The Anglo Catholic History Society
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This was held on June 10 at the Church of St Clement Danes, followed by Dr Julian Litten’s lecture on the little known Ambrose Thomas, “Marquis d'Oisy”. There was a good turnout and members greatly enjoyed Dr Litten’s witty and scholarly account of his research to establish basic facts about this extraordinary and rather enchanting character of the Anglo-Catholic inter-war period. It is hoped to circulate a printed version of the lecture in due course. The Minutes of the AGM appear below.
SATURDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2013
This year the walk will take place in the inner East End of London, once the scene of intense activity by Anglo-Catholics.
The walk starts at St. Peter, London Docks (near Wapping Overground station) at 9.15.
We will visit a number of other churches including St. Mary, Cable Street, St. Matthew, Bethnal Green, and St. Chad, Haggerston. Morning coffee will be provided at the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine, Ratcliff.
There will be a charge of £10 per head payable on the day to cover donations and to pay for coffee and biscuits.
ANGLICAN CHURCH BUILDING IN LONDON
This is the title of the latest book by our members Michael Yelton and John Salmon, the publication of which by Spire Books was supported with a financial subvention by this Society. Astonishingly in London alone over 250 Anglican churches were new or built as replacements for bomb damaged buildings in this post-war period. Many were for Anglo-Catholic congregations and the book discloses a large number of fine buildings well worth visiting. The book is a veritable vade mecum for the modern church crawler and is highly to be recommended. A review of the book appears below with details of how to order.
ANGLO-CATHOLICISM IN AUSTRALIA
It was hoped that David Hilliard, one of our members in Australia, would give a lecture on this subject but unfortunately it proved impossible to find a lecture slot to coincide with a time when he was in London. However, he very kindly agreed to write a paper for us and I am happy to send you a copy of the ensuing booklet. His paper is entitled “Anglo-Catholicism in the Sunburnt Country: Australia c.1840-2012”. Anglo-Catholicism never really caught on down under and now belongs largely to the past. We are very grateful to Dr Hilliard for this valuable contribution.
ADVANCE NOTICE FOR YOUR DIARY
THE AUTUMN LECTURE
This is scheduled to take place at the Church of St Clement Danes on Monday October 7 commencing at 7pm. Fr William Davage formerly of Pusey House will speak on “Athelstan Riley and the Lost World of Anglo-Catholicism”.
REPORTS ON TWO COACH TOURS IN 2013.
Leeds – 18th May 2013
Any student of churches inspired by the Oxford Movement needs to visit Oxford, London and Leeds. We began our tour in the city centre at Leeds Minster (formerly known as Leeds Parish Church). It was rebuilt by Dr W.F. Hook in 1841, is of cathedral proportions and retains a high standard of choral services. Hook is a key figure in the story of the development of the Oxford Movement from being an academic movement to having practical expression in parishes. It was his friendship with Dr E.B. Pusey which led to the building of St Saviour’s, which we visited after a splendid lunch. Dr Pusey built St Saviour’s at his own personal expense at a time when Hook was dividing his huge parish into smaller parishes. The teeming slums are long-gone and the area is much changed. Dr Pusey realized that the city of Leeds was rapidly growing and that another church would be needed to the south-east of the city centre and so at the consecration of St Saviour’s in 1845 he made the first contribution to the building fund of what became St Hilda’s, our third venue. St Hilda’s was consecrated on 18th September 1882 and on that very day the news reached Leeds that the Founder had died just two days previously at Ascot Priory. At first the building was quite plain and the elaborate furnishings were added in stages as funds became available. From there we crossed the River Aire and were very lucky to be able to visit The Church of the Holy Spirit, Beeston Hill, the subject of one of our recent publications (available from the Secretary). The area was developed early in the C20th and Holy Spirit opened in 1905. Now services have been discontinued, the building is for sale and many of the fixtures and fittings have been removed to other churches. The local population is now very different and a splendid mosque is being built close to the church.
We moved on to The Church of the Epiphany, Gipton, in East Leeds, our fifth and final destination. This is a 1930s building by Cachemaille-Day, set in an area of 1930s council housing. There we enjoyed tea and cake to sustain us on our homeward journey. We had seen five very different buildings of different dates and in different areas, all demonstrating aspects of the story of the development of Anglo-Catholicism. As a bonus we heard the organ being played at each church. Stephen Savage
West Berkshire – 13 July 2013
It is customary for the tours run by the Society to enjoy good weather. This year we were blessed with a very hot day indeed, which at times became oppressive, but we were able to see a wide variety of churches in a small area, once we had got to West Berkshire. We started with two churches in Newbury, St. George, an Italian design conceived by F.C. Eden, and then St. John, a new church designed after bomb damage by Stephen Dykes-Bower: this was much admired. Our next visit was to St. John, Stockcross, where a Victorian church of little interest had its interior transformed by the genius of Comper. The fittings excited many. We then paid a short visit to Shefford Woodlands, where a former Wesleyan chapel had been transformed into an Anglican church, and then had an excellent lunch. After that we moved on to Lambourn, where there is an interesting church which was but no longer is Anglo-Catholic and then to Compton Beauchamp, where Martin Travers transformed the interior of the tiny church for Samuel Gurney. Those who had not seen this before were entranced. Finally, we had tea with the very few remaining sisters at Wantage, a rather sad experience, and were shown the two chapels in what was once a flourishing community, and then moved on to the vibrant parish church, where the Faith is still taught. Michael Yelton.
Afterthoughts – An appreciation of the Summer Coach Tour in West Berkshire.
This was my first ACHS day trip, as a new member, and it proved to be a most interesting one with a strong 20th century flavour in and around Newbury, on the Berkshire Downs and Wantage. It was impeccably organised by Michael Yelton and at every church were greeted by an open door and hovering figure (no mean achievement having organised such ‘church crawls’ myself).
We started with a couple of 20th century churches, one from the 1930s by F C Eden, St George’s, Wash Common and St John, Newbury by Stephen Dykes-Bower (1957). I dug out my notes from a Thirties Society visit (now Twentieth Century Society) to both of them in 1988. Eden who is perhaps best known for his church restorations such as at Blisland (Cornwall) with its manifold screens and North Cerney in Glos had a debilitating stroke soon after the completion of St George’s in 1933 and it only contains a few fittings by him (rood). Most of the rest are post-war additions, for example, the subtly coloured baldacchino and altar by Dykes Bower and the cloister (partially filled in very recently) and commanding campanile by the local architect, John Griffin. It makes a powerful ensemble of Renaissance austerity in white. Perhaps its different authors and long gestation explain why the church is not listed which it certainly needs to be.
We then moved onto St John’s which replaced by a blitzed brick Butterfield church and is in my view Dykes Bower’s most compelling work, built as a piece and not subject to the long delays and arguments which plagued the building of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The use and quality of brickwork inside and out at St John’s in homage to Butterfield is staggering, with as Anthony Symondson says in his monograph on Dykes Bower (C20 Society, RIBA and EH, 2012) the starkness being alleviated by colour and geometric patterning on the ceiling and altar tester. It well deserves its Grade II listing.
The next stop was a Comper scheme for the wealthy Sutton family of nearby Benham Park who added to the ‘thin’ 1830’s Gothic estate church of St John’s from 1902 onwards, first as a widow’s shrine to a husband and then after WWI to a son, Sir Richard Sutton. These fittings such as a fine altar and reredos (1931), windows of saints of the four countries of the British Isles (1905), war memorial chapel (1921-2) and iron chancel gates (1933) were meant to go into a larger church by Comper but this was never built.
We then saw a real curiosity which is obviously an ACHS speciality, a church, St Stephen’s Shefford Woodlands, converted from a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel by Captain Burmester in 1911 and happily still in occasional use for worship. Its non-conformist antecedents are obvious in its rather unprepossessing pebble-dash exterior but inside the Burmester’s installed panelling topped by edifying verses around the walls make for an idiosyncratic, almost frontier like interior. Our next stop was Lambourn Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels where the main interest for the group was the English altar and reredos installed in 1950 by George Baden Beadle for Faithcraft.
The next church was a real highlight of the day, St Swithun, Compton Beauchamp, up in a fold of the Downs next to an exquisite Georgian fronted manor house (and which John Betjeman describes lyrically in his Murray’s Guide to Berkshire, 1949). The owner, Samuel Gurney commissioned Martin Travers over many years to beautify the church and the result is the most convincing and exquisite work by Travers I have seen, from the expressive Madonna under the tower (as no room for a Lady Chapel), to the rood, the font cover, the image of St Swithun’s painted by Lydia Lawrence in 1900 of the Kyre Society (who ethereally planted wild flowers to beautify the world).
For most other participants, the highlight was the next stop, Wantage to visit and have tea with the Sisters of St Mary’s Convent. We saw their two chapels, an earlier one by Street but significantly altered in 1967 to take an impressive Stations of the Cross by a nun of the Order, Sister Maribel but no one (including the 2010 Berkshire Pevsner) appears to know by whose hand. The later chapel is by John Loughborough Pearson with fine fittings of the 1890’s. The sisters are carrying on but depleted in numbers through conversions to the Ordinariat and increasing infirmity.
Our final stop was the large parish church of St Peter and St Paul in Wantage where a Tractarian priest, the Rev W J Butler held sway from the 1850’s. He found a virtually derelict church but instigated improvements by Street, Butterfield and Bodley. The current incumbent, Father John Salter described how Butler worked his curates round the clock hearing confessions from townspeople until far into the night such was their Anglo-Catholic fervour. This made a fitting end to a very memorable day. Robert Drake
The Centenary of the Catholic League 1913-2013.
The Quest for Unity.
An Address by Michael Yelton given at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street on July 6 2013
May I first of all say how honoured I am to have been asked to deliver this short address to mark the Centenary of the Catholic League, which was for many years the most important group within the Church of England supporting the cause of reunion with Rome and in later years has transformed itself into an ecumenical grouping, albeit one with the same aims. Regrettably I am neither a Doctor nor a QC, as the initial flier would have you believe, nor indeed the President of the Anglo-Catholic History Society, but I do know, I hope, a considerable amount about ecclesiastical thought in the period we are dealing with.
I well recall some 40 years ago attending a Catholic League mass in St. Mary Elms, Ipswich, at which Leslie Gray Fisher, the long time secretary and one of those responsible for the survival of the Society through difficult times, proclaimed the well worn words: “Rome is the rock from which we were hewn and the Mother to whom we will return” which is and was an appropriate slogan for the League.
It is important however since we are today marking the Centenary to look back at the beginnings of the Society. I shall concentrate on the early years as they may be less familiar to those listening, and also because I have no wish to enter into controversies involving those still with us. The First 50 Years were chronicled in a pamphlet of the same name by Brian Doolan, which was produced by the Crux Press, run by Father Clive Beresford, the then Priest Director, from his somewhat decrepit vicarage in Newborough. It did not appear until 1966 because Father Beresford intended to write it himself but then found he did not have the time to do so. The 75th Anniversary was marked by a history by Father Robert Farmer, whose account is shorter but still includes some additional information. Both have been very helpful to me.
We can date with some precision the commencement of what came to be known as Anglican Papalism, a movement which was embodied in the Catholic League. In 1900 a series of addresses was delivered under the auspices of the Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom, which had begun as a meeting place for Anglicans and Romans but from which Romans had been barred by order of Cardinal Manning. On the Feast of St. Peter at St. Matthew, Westminster, Father Spencer Jones, a country clergyman and relative of Keble, delivered one such address in which he strongly advocated reunion with Rome. Among the congregation was Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, then still a layman, who was both impressed and affected by what he heard. Following the delivery of the address both he and Lord Halifax, who had also been present, urged the speaker to publish it. In 1902 a rewritten and extended version of Father Jones’ address appeared as England and the Holy See. This formed one of the basic documents on which the later leaders of the Catholic League relied. A new body, the Western Church Association, usually known as the Association of St. Thomas of Canterbury, was formed, which was to have annual lectures delivered alternately by an Anglican and a Roman.
In November 1907 Father Jones, in correspondence with an Episcopalian priest in the United States, Father Paul James Wattson, suggested the celebration of an Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, running from the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome (18 January ) to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (25). This began in 1908 and was another important backdrop to the Catholic League.
Father Fynes-Clinton was ordained priest in 1902 and in 1906 moved to be curate of St. Stephen, Lewisham. He was an inveterate founder of organisations, some of which had a short life, others much longer: he found it much easier to be involved with societies he ran than with those run by others. Both he and the Revd R.L. Langford-James, then vicar of St. Mark, Bush Hill Park, were members of the Guild of the Love of God, one of many Anglo-Catholic groups then in existence and after attempting to urge that a more definite line being taken by the Guild in relation to reunion, they led a secession. The two of them, with others, set up the proposed constitution of the Catholic League, and invited Father Arnold Biddulph-Pinchard, a well known priest then in Birmingham, to become the Superior General. In the event he turned down the request. Father Langford-James was then elected as Superior General and Father Fynes-Clinton as his Assistant.
A meeting was then held at the Holborn Restaurant on Wednesday 2 July 1913 at which the League came formally into existence. This was a huge establishment on the corner of High Holborn and what is now Kingsway.
On Saturday 5 July 1913 the League was ceremonially inaugurated at the church of St. Mary, Corringham, Essex: it seems unlikely that this venue was chosen at that late stage and much more probable that it had been suggested in advance: this is reinforced by the attendance of John Kensit junior, the well known Protestant ranter. The location was at the instigation of a founder member, A. Clifton Kelway, who was a well known writer and was a lay reader at Corringham. He wrote a book describing the work of the Society of the Divine Compassion, which had a house in nearby Stanford-le-Hope.
Thus it was that a substantial group met for an early mass at St. Margaret Lothbury and then travelled, presumably by train to Corringham, where they joined the patronal festivities presided over by the rector, Father John Greatheed: Corringham was a family living.
There was a procession in which the participants sang the Litany of Our Lady and the Salve Regina, in Latin, and then at the high altar in the small church the League was dedicated and the Foundation Deed was signed by Fathers Langford-James and Fynes-Clinton and 95 others. The League was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Victory, of St. Joseph and of St. Nicholas of Myra. The Deed hung in Father Beresford’s study in later years and I saw it about 1972, but regrettably did not photocopy it: it has since been lost. Later Solemn Vespers of Our Lady were sung before the pilgrims returned to London.
At that time, Essex was in the Diocese of St. Albans. The Bishop, Edgar Jacob, came to hear of what had happened and inhibited the Superior and his Assistant from officiating in his Diocese. He then threatened disciplinary action against Father Langford-James unless he resigned his office and indeed his membership, which he did. Father Fynes-Clinton was certainly forced to step down, although whether he was made to resign his membership is not clear and if he did it was only temporarily. Clifton Kelway’s licence was withdrawn.
In place of those forced to resign, the League elected as its Superior General Father Edward Secker Maltby, who had with his own resources erected his church of St. Mary, Bermondsey, now covered by the Millwall football ground.
On 25 October 1913 the League’s first annual festa was held at the long-since disappeared church of St. Michael, Bingfield Street, Islington at which the preacher was the brilliant Father Ronald Knox, soon to leave on the Rome Express. The parish priest of St. Michael, Father J.H. Boudier, was a member of the League and in later years he had an audience with the Pope in which he seems to have given the impression that the entire Church of England was ready and willing to accede to the Vatican’s control. Would that it had been so.
It was one of Father Fynes-Clinton’s characteristics that he not only founded many organisations, but founded them as offshoots of others. Thus with the Catholic League. On 17 February 1914 he and Father Maltby set up the Sodality of the Precious Blood, under the patronage of St Charles Borromeo. Membership was restricted to celibate priests without connection to freemasonry and who were prepared to say the Latin Breviary daily. These requirements excluded many prominent Papalists who were married and some, such as Father Hope Patten, who had no command of Latin, probably because he was dyslexic.
The Sodality reflected Fynes-Clinton’s essential view, which was also reflected in the League. He believed that the Church of England was truly part of the Catholic Church, and that reunion should be corporate and should be effected by an internal revolution within the Anglican Communion, so that all its priests subscribed to Roman doctrinal and liturgical ideas. In her penetrating book on the Benedictines of Nashdom, Dr. Peta Dunstan remarks that Abbot Martin Collett's insistence never to deviate from the Roman way of doing things was "a profound sharing- not, as his critics would have it, a slavish mimicry. It was an ecumenical deed more powerful than pages of words".
Father Maltby did not have the time available to run the League and soon resigned, to be replaced by the then retired Father W.J. Scott, who had set up the first Back to Baroque altar in his church at Sunbury Common and was an authority on railways. Father Maltby remained Director of the Solidarity and Father Fynes-Clinton was secretary.
No member of the League has ever been consecrated to the episcopate, although in 1914 Father G. Bown, the Principal of St. Stephen’s House, was appointed as Bishop of Nassau. However he died before being consecrated.
In 1913 a monthly magazine known as “The Catholic” began: this ceased at the outbreak of the War but from 1915 the “Messenger” took its place.
In late 1914 Father Fynes-Clinton moved to be curate of St. Michael, Shoreditch. He regarded the move as releasing him from the earlier inhibition and was reappointed as Assistant Superior. He almost immediately set up a new community for women, which was also integrated with the work of the League. This was the Community of Our Lady of Victory. This was not to prove his most successful venture, and, after a period of wandering, in 1928 the two sisters who persisted had a bungalow built in the grounds of the convent of St. Mary of Nazareth at Edgware. It ceased to exist with the death of the original sister, Mother Mary St. John Watson, in 1961. The COLV was responsible for the Apostleship of Prayer, which involved daily decades of the Rosary known as the Living Crown of Our Lady of Victory. It also organised the Tabernacle Treasury to raise funds for the provision of monstrances for poor churches.
Father Scott resigned in 1916 and was replaced by an anonymous group, from which Father Fynes shortly emerged as sole Priest Director. The League was thereafter run for many years essentially in accordance with his views.
In addition to the groups already mentioned, the structure of the League was complicated by a number of sub-groups, the product of Fynes-Clinton’s fertile brain. There was a Spiritual Treasury, the Women’s and Men’s respective Retreat Organisations, the Guard of Honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Chantry Fund, and probably others. Some were short lived, whereas others, such as the Tabernacle Treasury, lasted for many years.
In 1920 the League for the first time held its festa at the Convent of the Paraclete at Woodside, Croydon, which had been founded by the imprisoned ritualist, Father Tooth, who after his release was unable to find a living. During the day, Father Fynes-Clinton received the profession of a brother of the Society of St. Augustine (later the Servitors of St. Mary and St. Austin), a Community founded by him in 1911, which rather like that of the exotic Father Nugée in the Nineteenth Century, took in men who worked in the world but transformed themselves into monks when they left the office each night. It had a priory in Walthamstow for some years, but failed to prosper. In 1925 the annual function moved to Otford School, which was also a foundation associated with Father Tooth, and continued there for many years.
On 23 October 1920 yet another sub-group of the League was founded, when at Holy Trinity, Hoxton, the Rosary Confraternity was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary: the sisters of the Community of Our Lady of Victory were living in the parish at that time.
Two other significant developments in the progress of the Catholic League took place in the same year. The first was the adoption by it of the Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent. In its explanatory booklet the League said:
“Our present circumstances, then, in these two provinces of Canterbury and York, are very similar to those of the Western Church as a whole before the Council of Trent, only that it is with a very much more advanced and virulent form of the disease that we are beset...So the Catholic League adopts as its profession of faith THE CREED OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT.”
The second such development was the formation of the Church Unity Octave Committee, which was at that stage another sub-committee of the League. From 1918 onwards the Church Unity Octave had been supported and here we see early moves by the League towards unity: it was the first organisation in the Church of England to promote the Octave. The Committee was chaired by Fynes-Clinton It then absorbed the pioneering Association for the Promotion of the Reunion of Christendom, which was apparently wound up by Athelstan Riley at a meeting on 27 January 1921, on the grounds of the absence of Roman Catholic involvement, but without, apparently, any consultation with the wider membership.
As these developments were occurring, Fynes-Clinton finally acquired a living of his own, and after his institution in 1921 St. Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street, where we are today, became the centre of the League’s spiritual activities: from 1923 until the Second World War it also had an administrative centre in Finsbury from which correspondence came. In 1924 Leslie Fisher, already mentioned, became general secretary, a post he held for many decades. He was efficient and well organised although the subject of some mirth because he travelled in ladies’ underwear- as an occupation not a fetish. In 100 years, the League has only had four General Secretaries. In 1922 Fynes-Clinton revived the Fraternity of Our Lady de Salve Regina, which dated originally from 1343, and which held devotions at midday every day, and in 1924 he aggregated it to the League, thus providing yet another associated and interlocked group. In 1926 pilgrimages to Walsingham began and were held annually.
On All Saints’ Day 1926 a completely new body, the Confraternity of Unity, was founded by four priests at St. Mary the Virgin, New York. Its aims were similar to the Catholic League, although the emphasis was almost exclusively on reunion.
On 5 November 1928 Father T. Bowyer Campbell, one of the four, who was later to become Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, addressed the Sodality of the Precious Blood at St. Magnus, and it was agreed that a secretariat should be opened in England to promote the Confraternity. On 3 February 1929 this opened at the presbytery of the church of St. Saviour, Hoxton, with Father Basil Joblin, then a curate at the church, as its representative in this country. The Confraternity was correlated with the Catholic League.
Fynes-Clinton joined the new body, but was never very enthusiastic about organisations which he was not himself running. On the feast of St. Matthew, 1925, the Council for Observance of the Church Unity Octave was formed, with Spencer Jones as its President, and on 14 June 1926 this seems to have become transformed into the Executive Committee of the Church Unity Octave. In order to bring together the various groups, in 1930 Father Fynes-Clinton formed the Council for Promoting Catholic Unity, on which were represented the Catholic League, the Sodality of the Precious Blood, the Confraternity of Unity, the Association of St. Thomas of Canterbury and the Catholic Propaganda Society, which had been run by Father Alban Baverstock.
Father Fynes was also less than enthusiastic about some of those responsible for the 1933 Oxford Movement Centenary- he regarded many of them as being the contemporary equivalent of Affirming Catholicism, or in other words not being sufficiently committed to the true principles of the Catholic Revival and to reunion in particular. It was to counter what were seen as these liberal tendencies within the wider Anglo-Catholic movement that the leaders of the Papalist Movement issued their Centenary Manifesto (dated 1 October 1932) and then the League arranged for the publication of a series of Oxford Movement Centenary Tractates, entitled The Church of England and the Holy See.
The eighth was the work of Father Fynes-Clinton (Part I) and Father W.R. Corbould, vicar of Carshalton, (Part II). Entitled What are we to say? it gave an unequivocal answer, namely that the Church of England should accept the claims of Rome and move towards union as soon as possible. Father Fynes-Clinton declared confidently:
“We have to insist, against all the insular prejudices carefully fostered by an interested officialdom, that the Church of England has no legitimate existence except as part of the Catholic world and therefore dependant on the Holy See.”
The main activity of the League in 1933 was the organisation of a pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the Holy Year. The pilgrims first went to Turin, where they attended the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Shroud, and then went on to Rome where they followed the prescribed course of visiting the four major basilicas: they then had a special audience with Pope Pius XI during which they presented him with a copy of the Tractates, elaborately bound. On 22 January 1934 there was a meeting at the Caxton Hall under the slogan: “Modernism the Enemy: Rome the Remedy.”
In 1934 Father Maltby died and was replaced as Director of the Sodality by Father Wilmot Phillips, rector of Plaxtol, but he died a year later and was replaced by Father Fynes himself. 1935 was also notable for the publication, albeit not under the auspices of the League but of yet another group, the Society for Catholic Reunion, of Catholic Reunion: an Anglican Plea for a Uniate Patriarchate and for an Anglican Ultramontanism, written by Father Clement (J.T. Plowden-Wardlaw). He argued for the recognition by Rome of an English Uniate Patriarchate, probably with a celibate priesthood, and probably also leaving behind “modernists, irreconcilable protestants, and those obsessed by the state connection.” The book is interesting in that the author, who was a prolific pamphleteer and vicar of St. Clement, Cambridge (calling his letters Clementine Tracts), envisaged that reunion with Rome might envisage a split in the Church of England, a prospect many did not feel able to contemplate. Do we see in that the beginnings of an idea which has led in more recent times to the establishment of the Ordinariate?
In 1936 there was a further reorganisation among the reunion Societies. The Council for Promoting Catholic Unity set up the Society for Promoting Catholic Unity which thereafter published The Pilot. The SPCU was responsible also for the Council of the Church Unity Octave, which was particularly appropriate since the new Society had been set up during the Octave of 1936. Father Corbould became the President of the SPCU, the many-hatted (perhaps many-birettad?) Fynes-Clinton the Treasurer.
Although the leaders of the Catholic League had taken no direct part in the Malines Conversations in the mid 1930s the leaders of the Papalist party began to correspond with Abbé Paul Couturier in France: he was in touch with Father Jones, Father Fynes-Clinton, and Abbot Martin Collett of Nashdom. In 1936 Dom Benedict Ley, the novice master of Nashdom, visited the Abbé in Lyons and then went to Ars and to Paray-le-Mondial, the scene of the apparitions to St. Margaret Marie Alacoque; four months later Fynes-Clinton himself went over to France together with Dom Gregory Dix of Nashdom, and they were able to speak in French at various meetings they attended. The following year Couturier returned the visit, and was met in London by Fynes-Clinton, who acted as his host throughout. Fynes-Clinton asked the elderly and infirm Father Spencer Jones to lunch at St. Ermin’s, Westminster, where he lived in a service flat, and the Abbé was delighted to meet him. Couturier came again to England in 1938, and on this occasion broadened his contacts into those who were not wholly committed to the Roman cause.
These contacts appear retrospectively to be rather unimportant in the life both of the Church of England of the Roman Catholic Church but their significance is that they happened.
In 1937 the Shrine Church at Walsingham was extended. The League was short of money, as it had been throughout is existence, until left a generous legacy shortly after the War by a founder member, Miss Evelyn Few (known as “The Faithful Few”). Father Fynes-Clinton therefore suggested that the chantry chapel he was endowing should also be the chapel of the League and in turn it was decided that a statue of Our Lady of Victory, patroness of the League, be erected in it: however this did not take effect until 1949.
Bombing in the war destroyed a number of League centres and St. Magnus itself was badly damaged. However the witness of the League continued much as before, and finances were much eased by Miss Few’s legacy.
In 1950 the Holy Year was celebrated with a pilgrimage to Rome by Fathers Fynes-Clinton and Ivan Young, accompanied by Mr. Fisher. The two priests were received in private audience by Pope Pius XII, who blessed the work of the Council for the Church Unity Octave. It is not clear how influential visits such as this were in Rome: it is however apparent that in that year there were very few other contacts with the Church of England.
It now seems clear that there was a lack of impetus behind the movement for union under the Pope in the years following 1950, and before the mood in Rome began to change. After the South India controversy, which took up a great deal of time to little avail, Anglo-Catholicism was on the back foot, responding to initiatives from others with which its adherents disagreed, but not setting forward a positive programme which would attract new support.
Father Fynes-Clinton was getting older. He resigned as director of the Sodality in 1953 in favour of Father Joblin, as director of the Apostleship of Prayer in 1955 in favour of Father Peter Sanderson of Poundstock, Cornwall, and as chairman of the Church Unity Octave Council in January 1958 in favour of Father Mervyn Pendleton of Wollaston, Northamptonshire. Then on 4 December 1959 he died: an era had ended.
Although an age had come to an end, there was an unpleasant episode shortly before that, following the death of Father Corbould and then a spat between Bishop Mervyn Stockwood of Southwark and one of the League’s longest serving members, Father Rice Alforth Evelyn Harris, whose views were such that he had never held a living in the Church of England. This embittered many.
Father Fynes-Clinton was replaced by Father Clive Beresford, a man for whom the word eccentric seems an understatement. I am indebted to one of his successors, Father Philip Gray, for telling how when processing on a very hot day, the glue with which he had attached various decorations to his cope began to lose its hold and the ornamentation began to curl. He did however devote a great deal of time to the League (to the detriment of his parish) and in particular raised its profile outside London. He also used his printing press to great effect, starting a strongly worded newsletter entitled Crux.
By this time the Church Unity Octave, with its uncompromisingly Papalist position, was being overtaken by the much more widely-based Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which had been backed by Abbé Couturier and more surprisingly by Gregory Dix. The annual Call to Prayer for Unity, which was issued to coincide with the Octave, was made for the last time in 1964.
It is ironic however that in 1960, the year after Fynes-Clinton’s death, Pope John and Archbishop Fisher finally met face to face. The propaganda of the Catholic League had almost certainly had more effect on the former than the latter, as it was reported that the Holy Father knew all about the revival of the Walsingham pilgrimage, an interest which Fisher did not share.
In 1962 Father Beresford and 11 other priests of the League and Sodality met Pope John in private audience in 1962 then Fisher’s more sympathetic successor Michael Ramsey met the Pope in 1966, and was received warmly. In 1970 Pope Paul VI said at the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales: “There will be no seeking to lessen the legitimate prestige and usage proper to the Anglican church when the Roman church...is able to embrace firmly her ever-loved sister in the authentic communion of the family of Christ.” Then in 1982 Pope John Paul II came to England and was received by Archbishop Runcie at Canterbury.
Those events would have seemed inconceivable to Father Fynes and those who with him had laboured so long and with so few tangible results for reunion between Rome and Canterbury. The two churches have never appeared closer than at the time of the Papal visit in 1982, but this proved to be a missed opportunity. The Anglican episcopate had a lack of vision and no willingness to take bold steps: rather their reaction was constantly to retreat into the suffocating committee structure of the Church of England.
The reform of the liturgy by Rome also left many Anglicans, including initially perhaps the League, lacking direction. In due course however the tradition of following precedents set down by the Pope prevailed in the Catholic League. Father Raymond Avent, who became priest director in 1974 was one of a new generation and adopted the new forms
I have deliberately not dealt with some of the more recent developments within the League but the most far reaching has been the transformation of the Society from an Anglican Papalist pressure group into an ecumenical group.
The League was one of many organisations which offered strong resistance to the deeply flawed proposals for union between the Anglican and Methodist churches. However once that dragon had been slain, far more worrying proposals began to be aired. The ordination of women, which was irregular by standards of orthodoxy, meant that in the foreseeable future corporate reunion of the Church of England with Rome became impossible. While the Catholic League’s witness remains, it is now only possible to do that which Father Plowden-Wardlaw suggested so many years ago: in other words to persuade only those who have continued to hold, in the face of great pressure, the historic discipline of Christianity, that the Unity of all Christians is an important, indeed vital, objective.
Anglican Church-Building in London 1946-2012,
by Michael Yelton and John Salmon. *
Even more than the same authors’ study of inter-war Anglican church building in London (published in 2007), this book is a revelatory exploration of a neglected era of church architecture. Since the Second World War, more than 250 new churches have been built in Greater London. Many (around 40) were direct replacements for churches destroyed by wartime bombs, but rather more – around one in five of the total – were constructed to replace 19th century churches closed and demolished as a result of the vigorous redundancy campaigns and parish mergers pursued by diocesan authorities. Others served newly developed suburban areas on the fringes of London, Becontree and Bexleyheath, Sidcup and Shortlands.
If the Great War signalled the virtual end of a tradition of private benefaction which had underpinned the Victorian church building boom, the age of wealthy donors had certainly passed by 1945. A considerable proportion of the buildings described here are of relatively utilitarian character, with no architectural pretensions. Yelton and Salmon set out to record every Anglican church completed since 1945, but clearly found it hard to find much to say about some of the churches featured – on St Mary, Plaistow (1981), for example, they comment that “the visual impact on the locality is very limited”. St Matthias, Canning Town (1991), lacks “any sort of originality or presence”. “Unobtrusive” is the kindest adjective that can be applied to the 1970s St Mark, Old Ford. Holy Spirit, Kidbrooke, is no more than a converted shop unit.
The post-war architectural scene in Britain was dominated by a new generation of architects firmly committed to the Modern Movement, backed by critics such as Nikolaus Pevsner and John Summerson who dismissed the work of older traditionalists as not only artistically irrelevant but also socially retrograde. The new architectural climate was in tune with the thinking of progressive clergy such as the hugely influential Peter Hammond, author of Liturgy and Architecture (1960), for whom the ideal church was Maguire & Murray’s St Paul, Bow Common (1958-60), built for the charismatic Anglo-Catholic Fr Gresham Kirkby. From the mid 1950s the Church of England began to explore the potential for reforming the liturgy, drawing on the thinking of the Continental Liturgical Movement. Relatively few new post-war churches, however, reflected advanced liturgical thinking. The centrally planned St Mary Magdalene, Peckham, completed in 1962 to designs by Potter & Hare, was one. Within half a century, however, the building was in dire condition and was demolished in 2010 and replaced by a nondescript church/community centre. Maguire & Murray built only one other London church, the little-known St Joseph, Northolt (1967).
In fact, despite the hostility of Pevsner and others, many post-war churches were broadly traditional in style and layout. They included works by architects of an older generation, such as N.F.Cachemaille-Day, Edward Maufe, Curtis Green and J.Harold Gibbons. Thomas Ford (1891-1971) was active in the Southwark diocese. Christ Church, Battersea (1959) is one of his best churches, with “an air of holiness which it is rare to find in a building of its date”. Many of these traditionalist buildings have aged more gracefully than their leading-edge contemporaries.
A useful addition to the book would have been an indication as to which of the buildings included are listed – one suspects far too few. Comments on their churchmanship, however, are useful – how depressing that the new St James, Hatcham, is a converted youth club, the Catholic tradition of the parish evaporated. The production of the book is uninspiring, with Salmon’s photographs poorly reproduced in black and white, but as a record of a surprisingly diverse post-war ecclesiastical heritage it is invaluable. Kenneth Powell
* published by Spire Books, £29.95 hbk. A reduced price offer for ACHS members has been negotiated with the Publishers and may be ordered using the enclosed leaflet.
MINUTES of the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Held at St Clement Danes Church
on Monday 10th June 2013.
The Chairman, the Revd Dr Perry Butler opened the meeting by giving a warm welcome to a larger than usual assembly. There were several apologies. Minutes of the AGM of 2012 were agreed as being a correct record, there being no matters arising.
The Secretary/Treasurer Brent Skelly reported that membership had declined slightly to 220. Sales and Subscriptions, the main sources of income, are now at approximately equal levels for the first time. Administrative costs, especially postage, have continued to rise apart from a small reduction in the cost of printing. The Society continues to run on an annual deficit but we have good reserves. We are able grant financial subventions which make possible publications that otherwise might never appear. A small grant has been made towards a Conference on Jacobitism, being held in Birmingham.
A Summary of the Accounts had been circulated: the turnover is now in the region of £20,000 pa and involves considerable administrative effort. The need for a separate Treasurer in post is still outstanding as is the question of applying for charitable status. There were no questions raised about the presented accounts and the Report was accepted nem con on the proposal by Paul Dewsbury, seconded by Alan Worsfold.
Reporting on Publications Michael Yelton said that we had produced just one Occasional Paper last year – Fr Salter’s “best seller” on Fynes Clinton, which was launched at a very well-attended event at St Magnus’ in January. Bishop Sargeant’s book on Canon Peter Green is now sold out but continues to be available as an e-book – our first such venture – and can be obtained cheaply on Kindle ordered from Amazon. The next OP is likely to be the second volume of Lost Churches of London by Michael Yelton. Other research was on-going, by several members.
The Tours held in 2012 were popular and very successful. Recently (May 2013) a visit to five churches in Leeds had been much enjoyed. In July there will be a visit to Wantage, Compton Beauchamp and other churches in the area. The now traditional autumn walk around churches in London will be on 28th September, in East London. In 2014 we may go to Lavington, a member has offered to arrange a visit to Birmingham churches on a date to be decided and Hickleton was another possibility.
The Chairman thanked Brent and Michael for their Reports, and expressed thanks to all Committee members for their work and support. He also thanked Don Young for help with catering, and for administration and work on the Annual Accounts.
Looking ahead, on 8th October 2013 Fr William Davage will speak to us about Athelstan Riley. In January 2014 we shall welcome Dr Andrew Foster to lecture on Archbishop Richard Neile. In June Canon Terry Louden on Fr Robert Dolling; and in October Fr Robert Beaken on Anglo-Catholicism and the First World War, it being the centenary year. Dr Hilliard has written a Paper on Anglo-Catholicism in Australia which will be distributed free to members.
We all need to promote membership, word-of-mouth and personal invitation perhaps being the best method. Perhaps interested friends can be invited to join a Walk or Tour. The Chairman is working on a Flyer to promote membership and the web-site continues to attract attention. Theological students will be invited to join – free whilst in training.
Elections – The existing officers and committee members were re-elected un-apposed.
There being no further business the Chairman introduced our speaker Dr Julian Litten, to speak on “Ambrose Thomas (1880-1959) aka Marquis d’Oisy”.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This will be held on Monday June 10 at the Church of St Clement Danes,
Strand, London at 6.30pm. It will be followed by Dr Julian Litten’s lecture
entitled: Ambrose Thomas (1880-1959), “Marquis d'Oisy”: An eccentric
exotic on the fringe of 1920s Anglo-Catholicism.
ICONS & ANGLO-CATHOLICS
It is always a pleasure when one of our members lectures the Society on a subject in which he or she is expert. The January lecture this year was given by Father Stephen Stavrou on Anglo-Catholics and Icons. As one baptised in Orthodoxy and later converted to Anglicanism, he is extremely well placed to consider those individual Tractarians and Anglo-Catholics who befriended leading Eastern Christian churchmen and through personal visits and meetings pioneered the good relationship between the Church of England and Orthodoxy now existing; an early ecumenical success indeed. One of these pioneers was Fynes-Clinton and our latest Occasional Paper explores this part of his life.
Fr Stephen’s paper is not only an insightful account of how individual ecumenical friendships can generate good will and rapprochement but it also acts as an introduction to the devotional significance of Icons in worship. The widespread presence of Icons in so many Anglican churches of different churchmanship is another testimony to the influence of Anglo-Catholicism in general. A printed copy in booklet form of Fr Stephen Stavrou’s January lecture is enclosed for members. The cover of this Newsletter reproduces the cover of the printed lecture – extra copies are available at £4.00 post free.
ADVANCE NOTICES FOR YOUR DIARY
JULY COACH TOUR
Our annual summer coach tour will take place on Saturday July 13, joining at Kings Cross, London. As usual it will be a day’s excursion in the south, this year taking in a number of interesting churches in West Berkshire, centring on Wantage where we are invited to visit the sisters of CSMV in their substantial Victorian convent.
In addition we hope also to see two modern churches in Newbury itself, the astounding Comper interior in Stockcross, just outside Newbury, and Compton Beauchamp, where Samuel Gurney employed Martin Travers over many years to decorate the interior of the tiny church: if you have never been it is well worth the visit. There will be other stops as well and a suitable place will be found for lunch. We will leave Kings Cross at 9 a.m.
Further details and booking form see Events section.
THE LONDON WALK
Planning is already in hand for Michael Yelton’s annual and much appreciated London Walk. This is to take place on Saturday September 28. Full details will be circulated later.
THE AUTUMN LECTURE
This is scheduled to take place at the Church of St Clement Danes on Monday October 7. Fr William Davage formerly of Pusey House will speak on “Athelstan Riley and the Lost World of Anglo-Catholicism”.
OUR FIRST e-BOOK
One of our recent Occasional papers was about Canon Peter Green entitled “A Complete Parish Priest” by a member of the Society, Bishop Frank Sargeant.
The hard copy run of 250 was sold out but the book is now available as an ebook on Kindle. It can be obtained from Amazon at a low price, currently £5.67.
FATHER BERNARD WALKE CENTENARY EVENTS
Father Walke was instituted to the parish of St Hilary, Cornwall in 1913 and a number of events are to take place there in his honour this summer.
April 20 – November 2. Exhibition in the heritage Centre, adjacent to the church.
Sunday July 21. Service to commemorate Fr Walke’s ministry with the Bishop of Truro will take place in the church.
September 6. Lecture by David Thomas of the Cornwall record Office.
Enquiries should be directed to Dr Christopher Tyne on 0113 2605144.
Nicolo Bernard Walke (1874-1941), the son of a Tractarian vicar, was parish priest of St Hilary from 1913 until 1936. His memoir entitled “Twenty Years at St Hilary” was first published in 1936 and still in print.
BISHOP AMBROSE WEEKES CB
Many members will recall the cheery presence of the late Bishop Ambrose at early meetings of the Society. He was one of the first members recruited by the late Michael Farrer when both were Brothers at the Charterhouse. Despite old age and infirmity he attended many of our Lectures where he was unfailingly friendly and chatty. A knowledgeable oenophile, he was very likely to be carefully assessing the quality of the wine provided after the lecture.
The Bishop died last year and left behind his Memoirs in MSS; this has been edited and published by his neice, Mary Snape. Michael Yelton has written a review of the book which appears below. Members can order books directly from the publisher using the enclosed order form.
FATHER HENRY FYNES-CLINTON
To mark the publication of the Society’s latest Occasional Paper, a Reception was held on February 4th at the Church of St Magnus Martyr, London Bridge. This was a popular event and attracted a numerous and enthusiastic attendance and many copies of the book were snapped up.
Canon Browning, a retired Anglican priest and former server, has sent in the following personal memories of Fr. Fynes.
Canon Browning writes:
The Anglo-Catholic Scrap Book, published by the Society in 2010, contains on page four a photograph of Fr Fynes in a Palm Sunday Procession in 1934 (?) and I am on his right. A friend, John Risdon, is pictured on his left. Fr As a pastor, Fynes was always concerned for his youthful servers, and at Christmas about six of us were always taken to the circus at Olympia and in the Summer to Whipsnade Zoo. Another server was my friend the late John Reffitt DFC who later became a Roman Catholic priest.
On social occasions Fr Fynes was jolly and clearly enjoyed himself. In church he was a disciplinarian, requiring, for example, written confirmation every Easter that we had completed our duties of confession and communion, and issuing us with sanctuary slippers for wearing at Mass and for Vespers and Benediction. I began as a boat boy but graduated over the years to become MC at a Latin High Mass. In all this my father, a layman, who was equipped with Fortescue’s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, rehearsed me in detail.
Mass was devoutly celebrated at St Magnus’ and Fr Fynes always took himself to a side altar after the service to make his thanksgiving. But I did find one of his habits regrettable: he invariably began Mass 15-20 minutes late and could be seen in the Vestry making last minute adjustments to his sermon – which would include snide remarks about the Church Times, then edited by a layman, Sidney Dark, and hostile critiques of the South India Scheme of Union. In 1935-36 I recall him including comments in defence of General Franco’s forces in Spain, seemingly borrowed from the Roman Catholic newspaper, The Universe. I was always shocked that Fr Fynes, whose background was aristocratic and upper class, actually read the Daily Mail rather than The Times! I was quietly amused when he asked me to attend as server when he officiated at the annual service for the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers for which he wore his Oxford hood, without scarf, which was then returned to a drawer in the Vestry for another year.
In 1932-33 the Rector had the assistance of a deacon from Nashdom Abbey, Eric Hugh Richards; however, after only six months he moved to a more
normal residential parish, All Saints, Camden Town, where he lodged at the Vicarage with Father Webb-Bowen and his family. My guess is that Fr Fynes had been under pressure from the Abbot of Nashdom to make the appointment and that he came to regret it.
I remain hugely indebted to my youthful apprenticeship at St Magnus’ and to Fr Fynes’ example of priestly devotion and absolute determination that in the Lord’s Temple nothing but the best was allowable.
Canon Wilfrid R. F. Browning Honorary Canon of Christ Church,Oxford College of St Barnabas
An Interesting Life:
The Memoirs of the Right Revd Ambrose W.M. Weekes, CB, QHC, AKC, FKC, RN.
The late Bishop Ambrose Weekes, who died recently, was a member of the Society and for some years regularly attended talks and other events until increasing frailty and deafness intervened. His niece, Mary Snape, has edited his memoirs, which are well illustrated with photographs of Bishop Weekes and others in various parts of the world. His was indeed an interesting life and a varied one. Most of his priestly ministry was spent in the Royal Navy (1944-72). In the last three years he was Chaplain of the Fleet. The record of his service is not only out of the ordinary run of clerical reminiscence, but it reflects an era which is now passed, when the Fleet was far more numerous and widespread than is now the case. On retirement from the Navy, Weekes was appointed chaplain in Tangier and then became Dean of Gibraltar: that was followed by his appointment as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Europe, which involved extensive travel over many countries, and then in 1986 by retirement, although even then he had a period as chaplain of Territet, near Montreux in Switzerland. He then lived in a flat in the clergy house of All Saints, Margaret Street, a church which reflected Weekes’ liturgical and theological attitudes, and finally moved to the Charterhouse. There is a great deal of gentle but diverting interest in this book, and substantial detail about food and drink consumed in various parts of the world. There is not much insight into the development of Bishop Weekes’ Anglo-Catholic beliefs but his constant regime of daily mass, wherever he may have been, is well set out. This book is in A4 format and very well presented in a short print run. There is no index. The only other regrettable feature is the numerous typographical errors and the fact that it was not read over by someone with close knowledge of ecclesiastical life during the period in question - for example the section on p34 on Father Henry Brandreth, who had a distinguished ministry and wrote a number of important books, would have benefited from checking.
Walsingham – Richeldis 950 – Pilgrimage and History.
In celebration of the 950th anniversary of the founding of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham the National (Roman Catholic) Shrine sponsored a Historical Conference, in March 2011. In this well-produced volume we are fortunate to have the varied and unfailingly fascinating Papers that were presented. There are available many guide books and histories telling the story of Walsingham but here we have so much more: the results of original research into different aspects of the rich tapestry which makes Walsingham what it is, from enthusiasts who love the story and offering to us the results of years of patient investigation.
In the opening Paper 950 Years of Walsingham by Blue Badge Guide Scilla Landale we are treated to an amazing tour of 950 years of change. Characters and locations are well described. Much has changed and much has remained the same: in 1514 Erasmus described Walsingham as “Living by scarcely anything else but the concourse of pilgrims”. Having been many times I thought that I knew the village and shrine very well. I now need to return, walking around slowly whilst referring constantly to this most informative Paper. Beyond the village Dr Tom Licence, a lecturer in Medieval History, in Religious Devotion in the Diocese 900-1200, reminds church crawlers that according to the Domesday Survey of 1086 there were over 300 churches in Norfolk and 400 in Suffolk. Many of these were internationally connected by pilgrimage routes and linked to heaven by visionary mystics. The minster system of parochial care – now back in various locations – was yielding to more localised arrangements and the Bishop was peripatetic. It is puzzling that the C11th should have witnessed a surge in devotion to the figure of Christ on the cross, with publication of a tract: “Four reasons to revere the cross”. It was a time of visions, dreams and spiritual yearnings expressed through sumptuous church interiors. The Church known to Richeldis “endeavoured to replicate the splendours of God’s kingdom in its earthly temples…” and anchorites were as common a phenomenon as round church towers.
Edward Matyjaszek’s Walsingham in Ballad, Poetry and Prose is particularly important, this being a very significant aspect of the whole Walsingham phenomenon. The numerous references in Shakespeare and elsewhere ensured – for centuries – that the memory and message of the Shrine would not be extinguished. It lived on through verse and in prose, rooted in the country’s imagination. In a carefully researched Paper Howard Fears traces The Pilgrimage Routes from Lynn to Walsingham and the Nar Valley. Upon arriving in Lynn most pilgrims had already had a long and difficult journey. Then decisions had to be made about which route to take, over land or by water, for the final stage, each having its particular difficulties and dangers. How easy we have it today. The effects of the cessation of regular pilgrimages were considerable, and the “degrading change” to Lynn, for example, was quite dramatic. Many livelihoods depended upon the pilgrims. There were thriving businesses along each of the six possible routes. A large number of religious houses and also private householders provided board and lodging. Then the pilgrim had to plan his return journey. Read this Paper with a map beside you. There are places off the regular beaten track to be visited next time you are in Norfolk. John Morrill tells the sad story of the Dissolution and its Consequences. It is reassuring to learn that “there is no reason to doubt the continuing importance of Walsingham as a centre of faith and grace right up to the Reformation”. It had a lot of attractions for the visitor/pilgrim and the term “theme park” is teasingly used. There was continuing royal patronage to a very late date and so it is not surprising that it remained England’s primary site of pilgrimage. There was no move against Walsingham until 1538 and King Henry continued to provide funds until 1537. Following physical destruction of the shrine the memory continued, as brought out also in other Papers. “Walsingham remained an aching presence and an aching absence” as it slumbered for 450 years “before it became a crucial part of a new renaissance of divine immanence in and for the modern age”.
The detailed Paper by Michael Yelton on Charlotte Boyd and her Anglican Friends occupies almost 60 pages of the book and adds very considerably to the stock of information generally available about the life and work of this significant and under-rated lady. Her purchase of the Slipper Chapel in 1896 led eventually, through complex means, to the establishment of the National Roman Catholic Shrine. She began negotiations to purchase when still a member of the Church of England, which she left to join the Church of Rome in 1894. Had the legalities not been so prolonged then history would have taken a different course: Anglican devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham might have revived before the arrival of Fr Hope Patten. Charlotte Boyd wished to restore ruined monastic buildings and in this was encouraged by John Mason Neale. She eschewed marriage but did not join a religious community, devoting herself to the care of orphans. Her good works were financed by legacies. The story of her many and varied activities, invariably involving property transactions and litigation, is told most usefully from the particular perspective of a lawyer. Like Charlotte her “Anglican Friends”, many in number, joined the Church of Rome, not necessarily as a result of her direct influence, and some interesting characters appear in the narrative. Owing to the intransigence of the Bishop of Northampton the Slipper Chapel was not developed until 1924 and the motivation then was rather negative and political: as a reaction to the successful work of Fr Hope Patten, who was regarded as “a rival to be out-performed”. Charlotte Boyd died in 1906 and was buried at Kensal Green. The grave was not marked until 1962. The cross and headstone were removed to Walsingham in 1982 and it has been suggested that it would be appropriate for her body to be re-interred at Walsingham.
Fr Michael Rear investigates The Problem of 1061. That Richeldis built the Holy House in that year is generally accepted. It is based upon the Ballad by Richard Pynson, printed in about 1496 but older than that. Is the date correct? Maybe not, but maybe. One problem is that de Favarches is a Norman name and there were very few Normans in England before 1066. However, the family may have come, at the instigation of Edward the Confessor or Harold. Geoffrey, son of Richeldis, went to Jerusalem presumably on a Crusade, but which one? Probably the first, of 1096. At a time when it was difficult for Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Land alternative destinations were required, as a focus for devotion. There is much careful analysis of the three Walsingham Charters and pondering of dates. The issue is also approached from a different direction. Richeldis was led in spirit to Nazareth by Our Lady who showed her the place where Gabriel had greeted her. Richeldis was asked to build an exact replica in Walsingham. What exactly did she see?
The final Paper is Walsingham Today and Tomorrow by Bishop Lindsay Urwin, Administrator of the Anglican Shrine. “Making judgements about the past is precarious enough, but to predict the future impossible, maybe even foolish”. However, Bishop Lindsay has a go at both of these, perceptively and convincingly. His account of who comes and what happens is very impressive. Walsingham meets the needs of a very wide cross-section of people. He reminds us too that this quiet rural village is certainly not “immune to the changes of this fleeting world”. How interesting that (Roman) “Catholic pilgrimage has an incompleteness about it without a Holy House” and “The great loss and diminishment at the Anglican Shrine is that it is Anglican, that it is denominational”.
In an Appendix is a history of East Barsham Manor, a beautiful building which always attracts the attention of visitors as they approach the village. Also an account of All Saints’ Church East Barsham and Restoration of a Statue of our Lady of Greeting. Well worth a visit. Finally we have The Chapel at Houghton-le-Dale Commonly Called the Slipper Chapel, by Henry Curties, published in 1901.
Most visitors are quite content with a simple souvenir guide book focussing on the main features of the Shrine and the village. For those wanting more this book is essential reading. It presents a huge amount of valuable information not easily obtainable and also much fresh thinking is included in its 215 pages. You may have been to Walsingham many times but after reading this you will look afresh at aspects of its history, life, development and purpose. It is full of surprises, and as Fr Alan Williams says “…may hold yet more surprises for us”.
ISBN 978-0-9502167-8-2. First published 2012 by the RC National Shrine. with many illustrations.
Copies may be obtained from the Shrine Shop at Walsingham.
Sir Charles Nicholson: Architect of Noble Simplicity.
Father Edward Bundock is a member of the Society. This is a ground breaking work which for the first time gives a complete gazetteer of the works of Sir Charles Nicholson (1867-1949), a number of which we saw on our trip to Southend some years ago. Nicholson was famously described by Peter Anson in his Fashions in Church Furnishings 1840-1940 as “the really representative Anglican architect of the first three decades of the present century. He designed furnishings which were both traditional and refined. The faint period flavour of them was inoffensive and the use of colour was in keeping with contemporary good taste. A church designed and furnished by Sir Charles always provided the right background for the services of the Book of Common Prayer, carried out with loyal but rich Catholic ceremonial”. However to the outside world, Nicholson has been almost completely forgotten, although his output was considerable and he was consulting architect to seven cathedrals and worked in no fewer than 21. This book attempts to restore his reputation and is well illustrated by a number of his commissions: a CD with many more photographs also accompanies it. The problem with his work, as the author points out, is that fashion has moved on, and the background against which he worked, like his more flamboyant, indeed showy, contemporary Comper, has gone. This book is in A4 format and very well presented in a short print run. It is well referenced and the gazetteer is invaluable. The writing is clear and authoritative. The only downside of such small scale production is that some of the pages rapidly worked loose with reading, but otherwise it can be recommended to all those with an interest in the period.
Available At £30.00 post free on line at www.jeweltreepublications.co.uk or direct from the author Dr Edward Bundock, West Raynham Rectory, Norfolk, NR21 7HH (Tel: 01328 838385)
The Community of St. Andrew 1861-2011
Joan White CSA
The amount of information available on the religious communities of the Anglican Communion has increased enormously in recent years, mainly due to the work of scholars such as Dr Peta Dunstan of Cambridge University. In his monumental but very uneven Call of the Cloister the late Peter Anson devoted only a couple of pages to the Community of St. Andrew, which was unique among the orders in combining the religious life with that of work in parishes as deaconesses. The order was founded by Elizabeth Catherine Ferard in 1861 and established its headquarters in West London. It gradually became more like a conventional order, while maintaining its unique feature, and in 1917 a new rule was adopted which confirmed that tendency. The order was much less influenced by Roman precedents than many others, but the sisters worked in many Anglo-Catholic parishes, particularly in London. This is a home produced but detailed history with over 200 pages followed by appendices, and there is a great deal of interesting material for the historian. In particular there are outline biographies of many sisters, which provide information not otherwise readily available. The Community was in the forefront of the moves towards the ordination of women and much of the earlier history has been affected by retrospective justification of that idea: this may jar with some who read it, but we should be grateful that the Community has been so comprehensively documented.
Available from the Community at £15.80 inclusive of postage.
The Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue.
Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923) is a name which is perhaps best known among Anglicans because of his authorship of The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, first published in 1918 and found in many vestries of the Established Church. He was the son of the Revd E.B. Knottesford Fortescue (1816-77), who came from a long line of Anglican clergy, was enthused by Tractarianism, and was responsible for the construction, by Butterfield, of a chapel at Wilmcote, near Stratford on Avon, which is said to be the first in England where vestments were worn. He was later Provost of the Episcopal cathedral in Perth, Scotland, and joined the Association for Promoting the Unity of Christendom, but in 1872 he submitted to Rome, shortly after remarrying. His wife had formerly been prioress of Father Ignatius’ sisterhood and later a member of an Episcopalian order. Adrian was only three when his father died, but the boy was schooled for the priesthood from the beginning, and after the early death of his mother was looked after by his aunt, a former Clewer sister who too had gone over to Rome. After ordination he began travelling and writing. His family was wealthy. In 1907 he was appointed to set up a Catholic mission in Letchworth, which he proceeded to do. Thereafter his well researched and penetrating writings, many on liturgy, became better known, particularly his work on the Eastern Churches, combining this with his parochial work. The author includes a chapter on Anglo-Roman debates and Fortescue’s contribution to them, which included some praise for Dearmer’s Parson’s Handbook, considerable praise of his English Hymnal but little for his theology. He also debated with the Revd T.A. Lacey, another prominent Anglo-Catholic of the age. This book is elegantly written with comprehensive footnotes and is a joy to read.
Available from The Lutterworth Press, PO Box 60, Cambridge, or from Amazon at £24.46 post free.
Maiden, Mother and Queen. Mary in the Anglican Tradition.
Roger Greenacre, edited by Colin Podmore.
Canon Roger Greenacre (or Pere Gren-acre as I often heard him affectionately called) was a significant ecumenist and an important interpreter of the Anglican tradition to the French Church. When he finally retired to the Charterhouse in 2010 (after a ten year retirement ministry in Beaulieu-sur-Mer), he planned to draw together and build on work he had done on the Blessed Virgin Mary over many years. Alas it was not to be and he died on the 30th July 2011.
This collection of sermons and papers, together with biographical material, ably edited by Dr. Colin Podmore, the new Director of Forward in Faith, is nonetheless a fitting tribute to his life and ministry. That ecumenical ministry spanned half a century and although not an academic as such Roger was, as Dr. Podmore notes, certainly a scholar. It is particularly good therefore to have the ten papers on Marian subjects printed in various places brought together here. I am particularly grateful for the paper on Mark Frank (1613-64), a Caroline Divine whom Roger “discovered” (from an unlikely source, a French Marist priest of Polish descent) who would otherwise have been consigned to total obscurity.
The book begins with a Forward by the Bishop of Chichester and consists of four parts. The first is biographical. Dr. Podmore (a good friend of Roger’s and a member of this Society) deftly outlines the main features of Roger’s life and ministry and includes the address at his Funeral Requiem (by Canon Jeremy Haselock), the sermon given at the subsequent Requiem Mass at Chichester Cathedral (by Bishop John Hind) and the tribute paid on that occasion by his old friend Cardinal Jean-Louis Taurant. The second part is a selection of homilies given by Roger on the BVM .The third part consists of five papers on the BVM in the Anglican Tradition including the paper on Mark Frank already mentioned together with a more general paper on Anglican devotion to Mary, a study of John Keble’s Mariology and a very useful survey of the BVM in the liturgical texts of the Anglican Communion. Part Four consists of five papers on the BVM in Ecumenical Dialogue, the first published as long ago as 1964 and the last (explaining and assessing the ARCIC report “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ”) given at a conference in Lourdes in 2005.At the end is a bibliography of Roger’s publications which is no less than seven pages.
Dr. Podmore is to be warmly congratulated for editing this book. It has clearly required considerable time and effort in a very busy life. The footnotes with references to people, events and texts are especially useful and the book itself is attractively produced by the Canterbury Press.
As the Bishop of Chichester says in the Foreword, Roger was a much loved and respected priest. He was both an able ambassador of Anglicanism to the French Church, an ecumenist at many levels and a worthy servant of the Catholic movement in the Church of England (as Chair of the Church Union Theological Committee and also in General Synod), as well as having a devoted ministry as pastor and teacher at St George’s, Paris, Chichester and latterly Beaulieu. Although unable to accept the ordination of women priests, principally for ecclesiological reasons, Roger was deeply rooted in the Anglican tradition despite the sadness and disappointment he felt at this new barrier to ecumenical progress with the Roman Catholic Church. In his Open Letter to some Roman Catholic Friends, published in The Month (March 1993) he wrote “I have always valued and lived within the Anglican tradition and would miss it terribly...In Anglicanism there has always been a mutual interaction between theology and liturgy and the formation of a spirituality, pietas anglicana, which has been both profoundly theological and profoundly liturgical...” yet he was never despondent. Few priests can have embodied that spirit of catholic Anglicanism in their life and ministry with such grace, learning style and hospitality as Roger did.
Published by the Canterbury Press, £24.99
The November Lecture at St Clement Danes, Strand.
A printed copy in booklet form of Dr Peter Nockles’ lecture entitled “The Oxford Movement and the United States of America” is enclosed.
Reception on February 4 at St Magnus’ Church
The Society’s latest Occasional Paper is a personal memoir of the leading Anglican Papalist, Father Henry Fynes-Clinton, written by our member, John Salter. To mark the publication of this book there will be a special event. On Monday February 4th 2013 the Society and the Church of St. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, are holding a reception from 6.30 pm to 8pm. Father Fynes was of course for many years rector of St. Magnus and we are very grateful to Father Philip Warner and his people for hosting the event, to which all are welcome. Father Salter may be persuaded to say a few words.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase at a special one-day cash & carry price of £12.
Advance Notice of the AGM and Summer Lecture
This will be held on Monday June 10 and will be followed by the AGM
lecture by Dr Julian Litten. His talk, about a fascinating figure in Anglo-
Catholic history, is entitled “Ambrose Thomas (1880-1959), aka Marquis
d'Oisy: An eccentric exotic on the fringe of 1920s Anglo-Catholicism”.
Members are reminded that 2013 subscriptions were due on January 1st. The rates are now as follows:
UK and Europe: £20.00
Elsewhere - Surface mailings: £20.00 Air mailings: £30.00
If you have not yet paid please do so now. Members in the UK paying by Banker’s Standing Order need, of course, to take no action but if you pay by cheque please remember to post to the Society at 24 Cloudesley Square, London N1 0HN.
EditorialAt time when a new Archbishop of Canterbury has just been appointed it is appropriate that one of our members should publish a biographical study of one of his predecessors, Cosmo Gordon Lang who held the office from 1928 – 1942. Members will recall that the author, Father Robert Beaken, lectured to the Society in February 2008. His talk was entitled, “Their Proper Place. Archbishop Lang and Anglo-Catholicism”. The book itself has already been favourably reviewed in the Daily Telegraph by Christopher Howse who reports “I am immensely enthusiastic about Robert Beaken’s Cosmo Gordon Lang…it establishes a vivid and convincing picture of the man at the helm of the Church of England…” A review by our chairman is printed below and I have negotiated a special reduced rate for purchase of the book directly from the publishers – see the enclosed flier and order form.
Another of our members, Father John Salter, has also published an important book at the present time. It comes in the form of the Society’s latest Occasional Paper and is a personal memoir of a leading Anglican Papalist, Father Henry Fynes-Clinton. Copies are available to members from the Secretary at £18 including postage. It is the first study to be published about Fr Fynes, a significant figure in Anglo-Catholicism of the first half of the Twentieth Century. The front of this Newsletter reproduces a snapshot taken of Father Fynes in old age which appears on the cover of the book in colour.
Reception on February 4 at St Magnus’ Church
To mark the publication of this book there will be a special event. On Monday February 4th 2013 the Society and the Church of St. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, are holding a reception from 6.30 pm to 8pm to mark the publication of Father John Salter’s personal portrait of Father H.J. Fynes-Clinton. He was of course for many years rector of St. Magnus and we are very grateful to Father Philip Warner and his people for hosting the event, to which all are welcome. Father Salter may be persuaded to say a few words.
The Society’s London Church Walk – October 6
The by now well established autumn walk took place as usual this year and once again the rain held off. A large contingent with some new faces met at St. Silas, Pentonville where we were given a warm welcome including coffee. We then moved via St. Mark, Myddleton Square to Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell, with its wonderful furnishings, then to St. Alban, Holborn, where we were able to see the Victorian chapel, built as a Memorial to Father Mackonochie. It is not usually open to the public and bears a mural which is yet un-restored following war-time damage. Our final stop before lunch was Holy Cross, Cromer Street, now much tidier than once was the case, where Father Cawse gave us an inspiring and illuminating talk. Following the lunch break we re-assembled at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, refurbished magnificently during the incumbency of our Chairman. Next stop was at All Saints, Margaret Street, which has recently been fully restored, revealing the bright colours of the glorious internal decoration. A long walk along Oxford Street brought us to the Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch and our final visit, to the Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair. All seemed to enjoy themselves and as always we profited from the knowledge of others on the walk.
The November Lecture at St Clement Danes, Strand
Dr Peter Nockles’s lecture entitled “The Oxford Movement and the United States of America” is to be printed and will be sent to members early in the New Year.
Winter 2013 Lecture to be held at St Clement Danes
The Winter Meeting will take place on MONDAY 28th JANUARY at 7pm in the crypt of St Clement Danes Church in the Strand. The lecture will be given
by one of our members, the Reverend Stephen Stavrou, who will speak on “Anglo-Catholics and Icons”. Father Stavrou is the curate at St Michael’s Church, Bedford Park, West London; he completed his M Phil at Cambridge on the subject of this lecture. Father Stephen is a young scholar and the Society is committed to encourage new writers and researchers. All members are urged to attend in support of what promises to be an interesting talk on a subject the Society has not yet heard in our lectures.
Advance Notice of the AGM and Summer Lecture
This will be held on Monday June 10 at St Clement Danes. It will be followed by the AGM lecture, this year by Dr Julian Litten on a fascinating figure in Anglo-Catholic history. The lecture is entitled “Ambrose Thomas (1880-1959), aka Marquis d'Oisy: An eccentric exotic on the fringe of 1920s Anglo-Catholicism”.
A postulant to Fr Ventham, Thomas toyed with the religious life at Caldey before turning his attention to the theatre. Having disappeared from the scene in 1902 he reappeared in Thaxted in 1917 as the Marquis d'Oisy, spending the remainder of his life painting second-hand furniture and ecclesiastical fittings in an outrageous baroque manner, devising pageants and making female theatrical couture. He died in poverty and lies buried in an unmarked grave at Dunmow, Essex. A further notice will be sent out nearer the time.
The next volume of Michael Yelton’s series on Lost London Churches is well under way. A great deal has been unearthed from a variety of sources and there is more still to come. Particularly interesting is information on now almost forgotten bastions of the Faith such as All Hallows, Southwark, a wonderful church in a poor area which was bombed in the War and rebuilt only in a small part and St. Columb, Notting Hill, which was once a flourishing centre but was then handed over to the Serbs over 60 years ago. Pictures are also being assembled. This will be our next publication.
Richard McEwen is working on Lost Churches of Manchester which is hoped will be the fifth in our “Lost Churches” series, after Stephen Savage’s two Leeds titles and the two books on London losses by Michael Yelton.
In the inter-War decades the architect J. Harold Gibbons (1878-1958)
designed a number of fine modernist churches for Anglo-Catholic parishes
mainly in the expanding London suburbs. Robert Drake, a leading member of
the Twentieth Century Society, is researching Gibbon’s predominantly
ecclesiastical practice and is collaborating with ACHS on this project.
Members will recall that the Society earlier published a ground-breaking book on another Twentieth Century Anglo-catholic architect, Ernest Shearman. In addition to a book, it is planned that the project will include a lecture by Robert and a coach tour of Gibbon’s London churches led by him.
Members are reminded that 2013 subscriptions are due on January 1st. The rates are now as follows:
UK and Europe: £20.00
Elsewhere - Surface mailings: £20.00
Air mailings: £30.00
Members in the UK paying by Banker’s Standing Order need, of course, to take no action but if you pay by cheque please remember to post to the Society’s address on the enclosed sheet.
A Forgotten Anglo-Catholic
Blue Plaque to Memory of Anglo-Catholic Priest
Father Charles Jenkinson became Vicar of Holbeck, Leeds, in 1927. He had asked to be appointed to the hardest parish in the country! There were two churches, St John’s and St Barnabas’, and the local housing conditions were horrendous. He campaigned indefatigably for slum clearance and new building of a good standard. He was elected to the city council, became chairman of the housing committee and saw the whole of his parish demolished, together with the two churches. A splendid new estate was built at Belle Isle, in South Leeds and the new church there named St John and St Barnabas’. Furnishings and fittings were brought from the old churches to be reused in the new building. The story is briefly told in Stephen Savage’s Mission Accomplished, chapter 2. Jenkinson was a prophetic and heroic figure. He is an inspiring example of an Anglo-Catholic priest standing alongside his people, passionately concerned with social issues in an area of squalor and dark satanic mills, and determined to see Jerusalem built in England’s green and pleasant land. The Leeds Civic Trust has erected a Blue Plaque to the memory of Charles Jenkinson. This was unveiled by the Lord Mayor, Canon Alan Taylor, Vicar of St Aidan’s, Leeds, on Sunday 12th February 2012. The plaque was then suitably blessed, censed and sprinked with Holy Water by the curate, Fr David Hayes. Amazingly, Canon Taylor was baptised by Charles Jenkinson himself!
Cosmo Gordon Lang: Archbishop in War and Peace (I.B. Tauris, £25).
Reviewed by Dr Perry Butler
I attended the talk on Archbishop Lang given by Fr. Beaken at the Institute of Historical Research which is mentioned at the beginning of this book and as a result I invited him to address our society on the intriguing question, ”Was Lang an Anglo-Catholic?” Now DOCTOR Beaken he has turned his PhD from King’s London into a book which seeks to present a “revisionist “ view of the Archbishop and his impact.
As Archbishop Rowan Williams writes in a Forward, “History and biography have not dealt kindly with Lang”. Beaken points out that this owes much to the fact that Alan Don his chaplain was unable to take on the task and the biography that appeared in 1948 was undertaken by J G Lockhart who never met Lang and who was certainly in no position to undertake the detailed
trawling through the archival material (Lang’s papers at Lambeth, Don’s diary and many other collections) on which Dr Beaken’s study is based. After 60
years and much negative criticism a new assessment was overdue and so this
book is welcome for that alone. This book is based on an exhaustive examination of the material available and he has also interviewed people who knew Lang including the late Queen Mother.
This is not however a biography of Lang but rather a critical account of Lang’s archiepiscopate focussing on three significant areas: the Abdication Crisis; the Revised Prayer Book and Lang’s leadership during the Second World War. Biographical material relating to Lang’s early life and career before he became Archbishop is condensed into a first chapter of 42 pages. In that chapter the author does, however, discuss “head on” recent speculation that Lang was a repressed homosexual, providing evidence that this rests on rather flimsy evidence and that it is possible to give a more subtle understanding of his relationship with some of his chaplains and also his relationship with women (which has been largely ignored). The book does not deal with foreign affairs, though further discussion of this is promised.
Undoubtedly his findings regarding the part Lang played in the Abdication Crisis, the subject of a television documentary in which Beaken took part, will excite the interest of the wider public. For us the chapter on the 1928 Prayer Book is perhaps the most interesting, discussing Lang’s role in Prayer Book revision and highlighting his relationship with and attitude towards, the more advanced Anglo-Catholicism of the inter-war period. Lang himself remained very much the English Catholic of the 1880s and 90s. The final section does much to demonstrate that the importance of Lang’s wartime leadership has been undervalued and his role was more significant and creative than has usually been presented.
Has the author succeeded in this evaluation? Much that is negative about Lang survives scrutiny deriving as it mostly does from the outworkings of his undoubtedly complex personality. Orpen’s famous remark when painting his portrait, “I see seven Archbishops”. But I think Beaken does succeed in showing that much that has been written about Lang is unbalanced, prejudiced and misleading and he presents the case for the defence in a skilful but moderate way. He portrays an Archbishop who he admits was not a “great” Archbishop but one that in the context within which he worked deserves to be called a good Archbishop and possibly a very good Archbishop. It was hardly his fault that he was “appointed archbishop of York too soon, and translated to Canterbury too late in life”(Lockhart, p.239).
Dr Beaken is to be congratulated on a fine piece of work, well researched, perceptive and clearly and engagingly written. Unlike many academic theses it is not dense and heavy going. I.B.Taurus have done a good job (though I spotted a few typos) and the photographs are quite atmospheric. I rather hope our new Archbishop will read it!
[Note: the book is published at £25 but members may obtain it a reduced price of £17.50 using the enclosed order form. This must be sent direct to the publisher, not to the Society]
A Church on Jarrom Street
150 Years of St Andrew’s, Leicester
Reviewed by Stephen Savage
This attractively produced little book is beautifully illustrated and packs a lot of fascinating information in its 48 pages and 12 illustrations. Reading this makes me want to visit St Andrew’s, Leicester. Its story is in many ways typical of an urban Anglo-Catholic parish and Paul Griffiths successfully relates trends and developments at St Andrew’s to changes taking place in the Leicester community and in the Church of England more widely.
The brief summary of the principles of the Oxford Movement is very useful, as is the description of the work of the architect of the church, George Gilbert Scott. The Diocesan Church Extension Fund was instrumental in getting the church built and here in Jarrom Street, in what for decades was “a close-knit, homogenous artisan community with lots of character and vitality” they provided “a bold structure, very much out of the common way”.
I always read a book like this with an old copy of Crockford’s at my right hand as individual clergy I have encountered elsewhere tend to turn up unexpectedly. I had, alas, not heard of most of the priests who served so devotedly at St Andrew’s but I was very interested to learn that one I knew of, Father L.A. Matthews, was its vicar, for thirteen years (1915-28). He was building on well-laid foundations and so an established tradition was robustly “reinvigorated and developed”. From Leicester Fr Matthews moved to London to become Organizing Secretary for the Anglo-Catholic Congress.
Enormous changes came to the church and parish in the twentieth century. There was demolition and a precipitous decline in population from 7,000 to 2,000. Inevitably “a sense of uncertainty and anxiety hung over the parish for more than 20 years,” but the church remained, as an island of stability. The situation did improve: St Andrew’s was still needed in the changed locality, with its large hospital and university. The church was maintained in good order and the church hall refurbished.
This is a story of a faithful people and their hard-working priests. We read from the beginning of the centrality of the Mass, the importance of teaching, mission, and of service to the community. These key traditions continue. Altogether a most inspiring story – and do go for a visit.
Available from Publications, 5 Southernhay Avenue, Leicester, LE3 3TU.
£4.50 per copy plus £1 postage.
Cheque payable to “St Andrew’s Church, Leicester”.
Order online at www.kairos-press.co.uk .
Episodes in the Gothic Revival – six church architects
Edited by Christopher Webster
(Spire Books Ltd., PO Box 2336, Reading, RG4 5WJ)
Reviewed by Stephen Savage
This splendid book will be of interest to many members of the ACHS. On the front cover there is a fine photograph of Street’s St James the Less, Pimlico, visited during our walking tour in October 2011. The featured architects are John Carter, Thomas Rickman, Thomas Taylor, R.C. Carpenter, G.E. Street and J.T. Micklethwaite. In the chapter on Micklethwaite, by Michael Port, are two splendid illustrations of St Hilda’s, Leeds, visited by the Society in 2007. The other contributors are Terry Friedman, Christopher Webster, John Elliott, Neil Jackson and Peter Howell. Each author is the recognised scholar on his particular architect. A good read and wonderfully illustrated. £34.95.
Edited by George Brent Skelly
Published by the Anglo-Catholic History Society
24 Cloudesley Square
London N1 0HN
AUTUMN LECTURE 2012
The AUTUMN LECTURE has unfortunately had to be rescheduled.It will now be given by Dr Peter Nockles at St Clement Danes Church on MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER at 7pm at St Clement Danes Church.The Strand. The title is "The Tractarians and the American Episcopal Church." Dr Nockles is based at the John Rylands Library in Manchester and has written extensively on the Tractarian Movement over the last twenty years. It is fair to say that his book, "The Oxford Movement in Context", published in 1994, which charted the divergence between the Old High Churchmen and the younger Oxford men, was a major contribution to Tractarian Studies breaking new ground. Many regard it as the most significant book on the Oxford Movement in a generation. We are therefore particularly pleased Dr Nockles is able to address us. All of our meetings are open to non-members who are most welcome
The Winter lecture on the novelist Barbara Pym was well attended and much enjoyed. It was good to have a meeting devoted to a literary subject, a first for the Society, and especially one that reflected post-War Anglo-Catholicism. I have been planning a programme of lectures for a few years ahead and it is now almost complete; I will say more of what’s in store at the AGM.
We must congratulate John Hawes, a Committee member, on his promotion to Head Verger at Derby Cathedral. He has settled in and had a very hectic Holy Week during which he tells me some of the Cathedral electrics failed! He finds it a complete contrast to his previous job at St Margaret’s, Westminster. The Anglo-Catholic history of Derby is pretty extensive, so there may be material locally for a lecture and perhaps a visit.
The Society has made a donation to the Church of England Record Society (CERS) in order to cover research expenses for a future volume of the Papers & Correspondence of Archbishop Richard Neile by Dr Andrew Foster. He will cover the period from c.1595 when Neile was household chaplain to the Cecil family to his death as Archbishop of York in 1640.
Neile was a major ally of Archbishop Laud and a leading patron of the Arminian faction during the reign of Charles I. This work will therefore make an important contribution to the history of seventeenth century High Church Anglicanism and Dr Foster has agreed to address the Society in the future. His lecture will complement the one given some years back on Archbishop Laud by Professor Kenneth Fincham.
I am most grateful to fellow members of the Committee for all they do and especially our Secretary who bears an increasing workload. With the production of two Occasional Papers last year the amount of office work was quite substantial and Brent Skelly is acting as both Secretary and Treasurer. We are grateful for the help received from Don Young with the accounts. If other members of the Society wish to come on board, please don’t hold back!
One of those Occasional Papers was, of course, the life of Canon Peter Green. To be frank, we were initially rather unsure how well this would sell. Canon Green was a famous parish priest of yesteryear but was, we felt, rather a forgotten figure and more in the Prayer Book Catholic tradition. In the event, however, Bishop Frank Sargeant, the author, did a splendid job in marketing and selling the book in the North West where Green’s reputation still lingered and 250 copies were sold. Some of the
sales were due to the St Denys Theological Bookshop at Manchester Cathedral, the first new bookshop to take our publications.
It is perhaps worth ending with a few words about the Society web-site,
www.achs.org.uk It is good that we have one of such good quality and so informative. We are grateful to Mark Adams the webmaster for all he does.
I asked him about the number of “hits” or visits. It seem that the total has gradually over last year, with the peak months September (941) and October (969). People search us via google in a number of ways, some, to me, not that obvious!
I look forward to seeing many of you at the June AGM and lecture.
The February Lecture
Tim Burnett’s insightful and lively talk on Barbara Pym and Anglo-Catholicism has now been printed and circulated to members.
Further copies are available at £4.00 post free from George Skelly at 24 Cloudesley Square, London N1 0HN.
ACHS Annual General Meeting
The next meeting of the Society is on Monday 11th June 2012 at St. Matthew’s Church, Great George St, Westminster. The AGM will be at 6.30 pm. After the AGM, at 7.00 pm the Reverend Dr Peter Davie will deliver a lecture entitled: “The French Connection”: the Influence of the French Roman Catholic Church upon the Anglo-Catholic Pastoral Care and Parochial Missions. This promises to be an interesting and novel subject and hopefully there will be a good turn out for it and for the AGM before.
With regard to the AGM, a copy of the Agenda and Accounts Report is posted separately enclosed to members.
Summer Excursion by Coach
The annual coach trip will be on Saturday 14th July 2012. Details and booking form Downloadable here.
Advance Notice – the Autumn Church Walk.
The London Church Walk, planned and led by Michael Yelton, will be on Saturday October 6. Details will be announced later.
Notes and Queries
Canon Peter Green. Late last year the Society published a biography of Canon Peter Green entitled “A Complete Parish Priest”. Bishop Frank Sargeant who is a member wrote it. Although Peter Green is not primarily remembered as an Anglo-Catholic leader, in his day he was widely regarded as an outstanding pastor who spent a lifetime serving a poor parish in Salford, refusing a number of church preferments.
With regard to this book, the Rev T.W.L. Parker wrote to the Society:
I was privileged to be present at what was probably the last “semi-public” occasion when he spoke in the summer of 1951 at a meeting for ordinands of the Manchester diocese hosted by the diocesan, Bishop W.D.L. Greer. I remember that his books on Pastoralia were required reading at Kelham Theological College where I received my ordination training from 1951-55.
In my third curacy I was assistant priest at St Luke’s Church, Skerton, Lancaster to Canon H.G. Moss who had served his only curacy from 1913-21 under Peter Green at St Philip’s so I was told a lot about him.
When Canon Moss heard of Peter Green’s death in the final years of his own ministry, he wrote a biography of him. It was rejected by SPCK as being insufficiently researched but my recollection is that when H.E. Sheen wrote his biography of Green, he made acknowledgement to the fact that it was largely based on Canon Moss’ work.
Ernest Bowcott, former Lecturer in Education at Durham University, has contributed this personal memory of Green’s time as Sub-Dean of Manchester Cathedral.
I knew Peter Green as Sub-Dean for a number of years after the end of the War. As a speaker, he was inspiring beyond words. For three years in succession he was invited to present prizes at William Hulme’s Grammar School, one of Manchester’s leading schools; it is not often that a school prize giving is a joy and inspiration. At Manchester Cathedral – despite heavy War damage - his addresses brought enlightenment to a very dark time. Peter Green’s combative struggles with local bookmakers, whom he saw as robbing his parishioners of what little money they had, was fearsome to behold. The fact that he was a first class mathematician ensures he understood the business of odds better than the mostly illegal takers of bets themselves.
William Henry Lewthwaite (1817-1892). An Original member of the Cambridge Camden Society
A Note by Tim Cockerill, a member of ACHS
On Ascension Day in 1839 a small wine party took place at Trinity College, Cambridge to launch the Cambridge Camden Society. John Mason Neale was elected President and Benjamin Webb Secretary. Amongst those present was a distant relative of mine, William Henry Lewthwaite, and over the years I have tracked down some details of his subsequent ecclesiastical career.
Lewthwaite was born in 1817 at Adel Rectory, near Leeds, a stone’s throw from the small Norman church, sometimes known as the Kilpeck of the North. His father, the Reverend George Lewthwaite, who was Rector from 1809 until his death in 1854, came from an old Cumbrian landowning family. His mother, Martha Birley was an aunt of Edward Cardwell, cabinet minister and Army reformer. After early schooling locally and Oakham School, Rutland, Lewthwaite graduated at Cambridge in 1840 (BA Trinity College).
It was probably at Cambridge that he first became interested in the High Church movement that dominated the rest of his life. Unfortunately we know very little about his father’s brand of churchmanship at Adel, but the Rector was sympathetic to Dr Hook of Leeds and was clearly not an Evangelical. Studying the Rector’s writings it looks as if he was a down to earth, diligent parson of the old school, perhaps none too keen on changing the status quo. He restored his little Norman church without spoiling its essential features.
In 1840 William Henry Lewthwaite was ordained deacon at Ripon and
was his father’s curate at Adel for the next two years. He spent the following nine years as the perpetual Curate of St Luke’s, Clifford. Here he put into practice the doctrines, ideas and ritual learnt at Cambridge as well as being much influenced by the Oxford Movement. He took public services twice daily, strictly observed the Feasts, built a new school and assiduously devoted himself to the care and well being of his parishioners. By 1844 the strain was beginning to tell and he suffered some form of breakdown, followed by several months of recuperation in the West country.
In addition to his parish duties, he kept in touch with his father’s old friend, the High Church Dr Hook of Leeds, becoming one of the first members of Hook’s Leeds Rubric Club. In 1848/49, Lewthwaite returned
to Leeds, helping at St Saviour’s Church during the cholera epidemic. For a couple of years thereafter, not much is on record about his life and career, until the dramatic announcement of his admission into the Roman Catholic Church; on the 3rd of April 1851 he made his solemn profession of faith at St Anne’s, Leeds, in the presence of John Henry Newman. The latter gave the address to a packed congregation, only a few months after the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England.
Lewthwaite began his novitiate in the Order of Charity at Ratcliffe College, Leicester and afterwards at Rugby. In 1854 he was ordained to the priesthood and in the following year was sent to assist his friend Father Lockhart in the foundation of a new mission at Kingsland, North London, entrusted to the Order by Cardinal Wiseman. Here Lewthwaite remained until 1863. He served at Ratcliffe College until returning to the Kingsland Mission in 1867. Father Lockhart again sought his help, this time in the centre of London. Lockhart, himself a convert, brought out of Chancery the beautiful 13th Century Gothic chapel of St Etheldreda, Ely Place, Holborn and restored it to public worship. Here the two priests ministered together for the next nine years.
By 1883 Lewthwaite was in his 67th year and his health, never robust, was causing some anxiety. A change of air was recommended and in August of that year he began acting as the procurator of the newly established novitiate at Wadhurst in Sussex where he soon regained his well-being. He took up his last appointment in 1884 as chaplain to St William’s Catholic Reformatory at Market Weighton in Yorkshire. There he remained until his death on Easter Day 1892. He was buried at Ratcliffe College.
I possess a photograph of Father Lewthwaite which portrays a thin rather severe looking elderly priest in a biretta. His obituary, however, paints a somewhat more appealing picture, for behind the “seemingly rough exterior and hasty manner lay a kind, good man, very generous to the poor”. Although the obituary goes on to describe him as “an active and rather forbidding man” it is something of a relief to hear that he was not above driving the pigs he had just bought at Loughborough market along the public roads back to Ratcliffe College. Whether the Cambridge Camden Society would have approved of this activity seems doubtful but one gets the impression that Father Lewthwaite was never too worried about what others might think.
[Ratcliffe College, Ratcliffe on the Wreake, Leicester, is now a HMC Catholic school]
Stephen Dykes Bower
(RIBA Publishing, £20.00).
Stephen Dykes-Bower (1903-94) is best known for his reconstruction and extension of St Edmundsbury Cathedral and as a former Surveyor of Westminster Abbey. One of his lesser known works is to be found in a far from glamorous quarter of Salford. St Paul’s church, a modest 1850s structure, was virtually derelict and facing demolition when Fr. (now Canon) David Wyatt took up the living in 1968. Over the next decade Fr Wyatt and Dykes-Bower repaired the church and enriched it with fittings mostly rescued from redundant and demolished churches in the Manchester diocese. The church became, and remains, a symbol of renewal, a potent spiritual presence amongst a desert of high-rise housing. Working largely pro bono, Dykes-Bower also designed a new vicarage and hall set around a cloister garden. A few miles away, Dykes-Bower achieved an equally miraculous transformation of the previously barren interior of Christ Church, Moss Side, with an organ case from Northampton, a Tapper font cover from Southend, and Bodley’s magnificent reredos from the demolished St Edward, Holbeck, Leeds, amongst its adornments. How tragic that his reconstruction of Holy Spirit, Southsea, following severe war damage, using fittings rescued from Scott Junior’s St Agnes, Kennington, was despoiled in a recent reordering justly condemned by Fr Symondson as “abrasive in its modernity… brutally insensitive and unnecessary”.
Symondson, a former Anglican priest, now a Jesuit, presents a highly sympathetic picture of Dykes-Bower as “an Anglican gentleman and devout High Church Tory with a love of England and an allegiance to Church and State”. Dykes-Bower was the natural successor of Bodley, Comper and Temple Moore. Much of what he stood for was out of tune with post-war Britain, but he found sympathetic clients amongst traditionalist and Anglo-Catholic clergy, lovingly restoring Bodley’s churches at Tue Brook, Liverpool, and Pendlebury. His church of St John, Newbury, is a wonderful reinterpretation of the Victorian tradition of brick building, tough and austere – it replaced a blitzed church by Butterfield.
This is a book in which the subject comes to life – cat lover, keen gardener, someone who “rose early and wrote letters, listened to the wireless solely for the weather, foreswore television”… Dykes-Bower’s achievements never received adequate recognition. His Surveyorship of the Abbey was marked by controversy, with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) waging an “implacable feud” against him. His proposal for flooring the nave of the Abbey in marble was defeated. His repairs to the roof, which involved the removal of medieval timberwork, fuelled further controversy. It was probably the influence of the Duke of Grafton, sometime chairman of the SPAB and close to the royal family, which ensured that Dykes-Bower received no honour on his retirement from the Surveyorship. Grafton, seated in Suffolk, was highly critical of Dykes-Bower’s proposals for St Edmundsbury, condemning his designs for the new central tower as “thoroughly un-English”. Work at the cathedral extended over half a century, with Dykes-Bower’s assistant, Warwick Pethers, taking charge after the latter’s death. His central tower is a magnificent creation, though the arrival of a new Dean in 2006 saw Pethers dismissed, with detrimental results for the project.
Symondson makes a strong case not only for Dykes-Bower as a highly significant 20th century architect but equally for the validity of traditional design today. As the Church increasingly questions the destructive impact of Vatican II on its liturgy and buildings the work of this great traditionalist deserves to be more widely known and better understood.
Kenneth Powell Hon FRIBA
A Church in a Landscape: a History of
South Creake Church
by Roger Arguile.
This is a small and well-written illustrated book which deals with the history of the Church of Our Lady St. Mary, South Creake, Norfolk. It is one that will be familiar to many members because of its proximity to the Shrine at Walsingham and because of the long and flamboyant ministry of Father L.H. Michael Smith from 1944 to 1977. Father Arguile’s account however aims to place the church against the wider history of its times, although the last section, intriguingly entitled “War, ritualism and depopulation (1905-1992)” is relatively short. From the perspective of the ACHS it would have been interesting to read more on Father Smith and on his predecessors, Father Charles Hepworth (who introduced Anglo-Catholicism to the parish from 1921 onwards) and Father Bernard Ventham (vicar 1927-44). Hepworth was popular and outgoing so the parishioners responded to his changes. Ventham, who was a slightly sinister figure who had been ordained as an episcopus vagans and was no stranger to the ecclesiastical underworld, drove people away by his rigidity and personality. This is an interesting read at a realistic price.
(This is an attractive A5 size softback book, 80pp, illustrated in colour throughout. It may be purchased from Barbara Allen, Morley’s Farm, South Creake, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 9JE. Cheques (£9.00 post included) should be made payable to South Creake PCC).
New Subscription Rates from January 1st
As previously announced, the new rates are:
UK and Europe: £20.00
Elsewhere - Surface mailings: £20.00
Air mailings: £30.00
Members in the UK paying by Banker’s Standing Order are requested to inform their Bank of the new rate as soon as possible. Some Banks require a newly completed form.
The October Lecture at St Matthew’s, Westminster.
The Reverend Dr Joseph Pereiro’s lecture entitled “Henry Edward Manning: From Lavington to Westminster” is to be printed and will be sent to members early in the New Year.
The Winter 2012 Lecture to be held at St Clement Dane.
The Winter Meeting will take place on MONDAY 13th FEBRUARY at 7pm at St Clement Danes Church in the Strand when Mr Tim Burnett will speak on "Barbara Pym and Anglo-Catholicism".
Tim Burnett is a long standing member of the Barbara Pym Society. On coming down from Cambridge he was appointed Assistant Keeper in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum. He remained there for the next 37 years eventually rising to be Head of Department, by then part of the British Library. Among his publications are: The Rise and Fall of a Regency Dandy, The Life and Times of Scrope Berdmore Davies. (1981), and Robert Browning, The Ring and the Book (1998, 2000, 2004). He is currently editing the Complete Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne for Pickering and Chatto. He worships at the church of St Bartholemew the Great.
New ACHS Website on www.achs.org.uk
The new website is now fully operational under a professional web master. New members of the Society may now join via the site by simply downloading an Application Form. All existing members are urged to publicise our site where details of all events and publications may be found.
Members are encouraged to suggest news for the website by emailing the Secretary; or example, to make an announcement of a forthcoming event which will be of interest to members or to recommend a book, perhaps including a brief review or appreciation.
All Saints’ Church Babbacombe, Torquay.
With some financial assistance from the Society, the parish, long an Anglo-Catholic shrine, has produced a short booklet on the first vicar, John Hewett (1830-1911). The architect of the church was William Butterfield.
A copy of the booklet is enclosed for members.
Notes on the annual London Walk October 15.
The Society’s annual walk around churches of interest in London is now well established and a large group gathered again for a strenuous but interesting day. Also well established is the tradition of fine weather, and this year excelled every other with bright sunshine and temperatures that were so mild that some ate their lunch on outside tables in Pimlico.
We started at St. Stephen, Gloucester Road, where the Eliot memorial was a star attraction, and then moved on to St. Augustine, Queen’s Gate. This has recently been taken over as a “plant” by Holy Trinity, Brompton, and all the pews have been removed, which in fact allowed better views to be obtained of the Travers furnishings, of which nothing has yet been lost. Our next stop was the hidden Peacock church of St. Simon Zelotes, Milner Street, which is an interesting building and one where the Oxford Movement has had little influence inside. Then to Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, the so-called “Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement”, where there has been much restoration recently with staggering amounts of money poured in by Earl Cadogan, the patron. Before a well earned lunch, we visited St. Mary, Bourne Street, where in the past many meetings of the Society have been held, and then the fabulous St. Barnabas, Pimlico, with its wonderful furnishings. After eating, our next stop was St. Gabriel, Pimlico, where the vicar had kindly assembled a great deal of historical information for us, and then the neighbouring St. Saviour, where cups of tea kept us going. On the final lap, we went to St. James the Less, Thorndike Street, now used for guitar led services but built for Catholic worship, and then to St. Stephen, Rochester Row, an early Tractarian church which was not well known to many. We finished at St. Matthew, Westminster, where we saw how cleverly the restoration had been effected after the disastrous fire some years ago, and marvelled at the Comper chapel.
We were made most welcome everywhere and the conviviality rating was, as ever, high. Next year’s trip is already in planning….
The detailed Notes on churches visited may be found on the Society’s website: www.achs.org.uk/Events
Notes and Queries.
Richard McEwen writes:
I found the UMCA lecture fascinating. In Lincoln I came across a group (7 or 8) of former UMCA members mainly teachers and nurses who had retired to Lincoln. They were very impressive not least for their dedication, personal devotion - daily mass, weekly penitents and if you went for tea they were often engaged in saying Evensong at home.
Miss Verena Howitt was one such lady who was the headmistress of a local primary school. She had her first teaching post in Greenford and attended Holy Cross. It must have been a great adventure when she attended the 1958 Congress with the vicar Fr Ronald Dix and was influenced by all that she encountered there.
It is easy to criticise the "Englishness" of the UMCA house style and many do. The photographs show English Missal masses being celebrated and many vaccinations being given to the children in the schools- it was all very paternal. The missioneries were very intelligent, played bridge and drank pink gin in the evening. However, you cannot fault their sacrifice and commitment in an age where the talking shops and endless CE Reports are seen as a valid substitute for actually doing anything hands on let alone anything missionary minded.
Dr Julian Litten FSA has this request for information.
I'm coming towards the end of my researches on the exotic Marquis d'Oisy (b.1880; d.1959), an enigmatic figure who lived at Pledgdon Green, Essex between 1927 and his death in 1959 who devised pageants and painted furniture in a baroque manner. There are items of his work in Thaxted church and a Tilty, Essex. According to Peter Anson (Bishops at Large, p.272) he was a disciple of H B Ventham and was at Caldy in 1901. From there he went to Buckfast and, in 1902, spent three months as a navvy working on the extension of the Northern Line. He then disappears, only to turn up in 1927 at Pledgdon Green under the name of the Marquis d'Oisy, living in a cottage owned by the actress Irene Rook. Conrad Noel knew him well, as did Frances Maynard, Lady Warwick, who was of the opinion that far from being French he probably came from Whitechapel!
I have a vast amount of information on him from 1927 to 1959, but his true identity has escaped me. Every 'Ambrose Thomas' born in England and on mainland Europe between 1880 to 1890 has been traced, but not one of them could remotely be associated with the individual known to Peter Anson and H B Ventham.
I was, therefore, wondering if a note in the ACHS Newsletter might jolt a memory with one of your members? If so, I would be grateful if they could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired by our Occasional Paper by Stephen Savage, “Mission Accomplished”, Jean Pickles writing from Halifax shares this memory of Temple Moore’s great church of St Margaret’s, Leeds:
I have very happy memories from the time of Father Figgess when I was in the Youth Club of St Margaret’s. I recall a walk from Guisley one fine day. When we alighted from the bus at White Cross Fr Figgess led us into the nearest pub. He was not wearing his dog collar and we got some startled looks when he entered followed by twelve teenagers. At the bar he ordered a pint of beer and 12 oranges. The landlord’s face was a picture and when he got his breath back he thundered “What do you think this is – a **** greengrocers”! But we got our drinks and consumed them quietly in a corner of a hushed bar. We all said a cheerful goodbye as we left. Needless to say, word went around the parish that the Vicar had taken the Youth Club into a pub: it was certainly my first visit to a pub.
Another time Fr Figgess arranged a visit to a coalmine, certainly a first and eye opening experience for all of us. His was just after the War and we hade two German visitors with us. One of them was well over six feet tall and we traversed passages no more than four feet high, bending low with only lamps on our heads for light. If the miner leading us stopped we all bumped into the person in front. Now at the age of 81 I remember that evening perfectly. I remember Fathers Callister, Lyndon, Taylor and Shepherd well also. I ly left the parish in 1954 when I married and moved away.
It was delightful to read a record of St Margaret’s in its great days.
Book Reviews by Michael Yelton
TUMULT AND JOY
A short history of St. Hilary
Christopher Tyne is a member of the Society. In this short but illuminative essay he has set out the history of the parish and church of St. Hilary in Cornwall, which is best known because of the activities of the idiosyncratic but charismatic parish priest, Father Bernard Walke.
The writer understandably concentrates on Walke’s years in St. Hilary (1913-37), when the village became famous, because of the transmission by the BBC of plays from the church. This was a time when some turned up their noses at religious drama, particularly when the dialogue was delivered in strong Cornish accents rarely heard on the BBC. The church became notorious, when it was raided and desecrated by Protestant bullyboys, who pulled out many of the furnishings, which the vicar had introduced.
However Christopher Tyne does not ignore the earlier years of the parish, and deals in detail with the disastrous fire of 1853, in which the church was destroyed. A new building designed by William White was erected, and successive vicars taught the restrained Tractarian-influenced faith which was often found in Cornish churches at that time.
Nor does he neglect the period after Walke’s eventual resignation from the parish. The Protestant opposition did not rest on its laurels after forcing Walke out, and litigation continued for many years until 1946. His insights into the 1937-46 period are particularly valuable. He then deals in outline with the restoration of the church in more recent times: it is now an appropriate memorial to Father Walke.
The book lacks a photograph of the central figure in the story: these do not seem to be common, judging from their absence from other sources. His talents were manifold and included a close association, through his wife, with many local artists: this aspect could perhaps have been expanded. Walke’s wife Annie Fearon was a talented painter and one of her pieces hangs today in St. Mary, Bourne Street.
This is a useful addition to the literature on Walke and is very professionally produced and illustrated.
Copies may be obtained from the author at 87 Temple Avenue, Temple Newsom, LEEDS, LS15 0JS,
SEA WITHOUT A SHORE:
The life and ministry of Michael Houghton,
Bishop of Ebbsfleet
This is an interesting little book, which has been published with some financial assistance from the Society, and an unusual one as very little biographical material has been published at the present time on Anglo-Catholic priests working in the 1970s and 1980s.
Michael Houghton was born in 1949, and was appointed the second Bishop of Ebbsfleet in 1998, but sadly died prematurely in December 1999 after only one year in office. Therefore although the book deals with the role of a Provincial Episcopal Visitor as seen by Bishop Houghton, most of it is about his life and ministry prior to his consecration.
Michael Houghton was brought up in a church going family and his older brother was also ordained. He married young and after studying History at Lancaster University he and his wife went in 1975 to teach together in Lesotho, in a school founded by the SSM. He was influenced there both by the ministry of Father William Wrenford SSM, who had died some years before the Houghtons arrived in Africa, and by that of Bishop John Maund, Bishop of Lesotho 1950 to 1976, who was still there when they arrived.
In 1977 Michael Houghton returned to England and went to Chichester Theological College for training. There he learnt of the devotion and martyrdom of a former student of the College, Father Vivian Redlich (1905-42), whose life affected Houghton greatly.
In 1980 he was ordained deacon and went to the historic town centre church of All Hallows, Wellingborough, to serve his title: however shortly after his arrival the parish priest was seriously injured and he had to take on the pastoral care of the congregation. In 1984 however he went to the remote island of St. Helena to be parish priest in Jamestown, the capital. The Houghton family came back from the South Atlantic in early 1990 and Michael then became vicar of the well known Anglo-Catholic church of St. Peter in Folkestone. It was shortly after that time that the Church of England made the decision in principle to ordain women. The book records the pain he and others knew. He described it thus, which will strike a chord with many: “[I was] left feeling that in some way the Church we knew had died. It was the quiet numbness of a death.”
However, Father Houghton decided to remain in the Church of England and became a regional leader of Forward in Faith. However as well as the national situation he had to deal with a serious fire in St. Peter in July 1996, which almost destroyed the church. Worship continued in various settings and the vicar never missed saying his daily mass and offices. The church was rebuilt after a substantial fund-raising operation: it was rededicated in June 1998, and no sooner had that happened than Father Houghton was invited to become the second Bishop of Ebbsfleet. In fact the work required at the church was not completed until after his consecration.
As mentioned earlier, Michael Houghton’s life as a bishop was cut short before it had really begun, but is still worth recording if, as looks as though may be the case, “flying bishops” become extinct.
This is an interesting and recommended short volume, not least because of the rarity of such accounts. It has resonances for many, including I suspect most of the members, who were born in the same generation as the subject. Published at RRP £10.99.
The Society made a financial contribution to the publication of this book and members may purchase copies directly from the publishers: Additional Curates Society, Gordon Browning House, 8 Spitfire Rd, BIRMINGHAM B24 9PB at reduced post paid price of £8.80 quoting this Newsletter.
First Fruits of the Oxford Movement,
This is the biography of a priest whom the author terms “one of the forgotten giants of the Victorian Catholic Church”. A great deal has recently been written on the subject of Anglo-Catholicism in the Twentieth Century and also on the life and influence of John Henry Newman, but relatively little has recently appeared on Newman’s associates in the early years of the Oxford Movement. This well-written book, by Father Nicholas Schofield, the archivist of the Diocese of Westminster, goes some way to redress that balance.
Lockhart (1819-92), was a young, wealthy, well-connected man who on graduating from Oxford joined Newman’s community at Littlemore, but after a short time he submitted to the Holy See and became, as some said “a pervert to Romanism”. He was one of the first of the followers of the Tractarians to go over: his conversion led directly to Newman’s well-known sermon on “The Parting of Friends” and in due course to his own departure from the Church of England. Lockhart’s influence went further than at first sight appears: his sister Elizabeth was the first superior of the Wantage Community, but she in due course followed her brother, as did their mother. Much of the book is concerned with Lockhart’s life as a Roman Catholic, which will also be of interest to members of the Society, not least because of the many contacts he had thereafter with Anglicans and former Anglicans. Lockhart joined the Institute of Charity, otherwise known as the Rosiminians, who were the subject of considerable suspicion among many of their co-religionists, and founded the parishes of Our Lady and St. Joseph, Kingsland (Dalston), and then in 1873-4 re-established St. Etheldreda, Ely Place, which has become a well-known centre of faith in Central London. He also wrote extensively and encouraged many younger authors. This book is highly commended and authoritative but easy to read.
£12.99 including p & p from Gracewing, 2, Southern Avenue,
Leominster, HR6 0QF.
THE KEYS OF HEAVEN
The Life of Revd Charles Marson, Socialist,
Priest and Folk Song Collector David Sutcliffe
This the first biography of an influential and interesting Anglo-Catholic priest. Charles Latimer Marson (1859-1914) was the son of an ultra-Evangelical home, as perhaps his second Christian name demonstrates. He took what was a somewhat familiar path to someone of his background, becoming entranced by the Anglo-Catholic Movement but combining ritualism with Socialism. Both of these aspects of his life led him into constant conflict with the episcopate. Marson was an important figure in the early Christian Socialist movement and knew well a number of others whose names will be familiar to members, such as Percy Dearmer and Conrad Noel. His first post was at St. Jude, Whitechapel, where he was shocked by the conditions of the parishioners. Marson was always handicapped by his poor health, particularly chronic asthma, and in 1889, shortly after his marriage, he and his new wife left for South Australia. Unfortunately the asthma was not cured but he further involved himself in a variety of enterprises in the Antipodes. It was there that he first met Cecil Sharp, the pioneer collector of folk songs, and he himself became enthralled by this new interest. In 1892 Charles Marson returned to London but after a further period of ill-health he was appointed to the very rural parish of Hambridge in Somerset. He remained there for the rest of his life, and became a model parish priest, combining his Anglo-Catholicism with an intense interest in the life of the parishioners. He combined this with a continued interest in folk songs, and collaborated with Sharp in the collection and publication of a number of books. The book is based on Marson’s own papers, recently rediscovered, which enable the author to deal in detail with the deterioration of the relationship between Marson and Sharp, and also the problems in his marriage. There is a very substantial amount available on Marson’s life, far more than most priests, and this reviewer as particularly interested in his association with the young Maurice Child, of which he was aware but in relation to which there is far more detail here. If there is a fault in the book, which is very good value for money (it has over 300 pages) it lies in a certain lack of appreciation of the ethos and the sidetracks of the Anglo-Catholic Movement, but it remains a very valuable contribution to the literature on Christian Socialism and gives a very full picture of a multi-faceted life.
£11.99 plus £2.50 p & p through the author’s website
In preparation is a memoir of Father Fynes-Clinton by a member of the Society, John Salter. Fynes-Clinton (1875-1959), a stalwart of Anglican Papalism and the founder of many church and ecumenical societies, will be well known to our members and the book will be eagerly anticipated. It will be the first full length appreciation of his life and achievements and will be published next year.
The Society’s annual subscription has been set at £15.00 since its formation in 2000 and there has been no increase since. Obviously in that time costs have risen substantially; postage by at least 30%, and there have been significant rises in the costs of packing materials, printing and the hire of venues. We have also set up a website. At the AGM in June we discussed raising the subscription and floated the idea of a significant increase that would include a copy of the annual Occasional Paper. This had advantages but at a recent Committee meeting we decided the simplest way forward was to raise the annual subscription from £15 to £20, starting on January 1st next year. We have made this change well in advance of next January when subscriptions are due. In particular members who pay by Banker’s Standing Order need to inform their Bank as soon as possible so that the necessary change can be made before January 1 2012.
Members will, of course, continue to receive the printed lectures and shorter papers free of charge as well as enjoying a 15% discount on Occasional Papers. We have also ceased to charge for wine at meetings and now admit guests free.
The Society’s June Lecture
Dr John Stuart’s talk on the Centenary of UMCA is now in printed form and a copy of the booklet is enclosed. The Society is keen to encourage local histories of Anglo-Catholic churches and we were happy to receive a short essay on St Silas’ Church, Hull (1871-1967) from the Reverend Michael Rear whose writings will be familiar to many. The Committee has printed the essay in booklet form and a copy of this is also enclosed for members.
The Society’s Autumn Lecture
This will take place on Monday October 10 at 7pm at St Matthew’s Church Westminster (Great Peter Street SW1P 2BU) when the Reverend James Pereiro will speak on “Manning’s Intellectual Journey”.
Fr James Pereiro is a member of the History Faculty at Oxford University and has published extensively on nineteenth and twentieth century ecclesiastical history. His 'Ethos and the Oxford Movement' was published in 2008 (OUP); his book on Cardinal Manning appeared in 1998 (OUP) and reprinted in paperback in 2008 (Gracewing).
Future Lectures – Advance Notice
Monday 13 February at St Clement Dane’s. “Barbara Pym & Anglo-Catholicism”. (Mr Tim Burnett of the Barbara Pym Society).
Barbara Pym, who died in 1980, wrote a series of richly comic and closely observed novels, some with Anglo-Catholic themes such as "A Glass of Blessings". She attended several Anglo-Catholic churches and for a while served on the PCC of St Michael’s, Barnes. Under-rated for much of her life, her literary stock is much higher now.
June AGM. Date & venue to be notified. “The Anglican Practice of Retreat – The First Ten Years”. (Canon John Tyers).
October. "Anglo-Catholic Missions”. (Rev Dr Peter Davie).
Annual Coach Excursion
The Society’s annual coach tour, which took place on 9th July 2011 to Alton, was an enjoyable and interesting day for all. We started with a visit to Froyle, where, at the turn of the century and later the squire, Sir Hubert Miller, had purchased a large number of magnificent antique vestments during his travels in Europe (usually Venice): eventually these were left to rot but are now being restored by a group of extremely friendly local ladies, who could not have been more welcoming. The church itself had much to admire. On the facades of the village houses are displayed religious sculptures, including statues of saints, all of which are the fruits of Sir Hubert many sojourns in Venice and Italy. After lunch we visited the two parish churches in Alton and then Alton Abbey, which was new to most of us and has an interesting and distinctive history.
The London Walking Tour
This annual event led by Michael Yelton will take place on Saturday 15th October in the Kensington-Pimlico area. Another good day is promised and once again we hope this will be well supported (one day it may rain…).
Michael Farrer Prize awarded by the Anglo-Catholic History Society
This annual prize is offered for an outstanding and original piece of historical research on Anglo-Catholicism of 5,000 words or more which has been submitted as an undergraduate dissertation. The value of the prize is £500. The piece could examine any aspect of the Catholic movement within the Church of England since 1833. It might, for example, be based on research into an individual(s), organization (such as a society, mission or guild) or parish church; and it could cover, but need not be confined to, aspects of Anglo-Catholicism such as ritual and worship, architecture, parish life, culture and politics and involvement in the wider church. The prize has been introduced by the Society in order encourage young scholars to engage in research into Anglo-Catholicism. It is awarded in memory of one of the founders of the Society.
Candidates must submit the essay to the Secretary of the Anglo-Catholic History Society by 1 July 2012. The essay must have been submitted by the candidate as a dissertation at a UK Higher Education institution in the previous 12 months; and accompanying evidence of this, in the form of a confirmatory letter from an academic member of staff at that institution (ideally the original supervisor), must be provided. In addition to the monetary prize, the essay will be published and issued to members of the Society and the winner may be invited to deliver a paper at an Anglo-Catholic Historical Society meeting in London.
For further information, please contact the Revd Dr Perry Butler (Chairman): Flat 6 Mikyle Court 39 South Canterbury Rd Canterbury Kent CT1 3LH. Holmado@aol.com .
January 2011 Lecture
This took place on Monday January 31 at 7pm in St Clement Danes Church, Strand, London. Martin Wellings, Superintendent of the Oxford Methodist Circuit spoke on “Some Methodist Responses to Anglo-Catholicism in Victorian & Edwardian England. From “The Soul of Dominic Wildthorne” to the Weslyan Guild of Divine Service. Martin is also Chaplain to Methodist Students at Oxford University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. A printed version of this lecture has been circulated to members and additional copies may be purchased from the Secretary. (£4 post free).
Advance Notice – Future Lectures
13 October 2011: The autumn lecture will be held at 7pm when Fr Pereiro will lecture on the intellectual development of Henry Manning. To be held at St Matthew’s, Westminster.
Fr. James Pereiro is a member of the Theology Faculty of Oxford University. He has written extensively on 19th century ecclesiastical history. His "Cardinal Manning" was published in 1998; his latest book "Ethos At the Heart of the Oxford Movement" in 2008 (both by OUP).
January 2012: Barbara Pym & Anglo-Catholicism, to be given by Mr T.A.J. Burnett on Monday 13th February 7pm at St Clement Danes.
AGM 2012: The Revival of Retreats by Canon John Tyers.
All lectures are open to non-members.
This may now be accessed at: www.achs.org.uk Members are encouraged to suggest news and other items for the website by emailing the Webmaster, John Maiden via the site.
Twelve More Lost Churches of London
In 2006 the Society published Michael Yelton’s Occasional Paper entitled Empty Tabernacles - Twelve Lost Churches of London. This is now out of print but Michael is starting on another group of lost churches. These will be as under and Michael will be most grateful to hear from any member with information, reminiscences or best of all printed material related to any of these churches:
- St Hugh, West Bermondsey
- St John the Divine, Balham
- St Andrew, Battersea
- St Thomas, Regent Street
- St Columb, Notting Hill
- All Hallows, Southwark
- Lady Margaret Church, Walworth
- St Peter, Limehouse
- St Saviour, Poplar
- St Clement, Barnsbury
- St Jude, Gray’s Inn Road
- St Thomas, Acton Vale
Please contact Michael Yelton by email: email@example.com
Isaac Williams Memorial
Isaac Williams (1802-1865) was a prominent early Tractarian and a student and disciple of John Keble. A life-long, loyal Anglican, he was well known in his time as a writer and poet. After graduating at Trinity College, Oxford he was ordained Deacon in 1829 and served his first curacy at the Church of St Peter, Windrush, Gloucestershire where he “….. meditated in quietness, read devotional works, studied Hebrew and wrote poetry”. (”Isaac Williams”, Catholic Literature Association, 1933). In 1831 he was recalled to his College as Fellow and later Dean. The PCC of Windrush church decided in 2010 to erect a memorial to him in the church; a fund raising appeal was made to which the Society contributed. The oval wall mounted memorial is of polished natural slate and is inscribed:
“In Thanksgiving for Isaac Williams 1805-1865.
A Leader in the Oxford Movement
Curate of Windrush 1829-1833”
Around the edges are two quotations from his works:
“Be Thou My Guardian and My Guide”
“Of Heaven’s Kingdom We Inheritors Were Made”
The memorial was dedicated on Easter Day this year and coloured leaflet has been produced by the church; free copies available – email the Secretary.
“THE ONLY ANGLICAN CHURCH IN COMMUNION WITH ROME”:
SAINT GEORGE’S SUDBURY AND FATHER CLEMENT LLOYD RUSSELL.
By John Martyn Harwood
I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy House; and the place where Thy Glory dwelleth.
[Psalm 25, Douai version]
Strictly speaking this subject does not count as a piece of Anglo-Catholic history at all, as the church of St George in Sudbury, Middlesex, was always firmly within the Archdiocese of Westminster. I hope that by the end of this article, readers will have forgiven me and understand why I claim space in your Society’s publication.
If any church’s tradition could be said to be sui generis, St George’s could and this was because of the vision of one man, its founder and priest for nearly forty years. Clement Lloyd Russell was born in 1884, the son of Henry Lloyd Russell, vicar of the Church of The Annunciation, Chislehurst and a prominent Tractarian. There is an early and amusing mention of him in the infamous report of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline (1906) which was established to put an end to “illegal” ritual practices in the Church of England. Among the hundreds of pages of evidence is an entry about The Annunciation, Chislehurst, on 18th September 1904. The vicar strongly refutes any charge of lawlessness, taking a traditional Tractarian position and mentioning examples of past episcopal approval. He does however become a little defensive when replying to the report of a “visitor” that the festival of Corpus Christi was solemnly kept. The notice in the church porch announcing this, he maintains, was “placed there by my son, and I told him, after I became aware of it, of my disapproval”.
This indicates that Clement’s position was a good deal more advanced than the respectable High Church ritualism of his father. However, the son never experienced or embraced anything resembling “baroque” Anglo-Catholicism but remained an Edwardian High Churchman and medievalist to the end.
The younger Russell was ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1908 and for a short time was one of a tribe of curates at St Andrew’s, Willesden Green. In 1910 he experienced a crisis of conscience and was received into the Roman Catholic Church. After almost no formal training (he always maintained that he knew practically nothing about Roman Moral Theology or Canon Law) he was ordained deacon in 1914 and priest in 1915. He was sent as curate to work under a tyrannical parish priest at the Holy Rosary Church in Marylebone, London.
This was a low point in Father Russell’s life but in the early 1920s he received an offer, which had the approval of Cardinal Bourne, from a very wealthy lady who wished to fund the building of a new church in one of London’s growing suburbs. He found himself in the happy position of being able to choose the site, architect, style of building, furnishings and dedication of the new church and parish. The foundation stone was laid in November 1925 and Father Russell moved into the newly built presbytery a few months later. He remained there, never taking a holiday, until his death in 1965.
Saint George’s church, in the non-descript district of Sudbury, near Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, was completed in 1927 and solemnly consecrated (a rare occurrence in those days) on the 18th April 1928. Its architect was the almost forgotten Leonard Williams, a modest church builder who died before this, his last work, was completed. Again unusually, it was entirely free from debt. At a time when “side altars” were usually wooden stands for holding statues and flowerpots, St George’s possessed four properly consecrated stone altars, designed on English medieval lines, dedicated to St George (the high altar), Our Ladye (Fr Russell’s invariable spelling), the Archangel Michael, and St Thomas of Canterbury.
He that hewed timber afore out of the thick trees: was known to bring it to an excellent work.
[Psalm 74, Prayer Book version]
The church from the outside still looks much as it did in 1927 and can be seen on its current website. It is a dignified perpendicular gothic building of warm stock brick and much stone dressing. The clergy house is joined to the church which can be accessed from it. The whole composition is very charming and romantic despite the clearing of many trees which used to surround it. There are two large bells, also properly consecrated and anointed.
But it was chiefly for its furnishings that St George’s was famous. Over many years Fr Russell acquired or had made innumerable objects of piety to adorn his new creation. Slowly the altars were all vested with rich frontals in all the liturgical colours – this meant at least six or seven sets for each of the four altars. Each also had the inevitable riddle posts with angels holding candles. Between these, curtains of the highest quality hung, again in the different colours. Canopied images of the dedicated saints stood above. All the woodwork was carved and nothing of plaster was allowed in the church even temporarily.
The rector, as Fr Russell was often called, had no objection to popular devotions and was not of the austere “Benedictine” school; however the devotions had to have medieval precedents. No images of the Sacred Heart or Our Lady of Lourdes were permitted but near the back of the church, opposite the main door, was a large oak “tableau” depicting the Five Wounds of Christ and with a carved statue of the Lord at its centre. This was of course a very popular cult in late medieval England. Above were emblazoned the words (and I quote from memory for the entire shrine has since disappeared): JHESU BY THYE WOUNDES FYVE: SHEWE ME THE WAYE TO VERTUYOUS LYFE.
For many years it remained a puzzle to new parishioners especially those of simple faith but eventually the shrine acquired its devotees.
Above the Lady altar, was enthroned, in September 1928, a beautiful carved image of Our Lady of Walsingham. This was the first one based on the ancient seal to be erected in a Roman Catholic church. It was only six years after Fr Hope Patten had placed his Walsingham statue in the parish church there. Of course Fr Russell knew of all that had been achieved by the Anglicans at Walsingham and was anxious to spread the devotion in his own Communion. Thereafter the appropriate Marian Antiphon was always sung after all evening services in front of her image. In 1933 a second statue of the Blessed Virgin was unveiled in the Lady Chapel: this was a magnificent alabaster carving of medieval origin, showing her standing and holding her Son and, in the other hand, a sceptre. It had been found in Devon, restored and presented to Fr Russell. Several experts claimed that it had originally formed part of the reredos behind the high altar of Exeter cathedral, and it still retained traces of colouring. A beautiful carved wooden screen enclosed the Lady chapel, decorated with images of Saints Lawrence and Katherine in memory of the last two chapels on the ancient pilgrims’ “Walsingham Way.”
This is only a partial description of the church’s contents; there were also two carved eagle lecterns, one of which stood in the centre of the choir for use by the cantors, and additions were still being made right up to the rector’s death. In 1962, for example, the huge rood beam, rood, statues of Saints Mary and John and attendant cherubim on “wheels” were re-gilded and in the same year expensive iron gates and a fine image of St John the Baptist were added to the Baptistery.
Those who still remember St George’s before 1965 will recall its liturgical life even more than the beauty of its furnishings. Starting from modest beginnings, Fr Russell gathered around him a team of enthusiastic helpers to form choir and servers to assist him in the offering of the rich round of services he desired. By the early 1950s he had established Sung Masses and Solemn Vespers on all Sundays and great festivals, with vespers being sung even on “Days of Devotion”, including all the feasts of the Apostles. Christmas was particularly well served with solemn first vespers; solemn matins and midnight mass; sung masses of the dawn and day (celebrated at 9.30 and 10.30am respectively); solemn second vespers, procession and benediction and solemn vespers with procession on each of the following four days (they were all Days of Devotion!) The grandest and most fashionable Anglo-Catholic church in Edwardian days could not have done more.
The number of singers and servers, who were all housed in the sanctuary, rarely exceeded thirty-five which the rector considered a rather inadequate figure though most clerical visitors viewed it with envy. Needless to say those who served at the high altar were not only rigorously trained but were richly attired. The cantors wore copes, the rest of the choir and most servers, full gathered surplices, like those shown on portraits of Tudor bishops, with enormous sleeves and in length reaching below the knee. Famous (or notorious) were the apparelled albs and amices worn by the acolytes and thurifer (even the apparels came in complete sets of liturgical colours) and the alb and tunicle of the crucifer. Fresh chasubles and copes for the celebrant were often added when Fr Russell heard of Anglo-Catholic churches which had abandoned “gothic” styles. He had some kind of source of secret information about such matters. Everything used in the worship of God was of the highest quality down to the candles, incense, altar breads and wine. The music of course was strictly plainsong and under the direction of men who had Benedictine monastic training.
The number of sung services was actually increasing in the years just before Fr Russell’s death whereas elsewhere, both in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Church of England, they were in steep decline. I can remember when matins on Pentecost Eve was introduced for the first time, in 1959. However, it cannot be said that any services at St George’s other than low masses were ever very well attended. This worried Fr Russell not at all. When the church was first opened only twenty Roman Catholics lived in the area and there was no real need for a new parish at all. In 1962 mass attendance was found to be 1,175 souls. The rector arranged worship in the same way for both numbers. On one dark evening, a server nervously told him, before vespers began, that there was no one in the church at all. “Nonsense” he replied, “the nave is full of angels”.
As can be guessed, Fr Russell was not free of eccentricities. Life in his clergy house was a strain for most curates, who did not tend to stay long. First there was the Dickensian clutter of vestment presses, cuckoo clocks (all set at slightly different times, though never British summer time), large cats as eccentric as their master, books and antique silver. Then there was the conceit that he was a beleaguered Anglo-Catholic vicar liable to be disciplined by his diocesan, though successive Cardinals actually showed astonishing indulgence towards him (it should be remembered that before the Second Vatican Council the overriding priority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England was the establishment of a RC school in every parish; Fr Russell never attempted to do this and never even mentioned the need for one.) “The Archbishop is coming” he would say, “We must hide the acolytes’ albs” or: “When I am dead they will come and turn all my vestments into bed covers just as the Reformers did”. Actually, in a sense, this prophecy was fulfilled. Some wag had once called St George’s “The only Anglican church in communion with Rome”. This was probably intended as a taunt but Fr Russell wore the label with great pride (perhaps he remembered his father’s church at the start of the Twentieth Century) and would often quote it to startled new-comers.
Fr Russell wrote everything by hand using the most extraordinary late medieval Gothic script. Many parishioners claimed they could not read the notices in the church porch at all. The local postman was made of sterner stuff and took great pride in being able to deliver all the rector’s letters without difficulty. He especially approved of the priest’s complete non-use of abbreviations – Saint not St or London North West rather than NW. How Father would have hated (it still makes me feel slightly guilty) my use of “Fr” in this article.
Often such highly motivated men can be ill-mannered or off-hand; Fr Russell by contrast was the mildest and most easy-going of souls, other-worldly and quite without authoritarianism. Servers and young choir members would sometimes ask him to inscribe their missals. He always used the same text for this, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Authorized Version: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them”. In his later years he allowed a poor Irishman who drank rather too much to live permanently in the clergy house and provided for him generously in his will.
Much was rumoured about Fr Russell’s supposed fascist leanings. I believe them greatly exaggerated. He certainly supported Mussolini in the 1930s but so did many others, and he admired General Franco all his life. Hitler he wrote openly against in the parish magazine after the war started. I believe that the fascist rumours were partly based on the certain fact that two members of his choir were prominent members of Mosley’s Party and later were conscientious objectors. In truth Father was not much interested in events that took place after 1530.
But now they break down all the carved work thereof: with axes and hammers.
[Psalm 74, Prayer Book version]
Clement Lloyd Russell was hit by a car, crossing the road outside his church, and died soon afterwards, on 11th January 1965. He was 80 but in good health and still running St George’s along usual lines. His death at least saved him from having to make inevitable and difficult choices, for the Second Vatican Council was in full swing. Already low masses at St George’s were being said in English. Fr Russell’s tradition would have received little sympathy from the new sort of Roman Catholic who regarded the Council documents as on par with the Four Gospels, nor from their conservative opponents, Anglo-Irish and stubbornly philistine, nor even from modern Anglo-Catholics eagerly following every trend of the Liturgical Movement. In the mid Sixties his ideals of liturgical worship could not have been more unfashionable. This needs to be clearly stated. It should also be added that he had almost no sympathy with the budding ecumenical movement. Without of course realising it, he was in his spirituality and his priorities, extremely close to Eastern Orthodoxy. If any reader thinks this far-fetched, read Russell’s own summary of his aims, which concludes this article.
The priest appointed as his successor, Wilfrid Purney, tried to maintain some continuity but the looming liturgical changes from above demoralised Fr Russell’s old supporters. The men’s choir was disbanded in June 1966 and most of the servers ceased to attend about the same time. Services began to resemble those elsewhere in the archdiocese. Fr Purney however, always kept the church looking as it had always done and no “re-ordering” was permitted. After his death the long-delayed deluge came with the arrival of those “who knew not Joseph”. Because of the late date of the building and its furnishings, those opposed to major change could not appeal to the law or preservation societies. Between 1990 and 1996 St George’s interior was completely gutted. Most of the furnishings and hangings disappeared, the consecrated stone altars were desecrated and destroyed and an extraordinary octagonal-shaped altar was placed in the centre of the church. But it would be fruitless, and perhaps libellous, to continue. Fr Russell would perhaps have simply remarked that King Edward VI’s visitors had returned to earth.
I want to conclude by quoting from Fr Russell’s own words because it is important to understand that he was much more than just a “character”. Here he is writing in the parish magazine in the 1940s, but he very often expressed himself in similar terms, as I heard him do so several times:
And beyond all, I want the sanctuary, especially at sung mass and at vespers and benediction, to speak to people of the glories of Heaven, and that, as far as is humanly possible, there shall be gathered there a splendour of colour and light, beauty of vesture, and ordered movement that compels the most wandering and distracted of undisciplined minds to realise that something far, far more than the satisfaction of human devotion is being accomplished – that the eternal and invisible GOD is being worshipped, and that all that is being done, is performed to render the easier, a response to the invitation “Sursum Corda!” There, at all events, is and has been my great endeavour.
‘Anglo-Catholic in Religion’: T.S. Eliot and Christianity by Barry Spurr (Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, paperback, £25)
This is an important and much needed book. It is also very well produced, and members of the Society will be immediately arrested by the wonderful colour photograph of the sanctuary of St. Stephen, Gloucester Road, by our own John Salmon, on the cover.
Previous biographers of Eliot have either misunderstood or simply neglected his religious beliefs and the central part he played in Anglo-Catholic thought and writing from the late 1920s until his death in 1965. Peter Ackroyd, in his masterly study first published in 1984, for example, brushes off Eliot’s involvement with St. Stephen in a few lines, whereas in fact, as Barry Spurr shows, attendance at mass and other ceremonies was at the very centre of Eliot’s life. Professor Spurr comes at the matter from the opposite direction: in other words he starts from the perfectly proper assumption that his reader may know nothing of the ethos and practice of Anglo-Catholicism in the inter war period, explains it, and explains Eliot’s involvement with the Movement.
It is clear from the book that Eliot’s views were far more “advanced” than has sometimes been acknowledged. I did not appreciate for example that after he was widowed, and before he entered into his late period of happy second marriage, he had decided to retire to Nashdom, then entirely Latin in language and spirit. His confessor for some years was the Revd Sir Percy Maryon-Wilson, Bart., a governor of the Walsingham shrine and parish priest of St. Mary, Somers Town. Eliot also wrote, in 1943, a polemic tract for the Committee for the Defence of Church Principles entitled Reunion by Destruction, which argued very strongly against intercommunion with the Church of South India. As Professor Spurr argues, Eliot became the best known Anglo-Catholic layman in England for a time, and it is a measure of the eclipse of knowledge and understanding of his point of view that that aspect of his life has been so underrated.
After dealing with the context in which Eliot moved and his personal faith, Professor Spurr goes on to examine the overt references in Eliot’s poetry to Anglo-Catholicism and exposes many fallacies put about by those who have no deep understanding of his beliefs. There are also interesting appendices including one in which the author sets out strongly the case against Eliot being regarded as an anti-Semite.
This book is strongly recommended: it reads well, is informative and well argued. One small glitch which the observant will notice is that St. Silas, Kentish Town, is mistakenly termed St. Simon, an error which Ackroyd also made. (Michael Yelton)
PRIEST IN DEEP WATER: Charles Plomer Hopkins and the 1911 Seamen’s Strike by R.W.H. Miller
The Revd Robert Miller is a Roman Catholic priest in the West Country. He is also an authority on the interaction between the churches and seamen in various parts of the world. This book is a rewriting of an MA thesis dating from 1993. He corrects much of what was written on the subject by Peter Anson, and refers to his subject as “somebody Anson neither understood nor knew much about”.
The life of Charles Plomer Hopkins was extraordinary. He was born in 1861 and as with many others of his generation embraced what was then the rising tide of the Anglo-Catholic Movement. However, while many of those who were so touched laboured in the slums and suburbs of the cities of England, Hopkins became a seaman’s chaplain in Burma and India. During a short period in London in 1888-9 he was professed into a small parochial religious order, the Society of St. Paul, which had been founded in the now long-vanished parish of Holy Trinity, Shoreditch, by the parish priest, the Revd A. Osborne Jay.
Hopkins then returned to the East, to become the port chaplain in Calcutta, where he refurbished the chapel in accordance with Anglo-Catholic principles. However he became increasingly involved with the welfare of seamen, and his brotherhood supported many who became embroiled in legal proceedings with their employers. In the meantime he was dragged into a sexual scandal after having allegations of propositioning a young man made against him: he was wholly vindicated by court proceedings which he himself instituted but there appears thereafter to have been an undercurrent of such assertions against him, which Father Miller thinks were without foundation.
In 1894 Hopkins returned to this country to take charge of the then mother house of the Order of St. Paul at Barry in South Wales, but in the following year he purchased a substantial plot of land near Alton in Hampshire, on which in due course was constructed the Abbey of St. Paul. Life at the abbey was described by Compton Mackenzie in The Altar Steps, the first part of his well-known trilogy, in which here as elsewhere the disguise applied to well known figures was light.
Hopkins’ path was then complicated by the antagonism towards him of Randall Davidson, then Bishop of Winchester. However he continued to campaign vigorously on behalf of seafarers, and in 1903 the OSP published a Prayer Book for Catholic Seamen. Hopkins coupled this with Christian Socialism, and he played a prominent part in the 1911 seamen’s strike, which although it is named in the title is only part of the subject of this well researched book.
There is however less about the development of the Abbey at Alton and Hopkins’ later years, which is an omission which is unfortunate, although it appears from the Introduction that there are very significant gaps in the archives of the Order, and that the writer was not given all the assistance he wanted.
This is a very detailed book, not all of which is of immediate interest to the non-specialist, but it throws a powerful light on an interesting and idiosyncratic figure, and does not avoid dealing with the controversial features of the subject’s life. It is available from the Lutterworth Press, PO Box 60, Cambridge CB1 2NT at £25, which may at first sight appear expensive but reflects its specialised nature. (Michael Yelton)
Some, though I imagine not all, of our members will know that I retired as Rector of St George's Bloomsbury on 31st October last year. Having broken my leg on holiday in June my last months were not quite what I hoped but I had already decided to retire once the new chandelier had been installed. The restoration of St George's had cost over £10 million and taken the best part of a decade. Rather exhausted, I felt that a new priest was needed to carry the mission of the "new" St George's forward and I am delighted that the new rector (inducted on 21st September this year) is Fr David Peebles the Chaplain of the London School of Economics.
I was also conscious of my mother’s need for greater care. She has lived with me since the death of my father and during the last three years has begun to suffer from dementia. She will be 97 in December. We are now happily settled in Canterbury, not far from my sister and where I grew up and have found a home at St Mildred’s near the castle where we have been made very welcome.
We have a full programme of lectures for the coming year. I do wonder how historical research will fare in the future with university cuts and fewer postgraduate students. It does not seem to me that as much research is being done especially in 20th century Anglo-Catholic history as I would hope at that level; I imagine, however, that there may well be local historians researching particular topics that I am completely unaware of, so if members do know of work being done, please do let me know. I am happy to be contacted by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Autumn Lecture 2010
This took place on Monday October 4th when Dr Dominic Janes, Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London and a member of ACHS, gave a paper entitled “The Victorian Persecution: Anglo-Catholics & Martyrdom” A copy of a printed version is enclosed with this Newsletter for all members. Despite a tube strike on that day, there was a good turnout.
January 2011 Lecture
This will take place on Monday January 31 at 7pm in St Clement Danes Church, Strand, London. Martin Wellings, Superintendent of the Oxford Methodist Circuit will speak on “Some Methodist Responses to Anglo-Catholicism in Victorian & Edwardian England. From “The Soul of Dominic Wildthorne” to the Weslyan Guild of Divine Service. Martin is also Chaplain to Methodist Students at Oxford University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His study of Anglican Evangelicalism in the late C19 & early C20, “Evangelicals Embattled” was published in 2003.
Members will be interested in Mr Welling’s paper on “The Oxford Movement in Late Nineteenth Century Retrospect: R.W. Church, J.H. Rigg and Walter Walsh” in R.N. Swanson (Ed), “The Church Retrospective”. (Boydell & Brewer, 1997).
Future Venue for ACHS Lectures.
Recent lecturers have requested the use of audio-visual facilities
which venues used in the past have not provided. Many lecturers would prefer to include illustrations displayed by laptop Powerpoint images or to run DVD presentations.
Accordingly the Committee is investigating central London meeting places which have suitable AV facilities and combined with comfortable seating and good acoustics. Nearness to public transport is also a major requirement and central London is likely to remain our preferred option. Any suggestions members have will be most welcome, as we do not need to hold all our lectures in the same place and some members would prefer the use of different venues.
New ACHS Website
We are currently working with a web designer to develop a new website for the Society and replace our current web space. We envisage that this will raise our profile and bring in new members. The site will allow us to explain our aims and history, advertise our events, share our news, and advertise available and forthcoming publications. Members will be encouraged to suggest news for the website by emailing the Secretary; or for example, to make an announcement of a forthcoming event which will be of interest to members or to recommend a book including a review thereof.
Advance Notice – Summer and Autumn Lectures 2011
The Summer lecture is planned to coincide with the AGM, on Monday 13 June 2011. Dr John Stuart of Kingston University will speak on “Anglo-Catholicism and the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa in the 20th Century”. UMCA celebrated its centenary in 2010.
The date of the autumn lecture is not yet finalised but it will be held in October 2011 when Fr Pereiro will lecture on the intellectual development of Henry Manning.
Venues and dates are availabe on the Events page.
Report: Autumn London Walk – Saturday October 16
Another very good turnout of members enjoyed what has now become our customary good weather, with only one shower interrupting a cold but fine day. We saw an enormous variety of churches, with only one problem, in that we could not get entry to St. Mary, Kennington, although we were able to see through the glass doors: I have since had an apology from the rector, who had forgotten us despite a reminder. All that remains of the Victorian church is the tower and we were able to see the attractive post-war rebuild. We started at the remarkable Pearson church of St. Peter, Vauxhall, with its largely undisturbed Victorian sanctuary, and followed that by St. Anselm, Kennington Cross, which looks somewhat down at heel. After the disappointment at St. Mary, we were entranced by the contents of the replacement St. Agnes, Kennington Park, which was beautifully kept. Next was the magnificent St. John the Divine, Kennington, followed by the late 1950s church of St. Paul, Lorrimore Square. This is a highly regarded post-war church with important fittings. We had lunch in the crypt of St. Peter, Walworth, and were able to see the church, one of the great churches of Sir John Soane, beautifully restored. This was followed by St. John, Larcom Street, a typical back street shrine which many members did not know: however they were excited by the reliquaries. We followed this by the replacement St. Matthew, Newington, which is involved with much social work, and from where we had seen the reredos of the old church in Portsmouth in July. We finished at St. Hugh, the former Charterhouse mission in Crosby Row, which is about to be demolished. All who participated, I think, enjoyed a very varied day. The walk next year will be in the Pimlico area and we hope will be equally enjoyable.
Priest in Deep Water.
The Committee is pleased to recommend this book to members and we have negotiated a reduced price. It is hoped to publish a review in the next Newsletter. Why not be the first to post a review? Email your reviews/comments to the Secretary.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF ST PAULS
The Rev Dr Robert Beaken
At 12 noon on Saturday 11 September 2010 a special Eucharist of Thanksgiving was celebrated in St Katharine’s Church, Little Bardfield, Essex, to mark the centenary of the foundation in 1910 of the Brotherhood of St Paul, a theological college, by the rector, the Rev. Edward Mears. Mears (1864-1947) studied at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Following his graduation in 1887 he embarked upon a career as a schoolmaster, and was also ordained priest in 1900. He became rector of Little Bardfield in 1906 and remained for thirty-four years until his retirement in 1940.
With his educational background and experience, Mears conceived of the idea of opening an Anglican theological college along sound catholic lines for ordinands from poorer backgrounds. Study at a theological college in the early twentieth century was expensive and ordinands mostly had to find the fees themselves. Some of the religious orders sought to remedy this situation by inaugurating schemes to train ordinands from poor backgrounds. The theological colleges run by the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield and the Society of the Sacred Mission at Kelham are well known, but the Benedictines at Nashdom Abbey also prepared a number of men for the parish ministry between the wars.
Mears decided in 1910 to open a theological college in his parish to train men who might otherwise not have fulfilled their vocations, and which, in the words of one former student was run on a ‘shoe string.’ In his earlier life, Mears had undergone a dramatic spiritual awakening which left him with a warm affection for St Paul. He therefore called his college The Brotherhood of St Paul. Mears conceived of a brotherhood of men living in community in preparation for ordination, and constituted himself the first ‘warden’ of the Brotherhood. The ordinands were obliged upon their arrival at Little Bardfield to pledge obedience to the direction of the warden in regards to studies and general life of the community. At the conclusion of their training they were each released from this obedience.
The ordination course at Little Bardfield cost a total of twenty five guineas, though books were extra. The ordinands lodged with families in Great and Little Bardfield. During term time they were expected always to be dressed in a cassock, with a cross at the belt. Mears held four terms a year, with a week’s holiday at Christmas and a fortnight in the Summer. Ordinands aged under twenty-three studied for nine terms, those over twenty-three for eight. Each day began with the Eucharist in St Katharine’s. A large room at one end of Little Bardfield Rectory was used for lectures and examinations, which the ordinands nicknamed the ‘Room of Pain.’ Scholarly country clergy were recruited to assist with the lectures. Latin and Greek were taught to all ordinands from the beginning to enable them to read the New Testament in both languages. Special emphasis was laid on a thorough knowledge of the Bible. Seven separate courses were given covering the Old Testament in general, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Apocrypha, the Synoptic Gospels, the Fourth Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament Epistles, and Revelation. A considerable portion of the New Testament was studied in Greek, whilst one book was studied in a Latin translation. Many ordinands were coached to university level.
Between 1910 and 1914 ordinands from the Brotherhood of St Paul were accepted for ordination like students from any other Church of England theological college. After 1914 it became difficult to find English bishops to accept them for ordination. Bishop Edgar Jacob of St Albans, whose diocese then covered Essex, was wary of giving official recognition to the Brotherhood of St Paul in its early days, for fear that it might fizzle out, but he held Mears’ work in high esteem. John Watts-Ditchfield, the first bishop of the new diocese of Chelmsford, created in 1914 to cover Essex, took rather a different view. Watts-Ditchfield was a severe and authoritarian low-churchman, who had no understanding or sympathy with catholic theology or spirituality. During the 1914-18 War, for example, Watts-Ditchfield famously pressurized the enclosed community of Anglican Cistercian nuns at Pleshey over their reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, and in the end they left his diocese and settled in Buckinghamshire. Watts-Ditchfield arrived unexpectedly at Little Bardfield Rectory one day in 1914 to confront Mears about his use of vestments and reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. An argument developed between the two men, and Mears ordered Watts-Ditchfield off the premises. Watts-Ditchfield never visited the parish again during his nine years as bishop of Chelmsford.
Mears’ reaction may have been counter-productive because bishops talk to one another and Watts-Ditchfield was unlikely to keep quiet about his reception in Little Bardfield and his apprehension of what went on there. It may not be coincidental that around this time ordinands from Little Bardfield began to find it difficult to get English bishops to ordain them and in consequence they sought ordination overseas at the hands of colonial bishops. The occasional Little Bardfield ordinand still managed to persuade an English bishop to ordain him during the 1920s and ‘30s, but mostly they went to Africa, Australia, Canada and the U.S.A. The Brotherhood was officially recognised as a theological college by a number of African dioceses. Interestingly, there seems to have been no shortage of ordinands willing to study with the Brotherhood of St Paul – there seems to have been around twenty ordinands in training per year between the wars – in the knowledge that they would have to go overseas at the end of their course. Nor does Mears appear to have experienced any difficulty placing his ordinands with colonial bishops, who would occasionally visit Little Bardfield seeking new curates for their dioceses, and would sometimes preach in St Katharine’s church.
Correspondence amongst the papers of Archbishops Lang and Fisher at Lambeth Palace show that some English bishops and clergy were worried that the training offered by the Brotherhood of St Paul may have been of uneven quality and thought that the library might have contained a wider selection of books. However, one former student of the Brotherhood of St Paul went on to become a bishop of Worcester, a second became a bishop in Canada, two were appointed to the ecclesiastical household of Queen Elizabeth II and one was elected the superior of the Society of St John the Evangelist in Canada, which would all seem to indicate that their priestly formation in Little Bardfield cannot have been too defective. A little over three hundred priests were trained for ordination by the Brotherhood of St Paul, the majority of whom served in parishes, on mission stations and as military chaplains during the Second World War. Following Mears’ retirement in 1940, the Brotherhood of St Paul moved to Barton in Yorkshire, where Canon S.C. Joad was the warden. In 1952 the Brotherhood moved first to Tottenhill, near King’s Lynn in Norfolk, and then to Great Snoring, near Walsingham. The unravelling of the British Empire, declining numbers of ordinands, and the failure of an attempt in the mid-1950s to secure official recognition from the Church of England, despite a generous report from the C.A.C.T.M. theological college inspectors who visited the Brotherhood, all contributed to its eventual demise. The Brotherhood of St Paul finally came to an end in the Spring of 1957, after an existence of forty-seven years.
Mears may have been something of an irascible character and probably had only limited resources at his disposal, but he was a gifted teacher with a love of the New Testament – he published a commentary on St John’s Gospel – and a devotion to the Anglican parochial ministry. His vision of using his educational skills, his house and his parish to enable young men from poor backgrounds to realize their vocations to ordination, at a time when the Church of England did not make it easy for them to do so, was a noble and generous one. It is said that a priest, knowingly or unknowingly, will affect the lives of thousands of people during the course of his ministry. Many people throughout the world, in consequence, must have been helped by clergy whose priestly formation took place in Little Bardfield.
Edward Mears’ vision and the vocations of the men whom he prepared for ordination was remembered in a special Eucharist of Thanksgiving held in St Katharine’s Church, Little Bardfield, on Saturday 11 September 2010. The preacher was Father Jeremy Sheehy, rector of Swinton and Pendlebury, and formerly principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. The service was celebrated as it would have been in 1910, with the Book of Common Prayer, enrichments such as the Benedictus and Agnus Dei, and propers sung to Gregorian chant, as it would have been known to Edward Mears and his first ordinands.
If you have any information to impart or you wish further details please contact Father Robert Beaken, The Vicarage, Braintree Road, Great Bardfield, Essex, CM7 4RN. Telephone 01371 810267. E-mail Robert@webform.com Father Robert is a member of the Society and has lectured on Archbishop Lang.