day in aid of the Explore Your Archive (EYA) campaign – a joint campaign delivered by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association across the UK and Ireland to showcase the unique potential of archives to excite people, bring communities together, and tell amazing stories. During the week long campaign, organisations across the UK and Ireland showcase their archival collections, whatever their size and scale...

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