New Book – Rookwood Family Papers



Boydell and Brewer publishing house are pleased to announce the release of Francis Young’s new book, Rookwood Family Papers 1606-1761. Members of the CFHS will receive a 25% discount if they order before the end of the year, for the promotion code contact Sylvia Dibbs


A selection of documents left by the Suffolk Catholic family, the Rookwoods, brings them vividly to life.

The Rookwoods of Coldham Hall in the parish of Stanningfield, Suffolk, were Roman Catholic recusants whose notoriety rests on Ambrose Rookwood’s involvement in the Gunpowder Plot. In 1606 the owner of Coldham was hanged, drawn and quartered for treason for supplying the plotters with horses. A century later another Ambrose Rookwood suffered the same fate for conspiring to assassinate William III. Tainted by treason, the Rookwood family nevertheless managed to hold on to their estates in Suffolk and Essex, in spite of their Royalist sympathies in the Civil War, the recklessness of individual family members, and later adherence to the Jacobite cause – and even to thrive. As a result, the family left behind a lasting legacy in the form of the Catholic mission founded by Elizabeth Rookwood and her son in Bury St Edmunds.

The documents in this volume tell a remarkable story of resilience, survival and reinvention. They also testify to the Rookwoods’ profound Catholic faith, their patronage of the Jesuits, and their cultural and literary interests. An extensive introduction sets the Rookwoods in their historical and local context..

Francis Young is the author of, among other titles, The Gages of Hengrave and Suffolk Catholicism, 1640-1767 (2015). He is Head of Sixth Form at a public school in East Anglia.Rookwood

Early Modern Orders & Disorders

There is a call for papers to be presented at the 3rd biannual Early Modern British & Irish Catholicism Conference, a joint event by Notre Dame University, and Durham University.

The conference is being planned for the 28th to 30th June 2017 at the University of Notre Dame’s London Gateway and will consider the relationship between religious orders and the Catholic Church in Britain and Ireland.

The conference organisers are inviting proposals for 20 minute talks on any related theme.

For more information contact James Kelly on



Visit to Worcester

The Midland Catholic History Society and the English Catholic History Society are organising a trip to Worcester to visit St George’s Church & the Worcester Cathedral Library and Archive.

St George’s Church was built by the Jesuits in 1829, and taken over by the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1990.

The cost is £10 and can be booked with the attached form Mid Cath Hist Soc

St George's Worcester

New Book on English Bishops

We have received the following communication from Chris Larsen which we produce in full below, regarding an important new publication:

I am pleased to announce that my book, Catholic Bishops of Great Britain: A Reference to Roman Catholic Bishops from 1850 to 2015, will be published this week by Sacristy Press of Durham. This essential reference catalogues the biographical history and significant events of all Roman Catholic diocesan bishops who have been in office since the Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in England and Wales in 1850, and in Scotland since the Restoration in 1878. The work has developed over a number of years into a comprehensive reference guide to over 300 men, ordained in the episcopal order, who have given their life in service to the Church.

Copies of the book can be ordered direct from Sacristy Press by clicking the link below.

Book Shop

The book includes:Catholic Bishops Book.jpg

– A foreword by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
– Descriptions and a brief history of each diocese, including coats of arms
– Biographical details of all former and current bishops
– Translations of the Letters Apostolic
– Contact details of all serving bishops
– Chronological listing of significant episcopal events
– Indexes of titular sees and cardinal titles
Drawing on a wide variety of sources, this book will appeal to all those interested in the general history and origins of the post-Restoration Roman Catholic dioceses in Great Britain, and be of particular use to diocesan archivists and yearbook editors. It presents the information as completely, concisely and consistently as possible.

As this book records the episcopal milestones of the last two hundred years, it also stands as a respectful testament to those bishops who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, who continue to inspire and encourage their living successors in the Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain today.

“The names of our bishops are to be found in so many local places: in parish histories, on foundation stones, in portraits and in so many memories and retold stories. This book gathers much of that information together, bringing into one volume the briefest details of those many shepherds who have worked among the flock in these lands. Their names continue to live on, and we give thanks to God for the foundations they laid and the work they did: we continue to reap a rich harvest today from their sowing.”
– Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster

You may also find extra information on my Twitter account @bishbrit, which sends daily messages with “bishop trivia” of what happened on this day in the history of the Roman Catholic church in this country.

Many thanks for your interest and support.

Best wishes,
Chris Larsen

Conference on Catholic East Anglia

A one-day conference on the history of Catholicism in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough from the Reformation to the present


11 June 2016
The Narthex, Cathedral of St John the Baptist


10.30 – 11.00     Tea and coffee

11.00 – 11.10      Introduction and welcome

 11.10 – 11.30     Resistance and devotion in Tudor Suffolk: Roger Martin’s prayer book. Dr Francis Young

11.30 – 11.50    A riding mission on the Norfolk-Suffolk border in the eighteenth century. Joy Rowe

11.50 – 12.10    Catholicism in Victorian East Anglia. Prof. John Charmley

12.10 – 12.30    Questions and discussion

12.30 – 13.45      LUNCH

13.45 – 14.05     Nineteenth-century religious life in Norwich: Notre Dame Convent, School and Chapel. Jonathan Hooton

14.05 – 14.15    Questions and discussion

14.15 – 14.40     Book launch for Catholic East Anglia: A History of the Catholic Faith in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

14.40 – 15.15  Round table discussion: the future of East Anglian Catholic history

For more information and to book visit the website Here

Catholic East Anglia is generously supported by the Diocese of East Anglia, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist and the Catholic Record Society

Society Conference Programme

Catholic Family History Society

Conference with AGM 1st October 2016

The Priory Rooms Conference Centre

40 Bull Street

Birmingham B4 6AF


10.00 – 10.30 am             Registration and coffee

11.00 am                 Maggie Loughran, professional genealogy speaker and writer

Wills before 1858, especially those of Roman Catholics.

Bring your own interests in wills for discussion.

12.30pm                  Buffet lunch

2pm                           AGM

2.30pm                    Dr Nick Baker, archivist at Princethorpe College, Warwickshire

Locating the archives of religious orders, followed by your

questions and contributions.

4.00pm                    Tea

  • Full access for people with restricted mobility and also parking
  • Family History Help Desk available: bring your research enquiries
  • Opportunity to meet other members and friends
  • Opportunity to talk to the speakers
  • Material for family or local history
  • Travel, local parking, hotel and local studies information on request
  • For details about the venue see

Tickets: £15, to include lunch and all refreshments, from


A member of the Federation of Family History Societies


Many Catholic archives and records groups are developing online newsletters in the form of blogs or social media accounts. These can be a valuable resource for keeping up to date with new acquisitions and developments.

Going forward, as these become known, we will publish links on here. Here are some to begin with.

Southwark Diocesan Archives Blog

Catholic Archives Society Twitter

Salford Diocesan Archives Facebook




2016 Annual Conference

The Annual Conference of the Catholic Family History society will be held on the 1st October 2016 at the Priory Meeting Rooms & Conference Centre, Birmingham, B4 6AF.


Maggie Loughran – Professional genealogy speaker and writer, who will speak on wills before 1858.

Dr Nick Baker – Archivist at Princethorpe College, who will speak on locating the archives of religious orders.

Further information will follow.


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