Thursday, 27 June 2013

Herefordshire Catholic History Society review of the day

I am very grateful to Brenda Warde for this review of the day's proceedings. Brenda is Secretary of the recently formed Herefordshire Catholic History Society, and Archivist at Belmont Abbey. 

"At the Herefordshire Catholic History Society, of which I am secretary, we have been most fortunate to have had several talks by Hannah Thomas on the progress of her research into the fate of the books from The Jesuit Cwm Library.  Hannah had mentioned that a symposium was in preparation and as soon as I saw the planned programme for the day I jumped at the chance to sign up.   

The day lived up entirely to expectations with the six main speakers complementing each other beautifully through their different aspects on the subject.  The three morning speakers provided a comprehensive overview of the contributions made by the Jesuits to the culture of the seventeenth century, linking my previously rather unconnected bits of knowledge into a more cohesive background.    

I found Dr. McCoog’s explanation as to why the Jesuit Order decided to establish an English mission in the first place, in what were generally unpromising circumstances, a useful and informative setting for Hannah’s analysis of the actual books.  And, of course, the programme provided excellent opportunities, over a leisurely lunchtime and in the afternoon, to inspect the artefacts from Stoneyhurst, having heard a fascinating account of their provenance, and indeed the Cwm books themselves.

Apart from the major contribution of Swansea University to the actual programme, I also have to compliment the staff at the Cathedral for the smooth running of the day.  Then, of course, it was a wonderful rounding –off of the symposium to sit in the Jesuit church of St. Francis Xavier’s to listen to a concert of outstanding quality.  For the future I shall try, as Canon Pullin suggested, to take a more sympathetic view of Bishop Croft’s seizure of the Library in the first place!"

Brenda Warde

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