Catholic Archives 38

The newest issue of Catholic Archives is now available.

Contents of Catholic Archives 38: 2018

  • Justine Rainbow, The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse: learn how to stop worrying and to love your information
  • Susan Healy, Data protection and religious archives
  • Jim Ranahan, Perspectives on archives for pastoral work
  • Maurice Whitehead, The pastoral functions of archives: some thoughts and reflections from the Archivum Venerabilis Collegii Anglorum de Urbe (AVCAU)
  • Hannah Thomas, Reintroducing the Bar Convent: a new phase in the life of the special collections
  • Carmen Mangion, Re-reading the archives: women in religious archives
  • Marie Rowlands, Independence and obedience: three Catholic women teachers 1820-1850
  • Jim Hughes, Francis Thompson (1859-1907): Part I

Members should now have received their copy of Catholic Archives 38. Non-members can purchase a copy here.

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

New book and invitation to book launch

A new book about François Longuet, the French émigré priest who founded the Catholic parishes in Reading has been published. It is François Longuet and the Reading Mission by Lindsay Mullaney. A book launch is being held at St James’ Church, The Forbury, Reading, on Sunday 12 February 2017 at 3pm to which you are warmly invited.The launch party will consist of a short illustrated talk about François Longuet, followed by afternoon tea and a chance to buy the book, which costs £8.00. Offers of additional cake will be gratefully received by Lindsay. RSVP to Lindsay

Father Longuet may be considered the founder of all the Catholic parishes in Reading. He was a refugee from religious and political persecution in Revolutionary France at the end of the 18th century, a time when local Catholics were still regarded with great suspicion. After coming to Reading in 1802 he founded the first purpose built Catholic chapel in Reading since the Reformation. Sadly, he was murdered by an unknown attacker, exactly 200 years ago and he is now buried at the foot of the altar.

Details of the book, which can be ordered from Scallop Shell Press or through Lindsay Mullaney, can be found below.The postage will be about £1.00.

Catholic Archives 36

The newest issue of Catholic Archives is now available.

Contents of Catholic Archives 36: 2016

  • Clare Walsh: Stop, Look and Listen! Common sense advice for archivists
  • Peter Phillips: The Pastoral Function of Church Archives: A Personal Reflection
  • Rebecca Somerset: Producing a Development Plan for the Archives
  • Alastair Fraser:‘There is some old printed stuff in there as well’: Some thoughts on early printed books for archivists
  • Jim Hughes: The Stella Hymn: Part 1
  • Geoffrey Scott: Douai Library and Archives
  • Anthony Dolan: Tribute to Cardinal Marchisano, Pont. Collegio Filippino, Rome, 21 November 2014