This contains a brace of great, great uncles and aunts, a recently widowed great, great uncle, and a first cousin twice removed.
DOWNSIDE’S WAR MEMORIAL – THE NAVE OF THE ABBEY CHURCH.
The dignity, the magnificence and the friendliness which mark great functions at Downside were present in more than their usual abundance last Saturday on the occasion of the solemn opening of Downside’s war memorial—the nave of the abbey church. The weather was perfect; the capacity of the place was tested to its utmost by a representative gathering of interested well-wishers; the hospitality of the monks was worthy of their best traditions; and the ceremonies had all the stateliness and symmetry peculiar to Downside. Even in its curtailed stages the abbey church lent itself well to great ceremonies; but on Saturday, and now nearly complete, the spectacle of the crowded building during High Mass was truly magnificent. The fine sanctuary with the two Cardinals and their assistants; the choir filled with the clergy of the diocese, specially invited; the monks and the choir; the body of the building filled with the school and the friends of Downside, made a vivid, wonderful picture. High Mass was sung by His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Gasquet being present in the sanctuary. The separate processions of these dignitaries as they entered and left the abbey church, composed of Bishops and Abbots, the secular and regular clergy of the diocese and the monks of the community, winding their way through the aisles of the old and new building, were most impressive in their mixture of humility and medieval splendour. Cardinal Gasquet’s pro-cession, as a son of the house, was singularly picturesque and touching. The Mass was Christopher Tye’s Euge Bone; the proper of the Mass was plainchant. The deacon of the Mass was Dom Aidan Trafford; the sub-deacon Dom David Knowles; assistant priest, Dom Hugh Connolly. The two assistants at the throne, Dom Ethelbert Horne and Dom Lucius Graham; assistants to Cardinal Gasquet, Dom Odo Langdale, Dom Stephen Rawlinson. The master of ceremonies, Dom Charles Pontifex, assisted by Dom Paul Brookfield.
The Bishop of Clifton preached the sermon, his whole chapter being present capitulariter. A close friend of Downside, he knew many of the boys whose memories were that day being perpetuated; and his words, scholarly, sympathetic and paternal, met with the demands of the moment, for they stimulated as well as they soothed. In illustrating the fight of centuries between ” barbarism and the Creed of Christ “ he showed how Europe in the sixth century, through the savagery of Totila who loved war, and the saintliness of St. Benedict who loved peace, became divided into two main camps, and how ” after years of slumbering hostility the last culminating conflict between the modern representatives of those two camps came in our own day.” The Great War was, he said, ” the crowning struggle between the brood of Totila and, whether they knew it or not, the heirs of the centuries that had been moulded by Rome and St. Benedict . . . And so among the youth and manhood of England the sons of Downside, both as soldiers and chaplains, were well to the front when in Belgium our first small but gallant force bore the brunt of the enemy’s onslaught; and, when recruited and augmented, they entered upon that long weary and wasting war in the trenches. . . . And so they went down, cheerfully and gallantly, one hundred and nine of them, some of them mere boys. . . . In that day Deborah sung and said ‘ 0 ye of Israel that willingly offered your lives todanger, bless the Lord’; but this day (to-day) the cry of the Prophetess is taken up by the Foster-Mother of our own warriors, nor Mother of the fallen only but of them, too, who came out of the fiery ordeal unscathed. . . . She seems to say I sent you forth with mourning and weeping, but the Lord has brought you back to me with joy and gladness for ever. This soaring nave, these graceful aisles . . . will stand unto all time as a memorial to you, not an empty memorial . . . but a living home where Heaven and earth ever meet. Where soul can draw nigh to soul. . . . Your spirits will for ever haunt this holy place; the memory of your deeds, of your simplicity and gallantry, of your long-sustained patience, of your cheery comradeship, of your fidelity to God and country, will be for ever graven on the hearts of children yet to be mine, who will worship where you worshipped, nourishing the same holy thoughts and high inspirations and drinking large draughts out of the heart of Him over whom death bath no longer power.’ ‘ . . . Ending his eloquent and touching discourse with the hope that with religion in a more flourishing state, wars might entirely cease, he said, ” Thoughts and hopes and visions such as these must assuredly rise in the hearts and gather to the eyes of all of us whose lot it is to take some part in the solemn festivities of this memorable and happy day.”
Turning to the two Cardinals, the Bishop concluded his stirring and beautiful sermon with the words : ” My Lord Cardinal of Westminster, none but yourself could have lent so proper and becoming a lustre to this monastic celebration; for on your shoulders lies the Roman pallium, the emblem of jurisdiction worn by Augustine of Canterbury, and Dunstan of Glaston, and Elphege of Bath, and Lanfranc and Anselm of Bec, all of them monks of St. Benedict, whose example in upholding the faith of our forefathers you emulate so nobly. And without your presence, my Lord Cardinal of Santa Maria in Campitelli, Downside’s cup of joy would have been far from full to-day. Just twenty years ago, at the opening of this choir of your beloved Abbey, you told in touching words the story of the makers of Downside. Downside proclaims to-day with gratitude and with love that among the names of her makers, all great men and holy, last but by no means least, your own will be ever included.”
THE NEW NAVE.
” This holy place “ is the new building—seven bays of a spacious nave, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott; and they form a noble building which, bridging the ornate handsome transept, carries on and completes in harmonious fashion the chaste severity of the choir. The total length of the nave is, at present without the future three bays, 112 feet, the portion just added is too feet, and the total length of the church when finished will be 362 feet. The width of the nave, with aisles, fifty-six feet. From floor to groin the height of the nave is seventy feet. The new nave is not only a noble and gracious structure from the artist’s point of view but it is a church inspiringly devotional. One of its many beauties is the fact that its acoustic properties are perfect. Small, light voices in the sanctuary can be heard at the great west door. This surely is the test of good building.
The music, arranged and conducted by Dom Thomas Symons (choirmaster), was admirable. The choir, its sweet precision augmented by the fervour of the whole school, gave a rendering of O felix Roma, which was a stirring addition to the programme. The organ was played with skill by Dom Gregory Murray, the voluntaries being chosen with taste and executed in felicitous style.
SPEECHES AT THE LUNCHEON.
Mass over, the Abbot of Downside, Dom Leander Ramsay, the monks and the school, who together with the guests, clerical and lay, numbered about seven hundred (guest-master Dom Christopher Batley), sat down to luncheon in a marquee erected on the cricket field. A Royal Artillery Band played during the meal and in the afternoon. There were five short speeches : by the Cardinal Archbishop, Cardinal Gasquet, the Bishop of Clifton, the Abbot of Downside, and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott..
Proposing the health of the guests, with which he coupled the names of Their Eminences Cardinals Bourne and Gasquet, the Abbot of Downside spoke of the completion of the nave of the church as not only an addition to that edifice itself but a multi-plication, as the beauties of the earlier parts of the building had now been greatly enhanced. Years ago, said the Abbot, during the agonies of war, that form of a memorial to the old boys of Downside School had been discussed by the school authorities, and the idea met with ready acceptance. Thus their new nave would stand as a memorial of the Old Boys of Downside, and also as an external memorial of the Christian ideals for which they gave their lives, besides being a further work accomplished for the glory of God. He trusted that the boys who in the future came to worship in that portion of the church which was built under such conditions would receive influences which would have an effect upon their whole lives.
Welcoming the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Abbot said : ” We thank him for his presence to-day ; and also for singing solemn Mass. We thank him also for the personal friendship he has always shown to Downside, and also because he comes to us as the representative of the hierarchy of England. By his presence Cardinal Bourne has shown his continued interest in the work which this community is endeavouring to do in the far west and has for some time been trying to accomplish to further the work of the Church of God in this country.” Abbot Ramsay spoke also of the pleasure given them that day by , the presence of Cardinal Gasquet, who really looked on Downside, the speaker believed, as his home. It was to the Cardinal that Downside owed the origin, fifty years ago, of the scheme for building its abbey church ; the inception of that difficult task was due to His Eminence’s initiative and courage. At that time their financial resources were more slender than they had since become ; but Cardinal Gasquet faced the enterprise, and their great abbey church might virtually be looked upon as his memorial. Continuing, the Abbot thanked the Bishop of Clifton for his sermon. He believed, he said, that his lordship looked upon Downside as his second home. Members of that community were always glad when the Bishop came amongst them, and he really was, in a true sense, ” one of the family.” The Bishop of Clifton had identified himself in a wonderful way with the fortunes of their monastic house. Next the Abbot welcomed at that celebration many Old Boys, some of whom he knew had submitted to the same hazards and dangers of war as had the fallen whom they commemorated that day. They had done their duty in like manner ; and had earned the gratitude of their fellow-countrymen. The Abbot next welcomed, the parents of the Old Boys whose memory they commemorated ; and finally extended a welcome to Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of the new nave. He congratulated Sir Gilbert on the manner in which he had accomplished his task. He had added to the work of two previous schemes of construction which already existed, and had succeeded in expressing his own individuality, without destroying the character of the earlier work.
Replying to the toast, Cardinal Bourne spoke of that day as an occasion for devout thankfulness for what had been accomplished. His Eminence complimented Cardinal Gasquet upon the unhesitating boldness with which he had embarked on the scheme for building the abbey church fifty years ago. For the Catholics of this country, he said, no dreams could be too great, no schemes too large, no enterprise too far-reaching, it they were to do the work which God had committed to their hands. They owed a debt of gratitude to all who had been associated with this work. The Cardinal recalled that one of his previous visits to Downside was some thirteen years ago, when the new school buildings were opened. He paid another visit some four years ago, when the relics of their Irish Catholic martyr, Blessed Oliver Plunket, whose sufferings formed a bond of association between the Irish and the English Catholics, were placed in their present shrine. Through the prayers of that martyr, no doubt great spiritual blessings had already rested upon that foundation. Many of their countrymen who did not yet accept the authority of the Holy See must be impressed by the evidence all over the country of what their communion could accomplish in England.
Cardinal Gasquet, who followed, told a story of his Downside days to illustrate his point, subsequently made, that for years it has been a mistake on the part of many Catholics to embark upon building schemes which turned out ultimately to be far too small. When, said His Eminence, he first urged, he desirability of building the church at Downside the President-General was appealed to to stop ” this lunacy.” The Cardinal, in his speech, traced the successive steps in the building of Downside Abbey. First came the transepts and the choir, then the lady chapel and the other beautiful chapels, and finally their nave. All that now remained was to complete two or three bays and the tower. Cardinal Gasquet announced that a holiday would be granted to the boys next term in commemoration of this celebration, and concluded by proposing the health of the architect.
Sir Gilbert Scott briefly replied.
The Bishop of Clifton, in a short and happy speech, expressed his thanks for the many kindly references made to himself by various speakers that day. The Catholics of England, said his lordship, had a very good leader in Cardinal Bourne, who knew the mind of the Church and always let the public have it. They were greatly indebted to the presence of His Eminence.
THE CLOSING CEREMONIES.
On Sunday the Mass, sung by the Bishop of Clifton, was for the Old Gregorians who returned from the war. The great requiem for the fallen, on Monday, a most impressive Mass, was sung by Bishop Keatinge, Army Bishop; all the ministers on the altar on this occasion being ex-chaplains; Cardinal Gasquet present on the throne; the O.T.C. in the body of the church in full uniform. This stately ceremony rivalled the function of Saturday, some thinking the austere beauty of the latter outshone the magnificence of the former; but each in its lofty fashion suited the occasion.
After the Mass Sir Hugh Clifford, G.C.M.G., in the presence of the O.T.C., the monks and friends, unveiled the memorial tablets at the west door, on which are recorded the names of the dead : and with that solemnity the ceremonies at Downside ended.
The prelates and clergy present included : His Eminence Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, His Eminence Cardinal Gasquet, the Bishop of Clifton, the Archbishop of Cardiff the Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Butt, Bishop Vaughan, Bishop Keatinge, the Abbot of Buckfast, the Abbot of Belmont, the titular Abbot of Glastonbury, Mgr. Provost Russell ; Canons Lee, Chard, Davey, Lyons, Sugden, Murphy, O’Riordan ; Mgr Barnes, Mgr. Watson, Mgr. Pyke, Mgr. Coote ; Father Bede Jarrett, Provincial O.P. ; Father Prior of Wincanton, O.D.C. Father Daniel, O.M.C. ; Father Guardian, O.F.M., of Clevedon Father Meyer, S. J. ; Dora Philip Langdon, ; Fathers Bilsborrow, Carroll, Byrne, Jackson, Long, Groomes, Hackett, Grorod, Hudson, Morvin, O’Sullivan, Valluet, Iles, Hayes, Ellis, Cashman, and O’Connell.
The laity present were : Mr. and Mrs. Allan, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Armour, Mrs. Awdry, Mr. and Mrs. Baker, Mr. E. J. Bellord, Mrs. Bethell, Count and Countess Blucher, Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Dyne, Mrs. Byrne, Mr. and Mrs. Bisgood, Mrs. Callender, Mrs. FitzGerald, Mrs. Cawston, Mrs. Cocquerel, Mr. and Mrs. Coke, Mrs. Collingridge, Mrs. and Miss Coppinger, Capt. and Mrs. Crichton-Stuart, Mrs. Cryan, Mrs. and Miss Chichester, Mrs. Maidlow-Davis, Mr. and Mrs. de Cosson, Mr. and Mrs. Devas, Major and Mrs. Dorehill, Mr. Julian Duggan, Col. and Mrs. Ellis, Mrs. W. A. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Finnigan, Mr. Justice and Mrs. Foster, Mrs. and Miss Gleadell, Sir Charles and Lady Gordon-Watson, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Green-Armytage, Mrs. Greenwood, Mrs. Hayward, Mr. and Mrs. Hernu, Mrs. Leary, Mrs. Heydon, Mrs. Sherborne, Mrs. and Miss Inns, Mrs. Keenan, Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs. Kestell, Mrs. Lattey, Mr. and Mrs. A. Le Sueur, Mrs. Lethbridge, Mrs. Lewton-Brain, Mrs. Mackenzie, Mr. and Mrs. McCormack, Mrs. and Miss MacDermot, Col. and Mrs. Macmillan, Mrs. Marshall, Lady Ware, Mr. T. Mathew, Professor and Mrs. Maxwell-Lefroy, Mrs. May, Sir Thomas Molony, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. and Miss Morrison, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. O’Connor, Mr. and Mrs. Oldham, Major and Mrs. Pettit, Mr. and Mrs. Pettit, Mr. and Mrs. Pierson, Mrs. and Miss Poett, Mr. Powys-Lybbe, Mrs. Purdon, Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Radcliffe, Mr. Everard Radcliffe, Sir James and Lady Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, Lady Rose, Sir Mark and Miss Sheldon, Sir Dodington and Lady Sherston-Baker, Col. and Mrs. Sleeman, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Squire, Mr. and Mrs. Steel, Mr. Wolseley, The Misses Stonor, Mr. and Mrs. Stowell, Mr. E. Sumner, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Thompson, Miss E. Eckersley, Mr. and Mrs. Thornely, The Baroness Van der Straten-Waillet, Mrs. Walford, Capt. and Mrs. Wegg-Prosser, Mr. Francis Weld, Dr. Ware, Capt. Joseph Warrington, Lt.-Col. Alfred V. Agius, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Arathoon, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Baker, Mr. G. Bellord, Mr. C. F. Blount, Mr. C. F. Bull, Mr. H. J. Bunbury, Mr. C. F. Bates, Mr. and Mrs. Gerard E. H. Butterfield, Mr. C. J. Byrne, Mr. D. N. Byrne, Mr. F. L. Byrne, Viscount and Viscountess Campden, Mr. H. C. Callaghan, The Hon. Charles Clifford, Mr. A. Cryan, Mr. J. Cuming, Capt. D. W. Daly, Mr. R. D. S. Daly, Mr. Francis W. Denman, Capt. Hubert de Trafford, Mr. Rudolph de Trafford, Mr. P. H. de Bromhead, Mr. A. Divan, Mr. G. D. Dillon, Mr. A. J. Ellison, Mr. R. C. S. Ellison, Mr. H. O. Evennett, Mr. J. Ferrers, Mr. Roger Ford, Mr. T. E. Fox-Hawes, Mr. C. H. French, Mr. B. F. Giles, Mr. F. W. Grey, Capt. Hubert Hanley, Mr. G. E. Hecht, The Hon. Martyn Hemphill, Mr. Matthew Houghton, Capt. Noel Huth, Mr. B. Rawdon Jackson, The Rev. F. R. James, Mr. N. D. Jennings, Lord Killeen, Mr. M. B. Koe, Mr. Francis Langdale, Mr. R. Lamb, Mr. R. F. Lethbridge, Mr. T. M. Ling, Mr. James MacLachlan, Mr. R. Maidlow-Davis, Lt.-Col. and Mrs. Maskell, Mr. M. W. B. May, The Hon. Michael Morris, Mr. J. J. Mostyn, Mr. and Mrs. John Mulhall, Mr. James Mathew, Mr. Robert Mathew, Mr. C. Nichol-son, Mr. L. V. Parker, Mr. J. A. Pearson, Mr. George Rendel, Mr. T. St. A. Ronald, Mr. R. N. Roskell, Mr. Leslie Rowell, Mr. W. B. Rumann, Mr. G. L. Russell, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Ryan, Major T. W. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Stokes, Mr. Martin Saunders, Mr. George Sumner, Mr. R. R. Stokes, The Hon. John Stourton, Mr. Anthony Stokes, Mrs. P. S. Stokes, Sir Richard Throckmorton, Mr. Harold Turnbull, Mr. K. Turnbull, Mr. H. P. Turnbull, Mr. B. R. Turnbull, Mr. T. F. Turner, Mr. S. N. Turner, Baron Guy Van der Straten-Waillet, Mr. William Vowles, Mr. R. R. A. Walker, Mr. M. C. Walter, Mr. R. J. Woodroffe, Mr. A. B. Woods, Mr. and Mrs. Bulfin, Miss Symes, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Baker, Mr. Thomas F. Batt, Mr. and Mrs. Cary-Elwes, Mrs. Chute, Sir Hugh and Lady Clifford, Mr. and Mrs. Kidston, Mr. and Mrs. Segrave Daly, Mr. and Mrs. Ellison, Mr. and Mrs. Eyre, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fisher, Mrs. Fogarty, The Countess of Gainsborough, Mr. George N. Gresley, Mr. Herrenberger, Mrs. Hyatt, Lt.-Col. and Mrs. Mainwaring, Dr. and Mrs. Langran, Mrs. Monk, Mrs. P. M. Payne, Mr. and Mrs. Pontifex, Mr. J. F. Radcliffe, Dr. Ryan, Mr. John Thatcher, Col. and Mrs. Trevor-Cory, Miss Agnes Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Alban Woodroffe, Mr. A. R. T. Woods, Mr. and Mrs. F. G. Sumner, The Rev. Mr. Mostyn and Miss Mostyn, The Rev. Mr. Freeman, Mr. Dean, Sir John O’Connell, M. and Madame Unzue, Commander and Mrs. Hippisley, The Hon. Mrs. Strachey, Mr. and Mrs. J. Sumner Dury, Mr. and Mrs. Barlow, Lady Hoare, Miss Freame, Miss Christmas, Mr., Madame and Miss de Navarro, Col. Huntley G. Spencer, Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher, Mr. and Mrs. Pike, Major and Mrs. Leadbitter, Mrs. Brookfield, Mr. Parnell, Mr. Glyde, Mrs. Scrope, Lady Hylton, Mr. and Mrs. White, Mr. A. K. W. Peacock, Major and Mrs. Stapleton-Bretherton, Mr. and Mrs. King, The Rev. and Mrs. Sparrow, Dr. John Taylor, Miss Denham, Mr. Ward, Dr. Wigmore, Mr. George H. Wheeler, Mr. Alec Waley, Sir George Oatley, Mr. George Gregory, Dr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Alfred Jones, Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Le Sueur, Mr. Wylie, Mr. and Mrs. Lush, Mr. and Mrs. Watts, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Cunningham, Monsieur and Madame Cartel, Mr. and Mrs. Woollen, Mr. and Mrs. Moorat, Mr. and Mrs. Davies, Mr. Leeming, Mrs. Emery, Mr. and Mrs. Brameld, Mr. Goosens, Major Fryer, Mr. and Mrs. Harriss, Dr. and Mrs. Pollard, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, Miss Hickie, Miss Holden, Miss O’Neill, Dr. Scales, Mr. Chambers, and Dr. and Mrs. Mitchell.
The above text was found on p.12,1st August 1925, 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 .