The English Catholic History Association are taking bookings for their visit to coventry-cathedralCoventry on Tuesday 8 September 2015.

The recently refurbished church of the Most Holy Sacrament and St Osburg is well worth a visit.  In addition you will have the pleasure of the famous ‘Three Cathedrals’ tour at Coventry Cathedral.

The programme is as follows:

  • 11 am  Visit to the Catholic church of St Osburg, Barras Lane, Coventry, CV1 4AQ
  • 12.10 pm  Mass at St Osburg’s
  • 12.45 pm  Make own arrangements for lunch – there are facilities in Coventry Cathedral for lunch and tea, for example
  • 2.15 pm  ‘Three Cathedrals’ guided tour at Coventry Cathedral
  • 4 pm  Departure

Cost:  £12 per person which includes admission to Coventry Cathedral and the guided tour. A booking form can be downloaded here.




Thanks to British GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS) for letting me know about this useful web site.

The London FamilySearch Centre’s recently upgraded website now includes a series of interactive maps showing the boundaries of a range of key jurisdictions in England as at 1851. The separate layers available include:

  • Counties
  • Civil registration districts
  • Dioceses
  • Poor Law Unions
  • Hundreds

For each layer, you can zoom in to parish level and confirm the relevant jurisdiction. Readers can choose from three different background options:

  1. Map: A simple map
  2. Satellite: Modern arial view
  3. Ordnance Survey: 19th-century Ordnance Survey map

When you find an locality of interest, you can home in on “street view” or follow up a range of options such as compiling a list of parishes within a particular district. Your search can also move on to discover associated material in the Library catalogue and Research Wiki .

This facility is a major boost for anyone with English ancestry. It is particularly helpful if you do not live in the same area as your forebears and are unfamiliar with the record-keeping organisations that operated there in the past.

The facility is available at http://londonfamilyhistory.org/jurisdiction-maps/

(With thanks to Francis Howcutt and Philippa McCray)



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Two upcoming events that may be of interest.

Saturday August 1st 2015 – Visit to Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 9BZ 

Guided Tour of the College & Library commencing at 2pm. Lunch available from 12.30 pm at the Bayley Arms (optional). Transport from Sale & Preston Station can be arranged. Pre-booking is essential. £6.00 for College Tour.

Saturday September 12th 2015 – Guided Tour of Italian Manchester commencing at 1.30 pm

A sequel to the talk given by Pauline Lloyd in March.

Full information for both events is available from Mrs D. Henaghan dmhenaghan@gmail.com or 0161 483 7372

Benedictine Bath – Monday 6th – Friday 10th July



Downside Monastery Archives and Library along with the Monastic Community would like to invite you all to our week long series of events: ‘Benedictine Bath’

When people think of Bath’s history, they immediately think Roman or Georgian, but the Benedictines have had a presence in Bath for over a thousand years.

As part of our celebration of Bath’s Benedictine history and heritage, there will be:

  • An exhibition in Bath Abbey including pre Reformation books and manuscripts from the Monastery Library
  • Vespers and Benediction in St John the Evangelist Church on Wednesday 8th July at 7 pm including monastic chant by the monastic community. This will be a return to St Johns, built by Downside in 1863, for the monastic community, since the monks left in 1932.
  • Walking tours of the Benedictine sites of Bath leaving Bath Abbey every day at 11 am and 2.30 pm.
  • A conference at the Guildhall featuring papers by Abbot Aidan Bellenger and Canon Anthony Harding.

Please see the attached poster for more details.

Pugin Exhibition, Downside Abbey, Monday 29th June 2015


Details of an event announced by the English Catholic History Association

Downside Abbey Monastery Library and Archive invites you to an exhibition and evening lecture focusing on the conservation of the Downside drawings of A.W.N. Pugin on Monday 29th June in the St Bede Centre.

The Library intern, Anthi Souliti, has spent part of her internship conserving the plans held in the archives and the exhibition is the culmination of her work here.

For more information please click here

Map Images from the National Library of Scotland



A very useful resource from the National Library of Scotland which lets you look at a variety of old maps overlaid onto modern maps and satellite images. So you see what your area of interest looked like at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century overlaid onto a modern street plan.


The link here is centered on Worthing, but you can of course navigate to other places.

Also worth going to this page to see what other mapping resources are available.

Midland Catholic History Society – Upcoming Event


Thursday 2nd July at 11:00

A visit to the Church of SS Peter and Paul, Friars Lane, Lower Brailes, OX15 5HU to include Mass and a talk by Fr Brian Doolan on Bishop William Bishop followed by lunch in the village.

The church is in the upper storey of a medieval malt barn attached to the Old Rectory Farm. It is one of the oldest post-Reformation public Catholic churches in England. More details of the church can be found here.

Booking application and fee of £10, to include a buffet lunch at the George Inn, Brailes, to: Vincent Burke, 16 Brandhall Court, Wolverhampton Road, Oldbury, West Midlands, B68 8DE

Lists Of Papists


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The problems for Roman Catholics started with Henry VIII falling out with the Pope over Henry’s desire to divorce his first wife, Catherine. Henry declared himself Head of the Church in England.

Successive monarchs and their Governments were concerned about a take-over of England by Catholic powers in Europe.Between 1559 and the Emancipation Act of 1829 many Acts of Parliament were passed in order to prevent Roman Catholics practising their Faith and to force them into conforming to the newly established Anglican Church and its rites. They were barred from many occupations and activities.

Those who refused to conform were called recusants. People who followed the Pope in Rome were papists. All those who refused to take the required Oaths to prove their loyalty to the British monarch were described as non-jurors. Not all of these were Roman Catholics. Jacobitism was a political movement working towards restoring the Catholic Stuart King James II of England and VII of Scotland, and his heirs, to the throne, leading to various uprisings and support from Catholic monarchs in Europe. Followers of James were called Jacobites and many of them were also Roman Catholic.

Roman Catholics who came into any of these categories were sought out by the local Anglican Church wardens and constables in order to be punished usually by fines or by double land taxes. To facilitate this, local officials were ordered to make lists of papists/recusants/Jacobites in their area and send such lists to the higher authorities. Such lists may be found in the archives of the Anglican Diocese or local Record Offices. A complete set for 1767 is in the House of Lords Archive. They are not kept in any Catholic Archives, though copies of transcriptions may be.

Two lists have been transcribed by Sylvia Dibbs as part of a long term project undertaken by Brother Rory Higgins of the De La Salle Brothers to build a database of pre-1837 Roman Catholics, mainly in England. The lists have names of adult men and often women. Sometimes children are named or just the number of children in a family. Some lists include occupations. Addresses did not exist then, but locations, necessary for land taxes, areas are often given. As marriages and usually burials had to take place in Anglican Churches this can be a useful pointer to a parish register. The lists are available for download from GENfair by following the links below where more details of the areas covered can be found.

Lists of Papists for Some Counties

List of Papists for the London area

The originals of these lists are in London, England at The National Archives Kew, The London Metropolitan Archives, and The British Library

Bishops’s Registers of London and Midland District Confirmations




A (comparatively) long time ago our society produced printed publications of register transcriptions. Obviously the stocks that we hold go down over the years as items are sold. The source documents for many of these publications are now lost and so it would be very difficult to arrange a reprint, and even if we had the originals printing costs have risen and it might be uneconomic.

I’ve just completed scanning the Bishops’ Registers as they had gone out of print, and these are now available as PDFs on CD-ROM via GENfair here. Apart from keeping the information available there is an additional benefit for our customers in that we can make both publications available on a single disk at the same price that one of the printed books was sold for.


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