RAG conference 2018

The Religious Archives Group Conference will be held on Thursday 10th May 2018. The theme of this year’s Conference will be Military Chaplaincy during WW1 and it will be hosted by the Archives at King’s College London, home to the Liddell Hart Military Archives. Further details and the booking form can be found here:
If you would like to attend, please return your form as soon as possible. The deadline for bookings is Friday 27 April 2018, and please note that your booking is not confirmed until you receive an acknowledgement.

Archives Directory

We have been adding to the Archives Directory and the following services have provided details recently:

In addition, we have been expanding on the information contained in the archives directory to include details about collecting policies, see for example Jesuits in Britain Archives and Ushaw College.

Would your archive like to be involved in the directory? Please send contact & access information and a description of major collections to: Website Editor

CFP urbanisation of Catholic communities

CFP volume of essays examining the urbanisation of Catholic communities in England in the generation after the Relief Acts of 1778 and 1791. (18 George III c. 60 and 31 George III. c. 32.) 

The great majority of this post-Relief generation of lay Catholics lived by profit made in trade and manufacture, or in the provision of professional services. The number of the Catholic gentry was declining to a few hundred, and old missions on their estates were in many cases being transferred to towns.

By 1840 there were over 700 Catholic missions in England, almost all in towns- county towns, ports, leisure towns and, most frequently, industrial towns.  They each had a good-even handsome- church, a presbytery, Sunday schools and charity schools. Their chapels stood on the High streets, alongside the new chapels of the Methodists, the Baptists and the Independents, and in their Classical architecture asserted their pride in the one true faith.  These were paid for by the middle class of the town missions, in the same way as their fellow townsmen who were Church of England or nonconformists, supported their new churches, chapels and schools.

This generation of English Catholics, replaced old habits of getting along with a new assertion and pride.   Catholic life was conducted within the hortus conclusus of home, church and school, secure in the conviction that the Catholic Church was the only true church. Catholics became- and remained well into the 20th century -a fortress church, defending themselves against the not infrequent outbursts of local popular anti-Catholicism, and strengthening their networks of support.

The work of John Bossy, Leo Gooch, and Michael Mullet has  transformed understanding of the laity in this period but to take the work further there is need to dig deeper into the experience of Catholic lay men and women of the poor, working and middle class. This requires a collection of specialist local studies using the tools and techniques of social and local history, as well as ecclesiastical sources. Much work of this kind has been done in the last twenty-five years, but published only locally or in unpublished Ph.D. theses.

Possible topics for such essays could include

  • Catholics, their occupations, relationships, wills.
  • Church buildings, sacred space, architecture, finance, location in the town.
  • Ritual, prayer, services other than Mass, Mass attendance in towns.
  • Church music, at weekly services and for special occasions.
  • Catholic social events, publications, printers and bookshops
  • Social conditions and circumstances of the Catholic poor, location in the town.
  • Sunday schools, Charity schools, education, middle class schools.

Interest is already being shown by contributors concerning towns in the North West and Midlands but such a volume should include London and towns in the North East and South.

Please reply to marie.rowlands1@gmail.com

Making sense of a complex collection

The Archives Assistant of the Jesuits in Britain Archives is currently studying alongside her position for a professional qualification in Archives and Records Management. Having the practical experience to complement the theory and principles taught on the course is invaluable, however, as many of the CAS members will know the reality of tasks such as cataloguing are in practice not always as straightforward as the theory would have you believe. She recently wrote about her experience of tackling a particularly complex collection, which you can read here.

Douai 450th Anniversary Conference

A conference is taking place from 30 April – 1 May 2018 at Ushaw College, Durham, UK to mark the 450th anniversary for the founding of the English College at Douai. It is entitled ‘450 years pioneering Catholic education: past, present, future’. Speakers include:

  • Prof Eamon Duffy: “To Doe Our Countrie Good”: Douai, Rome, and the Tridentine Seminary
  • HE Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and Bishop Paul Tighe: Universities as Places of Encounter between Faith and Culture (Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture)
  • Prof Michael Questier: The Foundation of the English College at Douai and the English Mission
  • Prof Thomas O’Connor and Dr Caroline Bowden: The Exile Enterprise
  • Claire Marsland and Prof Gerard Kilroy: Martyrdom
  • Rev Nicholas Schofield: The Replanting of the English College at Douai in England
  • Rev David Milburn and Rev Dr Michael Sharratt: Life at Ushaw
  • Prof Stephen Regan and Dr Stefano Cracolici: Cultural Ushaw
  • Dr Jonathan Bush and Dr Sheridan Gilley: The Catholic Revival
  • Dr Clare Watkins: Forming the Church Today

Further details are available on the Ushaw College website where you can also download the draft programme: https://www.dur.ac.uk/theology.religion/ccs/events/douai450/