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Purssell viewers – what’s going on

A very brief post.

There suddenly seems to be a lot of interest in the Purssell posts. I don’t know why, but if anyone wants more interactive communication, leave a comment and I’ll email.

Will

 

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Wilfrid Watts-Russell October 1879

 

THE LATE MR. WILFRID WATTS-RUSSELL.—We deeply regret to announce the death, at Clapham, of Wilfrid Watts-Russell, Esq., eldest son of the late Rev. Michael Watts-Russell, and grandson of the late Jesse Watts-Russell, Esq., of Ilam Hall, Staffordshire, and Biggin House, Northamptonshire. Mr. Watts-Russell served with distinction under Colonel Allet, in the Pontifical Zouaves, up to the time of the invasion of Rome by the Piedmontese troups in September, 1870. His younger brother, Julian, also a Pontifical Zouave, it will be remembered, was killed at Mentana. Mr. Watts-Russell’s surviving brother is the Very Rev. F. Michael Watts-Russell, Passionist, Rector of St. Saviour’s Retreat, Broadway. The deceased was thirty-three years of age. A solemn Requiem Mass was sung at the church of Our Lady of Victories, Clapham, on Thursday, by the Very Rev. F. Coffin, Prov. C.SS.R., assisted by the Revv. FF. Watts-Russell, C.P., and Coventry, O.S.M. Amongst the other clergy present in the sanctuary, in addition to the Redemptorist Fathers attached to St. Mary’s, were the Right Rev. Mgr. Goddard, of Chislehurst, the Revv. FF. Gallwey, S.J., and Vincent Grogan, C.P., and the Revv. G. S. Delaney, J. Palmer, and A. J. Hogan. The interment took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Mortlake, where the prayers at the grave were said by the Right Rev. Mgr. Goddard. R.I.P.

The above text was found on p.25, 18th October 1879 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

 

The restoration of Julian Watts-Russell’s grave, June 1894

Campo Verano cemetery, Rome – General view

The restoration of the grave of Julian  Watts-Russell is now completed, after having  cost £17. [A modern day equivalent of £12,000] Among the latest contributors have been Lady Ellenborough and Lady Frances Lindsay. The grave is surrounded by low marble walls, sup-porting six small marble columns connected by a low bar, while the bed within is sown with rose trees, chrysanthemums, junipers, and violets. In the winter season there will be a cross of snowdrops and pansies. The old headstone stands in its place. This is a copy of the declaration put in the casket with the bones :

“The grave of Julian Watts-Russell, Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867, was opened, and his remains examined on May 16, 1894, in the presence of the undersigned. The undersigned hereby declare that owing to the vault in which the coffin was placed having been imperfectly closed in the first instance, the rain was found to have penetrated into it, the consequence of which was that much damage had been done. The outer wooden coffin had gone to pieces, and the zinc coffin holding the remains was much damaged and broken. On the latter being opened it was further discovered that the moisture bad found entrance into it, causing such a condition of things as to necessitate the remains being transferred to this zinc casket. The remains were found to be very far advanced in decomposition, and it was only the bones of the skeleton, themselves much damaged by the wet, that were enclosed in this casket. The casket containing the bones, before being placed in the vault, was blessed by a Capuchin monk of the Church of San Lorenzo. All this was done in the presence of the undersigned, on the date above indicated.”

Then follow the signatures of those who attended the ceremony of exhumation on May 16 of the present year.

The above text was found on p.17, 16th June 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

The exhumation of Julian Watts-Russell 16th May 1894

Julian Watts-Russell was a Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867. “A monument had been erected to Julian Watts-Russell on the site of his death, and his heart had been buried there.” In 1894,  the Rev. Mr. Lindsay who had just arrived in Rome, to study at the Academia Ecclesiastica,  prior to his ordination the following year, ” found the monument in the cellar of the principal café of the little village” of Mentana.  “By his generous care it was brought from Mentana to Rome on Friday, February 23,”..it will be erected in the Church of St. Thomas, adjoining the [English] College.

It wasn’t entirely clear why Father Lindsay was searching for any traces of Julian, but there seemed to be some sort of family connection. It turn out that  Claud Lindsay is a sort of first cousin. He and Julian Watts-Russell share an uncle in Charles Towry-Law, though by different wives. By 16th May 1894, the monument has been found, restored, and installed in the church of St Thomas of Canterbury in Rome.  Someone seems to have visited his grave in the Campo Verano cemetery in Rome and found it rather damaged, so the decision was made to exhume the body, and rebury the remains of “one who may be called the last of the English martyrs “, 

Campo Verano cemetery, Rome – General view

“The exhumation of the body of Julian Watts-Russell took place between 6.15 and 8.15 on the morning of Wednesday, May 16. There were present : Mgr. Merry del Val, Mgr. le Duc de Stacpoole, the Rev. Torquato Armellini, S. J. (Julian’s confessor), the Rev John Prior, D.D. (Vice-Rector of the English College), the Rev Arthur Hinsley, a former student of Ushaw College (the alma-mater of Julian Watts-Russell) the Rev. Claud R. Lindsay (representing Julian’s brother and sister) Dr. Eyre and Count de Raymond (a relative of Julian, and whose mother, the Countess de Raymond was intimate with him and present when the coffin was last opened). The remains were found buried in a concrete vault and in two coffins, the outer one wooden, the inner one of zinc, both of which had been injured by rain &c., owing to the defective manner in which the vault was closed. The zinc coffin was brought to the surface, and the remains transferred to a zinc casket. A crown of roses which had been placed on his head had decayed, except with regard to the general form and primary fibres, but had remained as a crown upon the skull, while the flesh had disappeared beneath it. The head thus resembled that of the relics of so many Roman martyrs to whose life also Julian’s had borne so deep a resemblance. After a portion of the burial service had been performed and the casket blessed by a capuchin friar of San Lorenzo, the remains were re-interred in the vault. The ceremony was very satisfactory to all present, and the remains are now secured from further injury. the work was superintended by Signor Caviliere Tricchi, Official director of the Cemetery, who deserves every praise for his courtesy, and respect to the remains of Julian. The work of the grave will be concluded in twenty days, and it is intended to keep it in a good state of repair henceforward. For this purpose further subscriptions have been contributed by the following persons: Lady Herbert of Lea (who is paying her annual visit to the Eternal City), Mrs George Vaughan, Mr W. Osborne Christmas, Mgr. le Duc de Stacpoole, the Rev Thomas Belton, C.R.L., the Rev G.B.Tatum, M.A., the Rev. Claud R. Lindsay, the Rev. Arthur Hinsley, Mrs Meynell, and an anonymous priest from New York. The total so far collected is about £42, [A modern day equivalent of £30,000]  and it is intended to apply what remains to the present restoration of the grave. The Rev. Mr. Lindsay is anxious that the sum should be increased to sufficiency by the contributions of former Zouaves, and will be thankful for any offerings sent to him at San Silvestro in Capite. Should any money remain over after the restoration of the grave, it will be devoted to keeping it in a permanently good condition. The inscription on the coffin which was soldered on to the side of the new casket, was as follows;

JULIAN WATTS RUSSELL

PONTIFICAL ZOUAVE, 2ND COMP., 1ST BAT.,

DIED AT MENTANA 3RD NOVEMBER, 1867,

AGED 17 YEARS 10 MONTHS.

RESQUIESCAT IN PACE.

MISSING

The above text was found on p.17,26th May 1894,  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Julian Watts-Russell: An Interview with Father Armellini, S.J. March 1894

Julian Watts-Russell was a Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867. “A monument had been erected to Julian Watts-Russell on the site of his death, and his heart had been buried there.” In 1894,  the Rev. Mr. Lindsay who had just arrived in Rome, to study at the Academia Ecclesiastica,  prior to his ordination the following year, ” found the monument in the cellar of the principal café of the little village” of Mentana.  “By his generous care it was brought from Mentana to Rome on Friday, February 23,”..it will be erected in the Church of St. Thomas, adjoining the [English] College.

It’s not entirely clear why Father Lindsay was searching for any traces of Julian, but there seems to be some sort of family connection. By this point, there are rather dubious references being made to him as “one who may be called the last of the English martyrs “, The Tablet 3rd March 1894, and what almost seems to be a campaign to have him regarded as such.  English martyrs were fashionable in Rome at the time, the Pope had beatified John Fisher and Thomas More eight years earlier, along with a further fifty two English martyrs. Another nine were to follow in 1895.

This is the second of two articles published about Julian Watts-Russell on St Patrick’s Day 1894, and is an interview with his spiritual confessor.

Palazzo Borromea, Rome

No sort of difficulty attaches to a visit to Father Armellini, S.J.  [According to a note in the article, he was the postulator of the cause of the English Martyrs.]  He lives in the Via del Seminario at the Palazzo Borromea, become, after many phases of transformation, the Gregorian University, and known, by autonomasy, as the Roman College. It is only a question of finding the room of the particular Father you want among the many who live there, and of making the porter sure of your integrity. Thus the supernumerary porters are dispensed from running on multitudinous errands. The house is the residence of the Roman Provincial [of Jesuits], the teaching fathers forming only a nucleus of the’ community.

Father Armellini was at home, and at once most graciously acceded to my request for an interview, and spontaneously gave me a most interesting account of all that he remembered about Julian Watts-Russell.

“You had more to do with Julian Watts-Russell during his stay in Italy, than any other priest, not excepting even Father Cardella, who, for the rest, may be considered more in the light of a friend than as his spiritual father?”

“Yes,” he said, ” I had to do with Julian and his brothers from the beginning. They were three and they came to live in. the College of Nobles,[ Another note added:  Many English youths of the best families have belonged to this College, and in particular, the memory of the late Bishop of Clifton is still fresh. The Church where they performed their spiritual exercises adjoins the College, and is dedicated to St. Malo the Briton, and is recorded from the days of Cencius Camerarius (A.D. 1192).]   in this very house, where they stayed something more than a year. I was their confessor both them and afterwards; and I retain the most gratifying remembrances of our relations.

” One day I was informed that two of the pious youths had determined to become Zouaves in the Papal Army. The, third, as you all know, became a Passionist Father.”

” But your connection with them did not end here ?”

” No, I continued to see both the young soldiers frequently afterwards. When the time of war came, they were both stationed in the barracks, which were then, as now, in the Castle of St. Angelo. providing against a possible revolt, which might have been feared from the Garibaldian emissaries, but which did not actually take place, General Kanzler had divided the city into five quarters, and forbidden all intercommunication effectually securing his regulation by placing troops on the bridges and other points of vantage.

Santa Maria in Transpontina

This regulation prevented Julian from coming to make his last confession to me, as he had intended to do. He told his brother that he went instead to the neighbouring Carmelite Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. I may add that his brother, being then unwell, was not called into active service for the battle of Mentana. It is, therefore, regrettable, from my point of view, that I had not an opportunity of bidding him a solemn farewell. My personal recollections after this are less directly concerned with Julian. But I may tell you that it was noticed at the time that his death was caused by a shot in the eye, and it was also remembered that an English member of the Garibaldian army—a newspaper correspondent, I believe—was a crack shot and delighted in shooting his victims in the eye. He shot from the window of a house in Mentana, and thus had the advantage of resting his gun upon the window-sill. [An interesting piece of spin, ]  In any case Julian’s suffering must have been of short duration, as he died at the end of the battle and in close proximity to the village.

Castel SantAngelo, Rome

” When the news of the victory was brought me, I received a visit from a pious French gentleman, whose name I do not well remember at this moment, who wished me to break the news of Julian’s death to his brother. I was naturally reluctant, but finally ceded to his wish. We went together to the Castle of St. Angelo. When I broke the sad news, the youth burst into tears. I tried to comfort him, saying : ‘ Do not weep, your brother is most certainly a martyr.’ This he at once recognized and then smiled, and quickly added : ‘ Still, let us pray for his dear soul. We all knelt and said the “De Profundis” for the repose of the youthful martyr.”

“This was the most optimistic and yet the truest view of the case.”

“Yes, and it was the view taken by Julian’s most exemplary Christian father. He was at Marseilles when the news came, and he said, with the spirit of true Christian paternity, that if he had ten sons, he would be willing that they should all be thus gloriously sacrificed in so holy a cause.”

” And your general recollection of Julian ?”

“My general recollection is of a truly candid youth, marvellously energetic for the cause of God and the spiritual life, a mere youth, it is true, but endowed with a certain earnestness, which had for its object his own spiritual advancement, and which seemed to foretoken the great glory of his end. In this way he seemed old beyond his years, and his life seemed to be conformed to the manner of his death.” 

The above text was found on p.19, 17th March 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

FATHER TORQUATO ARMELLINI, S.J.

On September 3, Father Torquato Armellini, S.J., died at the Gregorian University, Rome, aged 78 years. He will be remembered by numerous visitors to Rome as one of the most popular of English .confessors. After the death of Father Boero in 1884, he became Postulator for the Canonisation of the English Martyrs. The energy and perseverance which he displayed in this post helped very materially to the passing of the various decrees, in virtue of which we can new salute so many of our Martyrs as Blessed and Venerable. About three years ago the infirmities of old age compelled him to resign this important office to its present holder, Father Camillo Beccari, S.J. R.I.P.

The above text was found on p.15, 14th September 1901 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Julian Watts-Russell March 1894

Julian Watts-Russell was a Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867. “A monument had been erected to Julian Watts-Russell on the site of his death, and his heart had been buried there.” In 1894,  the Rev. Mr. Lindsay who had just arrived in Rome, to study at the Academia Ecclesiastica,  prior to his ordination the following year, ” found the monument in the cellar of the principal café of the little village” of Mentana.  “By his generous care it was brought from Mentana to Rome on Friday, February 23,”..it will be erected in the Church of St. Thomas, adjoining the [English] College.

It’s not entirely clear why Father Lindsay was searching for any traces of Julian, but there seems to be some sort of family connection. By this point, there are rather dubious references being made to him as “one who may be called the last of the English martyrs “, The Tablet 3rd March 1894, and what almost seems to be a campaign to have him regarded as such.  English martyrs were fashionable in Rome at the time, the Pope had beatified John Fisher and Thomas More eight years earlier, along with a further fifty two English martyrs. Another nine were to follow in 1895.

This is one of two articles published about Julian Watts-Russell on St Patrick’s Day 1894

JULIAN WATTS-RUSSELL. Father Giuseppe Franco, S.J., in a book condemned and prohibited by the Government  (I Crociati di S. Pietro, Rome 1869) gives the following interesting details about Julian Watts-Russell, which I communicate because they are, likely to be inaccessible in England. After the battle of Nerola, a Zouave station was placed by General de Charetto in a little chapel of St. Antony which had been lately ruined by the Garibaldians. At evening the corpse of a pontifical soldier was brought in, and his comrades celebrated his obsequies as best they could in the absence of a priest, and Julian Watts-Russell acted as priest (fece da sacerdote) reciting the De Profundis and other prayers, and then sought a lamp which he placed, according to the pious Catholic custom, at the foot of the corpse. The soldiers then took some needed rest, sleeping upon the ground as best they could. Just then Captain Thomalé entered and said, “Boys, I have not come to give you commands, but I have need of 12 men of goodwill, to maintain a difficult position.” Julian was the first to spring to his feet, and a picket formed from the exhausted soldiers at once marched to take up the desired position (p. 163-4, vol.ii)

HIS MONUMENT IN THE CHURCH OF ST. THOMAS OF CANTERBURY.

In the same work (vol. iii., p. 524)  Father Franco describes the monument which stood at Mentana as having on top a Greek cross of marble in the form of the Mentana medal. I learn from private letters written at the time that this cross was ruined on September 18, 1870, but that the column with the inscription was left standing till November 3, 1870, when it was thrown down. Fortunately the Vandals did not know that his heart was there, so that it was thus saved from profanation. On the same night Signor Pietro Santucci removed the heart previously to its transmission to England and he also placed the column on a part of his own property. It is now proposed to restore the cross in its original form, and place it on the column in the Church of St. Thomas. The sculptor, Ugolini, is engaged, and the monument will be set up in a very short time. 

The above text was found on p.17, 17th March 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

 

Bastille Day Requiem Mass – Westminster Cathedral 1916

the Marchioness Imperiali

The Marchioness Imperiali

frenchflagFRANCE’S DAY : REQUIEM AT THE CATHEDRAL.—France’s Day was celebrated with much rejoicing in London on Friday, and the tricolour was sold in the streets for the benefit of the Red Cross Society of France. For the gallant soldiers of our Ally who have made the supreme sacrifice since the commencement of the war, a Requiem Mass was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral in the presence of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. Representatives of the Allies engaged in the war were present, including M. Paul Cambon, the French Ambassador, and the Embassy Staff, the Italian Ambassador and the Marchioness Imperiali the Russian Ambassador, the Portuguese Minister, and Lieut General Orth, of the Belgian Legation. There were also present the Greek Minister, the Serbian Minister, Mr. and Mrs. Asquith, the Duke of Norfolk, the Mayor of Westminster, the Duke of Somerset, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lord Edmund Talbot, Sir Peter and Lady McBride, Major-General Sir Francis Lloyd, Sir Roper Parkington, and Lord Claud Hamilton. His Majesty the King, was represented by Lord Sandhurst, and Queen Alexandra by Colonel Sir Henry Streatfeild. The Catholic Women’s League was represented by the president, Mrs.  James Hope, and the hon. organizing secretary, Mrs St. George Saunders. The League also placed a wreath of lillies and laurel before the mosaic of Joan of Arc, with the inscription ” Aux Heros de la France morts pour la Patrie, la Gloire et la Victoire, Hommage de la Ligue des Femmes Catholiques d’Angleterre.” mosaic of joan of arcVarious religious, orders were also represented including the Sisters of Charity, many of whom are engaged in the military hospitals in France.

A catafalque draped with the French colours was erected in front of the high altar, and was provided with a guard of honour of Irish Guards. In the gallery at the western end of the Cathedral were the massed bands of the Brigade of Guards and previous to the commencement of the Mass they played Bizet’s overture ” Patrie,” and later Sullivan’s overture    ” In Memoriam.”

 

westminster-cathedral-1High Mass coram Cardinali was celebrated by Bishop Butt, the assistant priest being Father Edwin Burton, Vice-President of ,St. Edmund’s. The absolutions were pronounced by his Eminence, and the military band gave a splendid rendering of the Dead March in         ” Saul,” preceded by a roll of muffled drums. Then came the “Marseillaise” At the conclusion of the Mass the  “Last Post” sounded by the buglers of the Coldstream Guards followed the National Anthem, and a fitting termination to the impressive service was given by the band playing Gounod’s “Marche Solennelle”.

The above text was found on p.27, 22nd July 1916,  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .