John Leeming and Mary Clare Hewitt – February 1898

This wedding has been confusing me for some time. There are some members of the family there. Notably, Uncle Alfred O’Bryen, and, inevitably, the Roper Parkingtons, whose granddaughter marries Alfred’s nephew twenty six years later.  I’m also pretty confident that Miss Bullen is Aunt Florence who marries Uncle Rex who is Alfred’s youngest brother. But I find the connections, or rather the lack of connections baffling at the moment.

The Leeming family are  extremely wealthy Lancashire corn merchants, and are old recusant Catholics, and have married members of the Brettargh, and Whiteside families at various points. The bride’s family appear to be Londoners.  Mary Clare’s mother was a Rees, and she was born in London, as was her father. Her paternal grandfather was from Lancaster. The first few guests mentioned after the bride’s mother, and brothers are likely to be uncles and aunts. Mrs Dolan is the bride’s aunt, and Mr Behan is John Henry Behan, who is her first cousin, and he was born in Dublin. But the wedding seems to be northern boy marries London girl. There’s an eleven year age gap, but that’s fairly common at the time.

We’ll do the wedding next, and speculate at the end.

Our Lady of Victories 1908. The church served as the Pro-Cathedral between 1869 and 1903.

On the 15th inst., at the Pro-Cathedral, Kensington, by the Rev. W. H. Leeming (brother of the bridegroom), assisted by the Rev. Gilbert Dolan, O.S.B. (cousin of the bride), and the Rev. Father Fanning (Administrator, Pro-Cathedral), MR. JOHN LEEMING, second son of the late Richard Leeming, of Greaves House, Lancaster, and Lent-worth Hall, Wyresdale, was married to MARY CLARE, daughter of the late Dr. Hewitt, of Holland-road, Kensington, and of Mrs. Hewitt, of 16, Argyll Mansions. The bride, who was given away by her brother, was attired in a gown of rich white satin trimmed with old Irish Point (the gift of her cousin), and wore a handsome diamond star (the gift of the bridegroom), her bouquet being composed of lilies of the valley. The bridesmaids were Miss Rose Roskell, Miss M. Kendall, Miss Bullen, and Miss F. Leeming, who wore dresses of mauve crepe trimmed with white chiffon and ivory straw hats trimmed with orchids and white plumes ; they carried bouquets of white lilac and mauve orchids which with their bar-brooches of rubies and diamonds were the gift of the bridegroom. The bride was also attended by her little cousin, Miss Elaine Rees, picturesquely attired in white. The best man was Mr. J. W. Leeming. After the nuptial Mass, which was celebrated by the Rev. Gilbert Dolan, O.S.B., Father Leeming announced that he had received from Rome the Holy Father’s blessing for the bride and bride-groom. A reception was held at the Royal Palace Hotel, Kensington, and later in the afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Leeming left for Dover en route for the Riviera. The bride’s travelling dress was of grey cloth trimmed with white satin, and she wore a black hat with pink roses and white bird of paradise.

Royal Palace Hotel, Kensington High Street.

Among the presents were: Mrs. Hewitt, dinner service, dessert service, and old Derby tea service;  Mr. J. C. Hewitt, cheque ; Mr. E. Hewitt, cheque ; Mr. Rees, diamond and pearl watch and bow ; Mrs. Rees, embossed silver sugar bowl and sifter ; Mrs. Dolan, handkerchief of Irish Point ; Mrs. Kelleher, old Irish Point lace, old silver teaspoons, and two large spoons in case ; Mr. Behan, antique silver bowl ; Mr. and Mrs. W. Mahoney, diamond and sapphire bracelet ; Mr. and Mrs. Hasslacher, dessert knives and forks ; Mrs. Charles Hasslacher, silver teaspoons ; Mrs. Schiller, silver brushes ; Mr. A. O’Bryen, silver fish carvers ; Major and Mrs. Roper Parkington, cut glass and silver claret jug ; Mrs. Charles Leeming, silver bacon dish ; Miss Mason, champagne bottle holder ; the Misses Roskell and Kendall, fan and silver buttonhook, etc.; Mr. and Mrs. Brettargh Leeming, silver toilet set in case ; the Misses Leeming, case of silver repousse fruit dishes, spoons, sugar basin and sifter, and grape scissors ; the Rev. W. H. Leeming, silver fish knives and forks ; Mr. J. W. Leeming, pair of Worcester candelabra ; Mr. William Leeming, silver tea and coffee service ; Mrs. Coffin, Crown Derby afternoon tea set, tray, and silver spoons ; Mrs. Robinson, silver paper knife and book- marker ; the Very Rev. Dean Brettargh, silver lemon-squeezer ; Mr. and Miss Hatch, horn and silver candlesticks ; the Very Rev. Dean Billington, Picturesque Mediterranean, three volumes ; Miss Coulston, antique silver sugar-basin and sifter ; Mr. and Mrs. Gibson, pair of bronze and brass candesticks ; Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Knowles, four silver bonbon dishes ; Mr. and Mrs. R. Preston, case of silver salt-cellars ; the Rev. W. Wickwar, cut-glass and silver celery-glass ; the Rev. J. Roche, case of silver spoons ; Mr. J. Pyke, silver and cut-glass lamp ; Mr. T. J. Walmsley, silver and cut-glass lamp ; Mr. J. F. Warrington, engraving after Erskine Nicol; Mr. Charles Broadbent, silver cigarette-case ; Miss C. Hall, two silver napkin rings ; Mr. and Mrs. F. Batt, two silver and cut-glass scent bottles ; indoor and outdoor servants at Greaves House, silver salver ; tenants and workmen at Lentworth Hall Estate, silver cake-basket ; keeper’s wife and servants at Lentworth Hall, silver and ivory cake knife ; tenants, Out-Raw-cliffe Estate, gold-mounted walking-stick.

The above text was found on p.26,19th February 1898, 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 Leeming family are  Lancashire corn merchants, and are old recusant Catholics, and have married members of the Brettargh, and Whiteside families at various points, they are also related to the Gillow family,the famous Lancaster furniture makers who made furniture for Queen Victoria, amongst others. Richard Leeming,  John’s father had bought Greaves House, in Lancaster for £11,000, in March 1874 . It’s not entirely when he acquired Lentworth Hall, and the Out-Rawcliffe Estate.

 

Richard Leeming died in 1888, leaving his properties in the hands of Trustees (his brother William, and three sons Richard, John, and James Whiteside Leeming. Slightly oddly, the trustees didn’t include Father William Leeming), and a great deal of money [almost £ 250,000]. His will allowed the Trustees to sell Greaves House – after the death of his widow Eliza – on the condition that two or more unmarried daughters would be permitted to live there rent-free if they wished. In January 1937 Mary Eliza died leaving her last sister Mary Frances Leeming no longer legally permitted to live in the house. It seems faintly harsh as she had lived in the house from the age of five until she was sixty three, but she was independently wealthy and ended up in Warton near Carnforth. So still close to home.

There are a large number of the extended Leeming family at the wedding, including “the Misses Leeming,” who were the groom’s four unmarried sisters, who were still living in Lancaster. “The Rev. W. H. Leeming, Mr. J. W. Leeming, and Mr. and Mrs. (Richard) Brettargh Leeming,” brothers, and a sister in law, of the groom. A pair of uncles – “Mr. William Leeming, and the Very Rev. Dean Brettargh,”.

There’s a mixture of the great, and the good from Lancashire. Mr Preston was Mayor of Lancaster four times between 1894 and 1911, and was also at Alfred O’Bryen’s wedding in 1901. “Mr. J. Pyke, ” is Joseph Pyke, of Preston, who was another corn merchant, and was also Alfred O’Bryen’s best man.  He went to school with “Mr. T. J. Walmsley, and Mr. J. F. Warrington,” at Ushaw in county Durham. The bride’s brother “Mr. E. Hewitt,” Edmund Hewitt was also at Ushaw. They all overlapped one way or another with Fr. Philip O’Bryen who was also there, and I rather suspect Alfred O’Bryen was at Ushaw, like Philip who was three years younger; and that their two youngest brothers (Ernest, and Rex)  were rather different in attending Stonyhurst. It would help explain why Alfred was a guest at this wedding, and why various of the guests at this wedding were at his two years later.

But I am completely baffled by why “Mr. and Mrs. Hasslacher, and (Mr?) and Mrs. Charles Hasslacher,” and “Major and Mrs. Roper Parkington” [ It was before his knighthood in 1902] were all there. The Hasslachers were all wine shippers at James Hasslacher & co. Charles Hasslacher took on the firm after his father James’ death in 1903. John Roper Parkington was a friend of the Hasslachers, and they were guests at his silver wedding later in 1898. 

It could be a Kensington connection; The Hasslachers were living at 65 Holland Park, and the Hewitts were about three quarters of a mile away in Holland Road.  But I still can’t get the Roper Parkington connection.

The Roper Parkingtons and Chiswick

 

This is a fairly short post. The Roper Parkington Golden Wedding notice in 1923 told us where they were both living.

”  J. Roper-Parkington, J.P., of Melbourne House, Chiswick, to Marie Louise, daughter of the late A. Sims Silvester, Esq., of Stanhope Lodge. Chiswick,” 

As is clear on the map, they were living about  500m apart at either end of Turnham Green Terrace. Our Lady of Grace, where they got married is about the same distance again. Then, another 500m west is Heathfield Terrace where JRP life-long friend  Edward Tancred Agius was living, and where he brought his bride Maria Muscat to in 1873. There is an interesting age gap between the two men. JRP is thirty, and ETA just twenty, but the friendship lasted the rest of their lives, and they died within months of each other in 1924.  Both wives are closer in age, Maria Agius is eighteen, Marie Louise Roper Parkington is twenty four. Both couples have their first child within eighteen months of the Roper Parkington wedding, and have similarly aged children; although the RP’s stop at four unlike ETA and Maria who have a grand total of fifteen children.

Requiem Mass for Italy September 1918

John Roper Parkington, and Uncle Manuel (Bidwell) are both in the congregation.

REQUIEM AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL.

The flag of Italy floating from every high point in London on Wednesday was a sign that the hearts of our people were beating in sympathy and with admiration for Italy, in her work and trials and losses in the war. It was a day marked by great gatherings and demonstrations, the first of which was appropriately a Solemn High Mass of Requiem at Westminster Cathedral for the repose of Italy’s sons who had fallen in the fighting on the Carso, the Asiago Plateau, and the Piave. ” Westminster Cathedral,” says the Times, ” lends itself to thoughts of Italy and of the noble dead. Its grand and simple lines and the bareness of its walls are in stern keeping with the solemnity of the hour, and the unwonted sunlight of the morning ,threw into strong relief the Italian baldachin and marble-lined sanctuary, suggestive of Italy’s own beautiful and finished achievements which stand out in the great fabric of her hopes.” Before the sanctuary a catafalque had been erected, covered by a pall on which lay the Italian colours, and around it stood a guard of ten Royal Carabinieri under the command of an officer.

Outside, in the precincts of the Cathedral, on the facade of which floated the Italian and British flags, stood crowds of people, whilst within a great multitude had gathered long before the hour appointed for the service. The congregation included many distinguished figures. Facing the catafalque on the left hand were seated the Duke of Connaught, representing the King; the Hon. Sir Sidney Greville, on behalf of the Prince of Wales; and Colonel Streatfeild for Queen Alexandra. On the right of the catafalque were the Lord Mayor of London, with his guest, Don Prospero Colonna, Prince of Sonnino, Syndic of Rome; the Sheriffs of the City of London, and the Mayor of Westminster, in their State robes. There was a large number of the Corps Diplomatique present, most of whom wore full uniform, and they were accommodated with seats immediately behind the Royal representatives. Prince Borghese, the Italian Charge d’Affaires, occupied the first seat on the right, and next to him were the French and Japanese Ambassadors. The Government was represented by the Lord Chancellor, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Bonar Law, and many others, and there were also present Mr. Asquith, Lord and Lady Edmund Talbot, the Duchess of Norfolk, Lady Mary Howard, Sir John and Lady Knill, and Sir Roper Parkington. The personnel of the Italian Embassy and the officials of the Italian Red Cross Society superintended the seating of the congregation, and the Royal representatives and other distinguished mourners were received as they arrived by Mgr. Howlett, Administrator of the Cathedral.

Cardinal Bourne

The Cardinal Archbishop presided at the Mass, which was sung by the Bishop of Cambysopolis, and gave the Absolutions at the close. Amongst the clergy present were Bishop Keatinge (chief Catholic Army Chaplain), Bishop Bidwell, and the Canons of the Metropolitan Chapter. The music was rendered by the Royal Carabinieri Band, which before the Mass played selections from Pergolesi’s ” Stabat Mater,” and the National Anthem as the Duke of Connaught, representing the King, passed up the nave to his appointed seat. During the Mass the beautiful Requiem of Francisco Anerio was sung by the choir, under the direction of Dr. Terry. Of this music the Daily Telegraph said on Thursday :—” There is surely little that for transcendent beauty can equal Anerio’s ‘ Mass of Requiem,’ and when this is sung, as it was yesterday, it creates an effect that is overwhelming in its poignancy, and by its simple yet magnificent grandeur, and, as it were, appropriateness. It is truly wonderful, for, even though the years roll on, staling so much that is mundane, this glorious music remains unsullied, untouched, unstaled.” Our contemporary also summed up its description of the scene and the function as being ” all inexpressibly beautiful.”

At the close the National Anthem of Italy was played by the Carabinieri.

The above text was found on p.22, 28th September 1918 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 .

Also death of Fr Raymond Stanfield and the Count of Torre-Diaz in the same issue

Sir John Roper Parkington and Montenegro

For reasons that still remain unclear, John Roper Parkington was the Consul General for Montenegro in the United Kingdom.  Montenegro spent the best part of a decade at war from the First and Second Balkan Wars of 1912-1913,  through World War 1 when it was at war with the Central Powers [Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire], and then finally a civil war about whether to join Serbia. It became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. JRP was on the side of the Montenegrins favouring independence.

Claridge’s – Lobby

He did issue press releases, from time to time, regarding the situation in Montenegro. The following three are from the Tablet. At the time of all three, the Roper Parkingtons were living at Claridge’s.

AUSTRIANS AS BABY-KILLERS.

Sir J. Roper Parkington, Consul General for Montenegro, has received the following official telegram from Cetinje :

The Austrians have again been busy with wanton attacks on undefended towns. About half-past four on Thursday an aeroplane passed over Cattaro, and seven bombs were thrown on the market place at Podgoritza, killing or wounding seventy-two women and children. One poor woman gave birth to a dead child before she could be removed to hospital.

Podgoritza

These repeated attacks on women and children of entirely unfortified towns cause the most intense anger and indignation throughout Montenegro, as no military purpose whatever is served. The ravages of typhus and typhoid are spreading greatly, aggravated by some seventeen thousand refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina recently driven across our borders by the Austrian troops.  [The above text was found on p.15, 17th April 1915 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 .]

 

SERBIAN TERROR IN MONTENEGRO.

Cetinje, Montenegro

Sir Roper Parkington, Consul General for Montenegro, has received the following official communique :— Montenegrin men and women, who refuse to testify their loyalty to the King of Serbia and to admit the justice of the seizure and annexation-of their country, are daily arrested and forced into Serbian prisons, notably at Podgoritza, Cettigne, Nikchitch and Kolachine. General Vechovitch, formerly Montenegrin War Minister, who led the guerilla warfare against Austria, has been arrested and taken before a tribunal at Belgrade accused of high treason. Martial law has been proclaimed throughout the country, and all those who decline to recognize the Serbian authority are condemned to death. The stores of the American mission have been burnt ; and reports from other Red Cross missions confirm the carnage and misery which reign supreme throughout this unfortunate country. It is reported in Montenegro that the British Government has addressed a serious remonstrance to the Serbian authorities. [The above text was found on p.10, 25th September 1920 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 SITUATION IN MONTENEGRO.—Sir Roper Parkington, Consul General for Montenegro, has received the following official communiqué :—The news that the ” Montenegrin Army ” is being armed in Podgoritza, under the command of General Mitar Martinovitch, with the intention of attacking Albania is utterly false, because in Montenegro there is no army except the insurgents who are in the mountains, and who have been struggling against the terroristic Serbian army of occupation.

General Mitar Martinovitch (1870 -1954)

General Mitar Martinovitch is a Montenegrin renegade, in pay of the Serbians. The above news is intentionally circulated by the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs with the intention of impairing the friendship and destroying a proposed agreement between the Montenegrins and Albanians, for which both sides have lately been feeling the necessity. The Serbians want to turn the dissatisfaction which is felt, especially in Rome, against their expedition in Albania, onto the Montenegrin people, whom they wish to represent as the instigators of these attacks. [The above text was found on p.29, 16th October 1920 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 .]

 

Captain Windsor Cary-Elwes. 1839 – 1916

Windsor Cary-Elwes is Uncle Charlie’s father, and Aunt Dede’s [Edythe Roper Parkington] father in law.

CAPTAIN WINDSOR CARY-ELWES.

Brompton Oratory

We regret to record the death on Tuesday in last week of Capt. Windsor Cary-Elwes. Born in 1839 he joined the Scots Guards in 1856 and shortly after was received into the Church. [He was the first of his family to be received into the church in 1857]  He married in 1862, Augusta C. L. Law (who survives him), daughter, of the Hon. William Towry Law, by whom he had a family of four sons and two daughters. Of his sons the eldest, Dom Luke, O.S.B., is a monk at Fort Augustus ; the second, Cuthbert, is a Jesuit now on the mission in British Guiana. The Requiem was celebrated at the Brompton Oratory by the Very Rev. Canon Dudley Cary-Elwes,( a cousin) assisted by the Rev. H. S. Bowden. The interment, at which Father Driscoll, S.J. officiated, assisted by Dom Luke Cary-Elwes, was at Mortlake. Amongst those present were Mrs. Windsor Cary-Elwes,  Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cary-Elwes, Mr. Wilfrid Cary-Elwes (grandson), Mrs. Edward Chisholm (daughter), Miss Edith Elwes (sister), the Misses Law (sisters-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Law, Mr. and the Hon. Mrs. Algernon Law, Major and Mrs. Adrian Law, (all brothers in law, and their wives)  Mr. Ernest Chapman, Theodosia Countess of Cottenham, the Hon. Mrs. A. Fraser, Mrs. Edward Walsh, Mr. Gervase Elwes, Mr. Rudolph Elwes, (cousins)  Sir Roper and Lady Parkington, (Charles Cary-Elwes’ parents in law)  Lieut. General G. Moncrieff, C.B., Col. McGuire and others. Amongst the many flowers sent was a lovely wreath from the officers of the Scots Guards.—R.I.P.

The above text was found on p.28, 22nd April 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 .

Grevel House, Chipping Campden

CAPTAIN W. C. CARY-ELWES.

Captain Windsor Charles Cary-Elwes, late Scots Guards, of  Grevel House, Campden, Glos., who died on April 3, at 3 York Place, W., aged 76 years, has left unsettled estate of the value of £8,287 14s. 11d., the whole of which he leaves in trust for his wife and children.

The above text was found on p.26, 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 .

John Roper Parkington – fund-raising for St. Austin’s, Wimbledon Park.

ST. AUSTIN’S, WIMBLEDON : A GENEROUS OFFER.—A bazaar in aid of St. Austin’s, Wimbledon Park, for the new church, was opened on Wednesday, by Miss Hood, daughter of Sir Joseph Hood, Bart., M.P., at the Welcome Hall, Wimbledon. Colonel Sir Roper Parkington, who, unfortunately, was prevented by illness from attending, requested that his speech should be read, in which he said : ” Since I have taken a house in this parish I have been deeply interested in the building of the new church of St. Austin’s at Wimbledon Park. When I arrived I went to the present temporary church, but I found that there was no proper seating accommodation. I was convinced that a new church was much needed, and I promised Father Rector to give £500 [a present day value of almost £ 150,000] as soon as the new church was begun. At the request of Father O’Gorman, our district priest, I undertook to lay the foundation-stone of St. Austin’s. I was encouraged to do this because my old and much esteemed friend, Father Bernard Vaughan, promised to speak on the occasion. I regret that he has not lived to add this good work to a life of good work for God’s glory. I earnestly appeal to you, the Catholics of Wimbledon, to come generously forward to-day to assist in collecting such a sum of money as may enable Father Rector to start the building of St. Austin’s without delay. I am looking forward to the day when I shall be able to take sittings in the new church for myself and my wife, Lady Parkington, who, as a member of the altar society and sodality, has taken the greatest interest in the parish and in the building of our new church.”

The above text was found on p.30, 16th December 1922 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 Roper Parkingtons: the early years

John Roper Parkington

There has always been a certain amount of mystery about John Roper Parkington. His Catholic Who’s Who entry (1908)  tells us “He was the son of John Weldon Parkington, and received his education at private schools in England and France.”  This has always seemed slightly curious, and a rather convenient way of side-stepping questions about his background. It gives the appearance of some limited pedigree, and a quite clever explanation of why he didn’t attend an English public school whilst still giving the impression of a certain gentility. His entry also says “Sir Roper Parkington was a convert to the Church,”  So depending on when that happened he should really be showing up in the records of either CofE or Catholic public schools of which there were beginning to be quite a few in 1850, except of course he “received his education at private schools in England and France.” 

Marie-Louise Roper Parkington is rather easier to trace back.  This post is really about what we know so far about both their early lives, up to about 1881 where they have been married eight years,  and all four children had been born. The year 1881 was also the year their son Silvester John had died aged four.

The Roper Parkingtons are easy to place in 1881. They clearly appear in the UK census, and are living in Surbiton in a house called South Bank Lodge. Clearly doing well, by this point JRP is calling himself a wine shipper. The household includes two nurses for the three girls, a cook and housemaid, and a gardener and his wife. Oakhill, the part of Surbiton they are in is a leafy, well-to-do area, about 10 miles from central London, but connected to London by the railway which had arrived as early as 1838.

The Gables, Surbiton. This was the house next door to South Bank Lodge

So both of them doing very well, but how did they get there, and what’s true and what needs to be taken with a pinch of salt?  Neither of them are particularly accurate about their ages in the census returns. By 1881, he has knocked two years off his age which he keeps up for the rest of his life. She has knocked four years off hers, she ages somewhat in the 1890’s so she claims to be fifty in the 1901 census rather than fifty two, but the anti-ageing process kicks in again in the 1900’s so she only ages eight years that decade claiming to be fifty eight in 1911.

So what’s actually true?

He consistently states on his census returns that he was born in Ipswich, in Suffolk, and there is a record in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index for the second quarter [April – June] of 1843 of a John Roper Parkington’s birth being registered in Ipswich.

Civil Birth Index 1843

As we’ll see slightly later, this will more likely be the registration district that covers  Mendlesham,in Suffolk, about twenty miles north of Ipswich.

Marie Louise Roper Parkington (nee Silvester) is also consistent in stating she was born in Stone, Staffordshire, and again there is a record in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index for the first quarter of 1849 of a Marie Louise Silvester’s birth being registered in Stone.

Civil Registration Birth Index 1849

So we appear to have both of them outside London. Him in Suffolk, and her in Staffordshire.

Bar Convent, York

She is easy to track from then on. Her father Abraham Sims Silvester is living in Stone, Staffordshire. He lists his occupation as a drapery manufacturer ” employing 60 heads” so running a substantial business. Abraham Silvester is sufficiently prosperous to send all his children to boarding schools with both Edward, and Louis, Marie Louise’s elder brothers going to Stonyhurst [founded in 1593].  She herself was sent to the Bar Convent in York. It claims to be the oldest surviving Roman Catholic convent in England, established in 1686. Their sister Elizabeth seems to have been educated by Benedictine nuns at Oulton Abbey, near Stone. So all of the children at absolutely blue-chip Catholic schools, well possibly not Elizabeth.

By 1861, Abraham Silvester has switched from drapery to shoe manufacture, or possibly  just extended the business to include shoe manufacture as well; and then by 1871, the family has moved to London. On the 1871 census, Abraham Silvester is describing himself as a “member of the Stock Exchange” and entertainingly Great,Great,Great Granny Silvester is described as a “stockbroker’s wife”. She doesn’t bother with a profession when he’s manufacturing things.

So, in 1871, they are in Chiswick, at no.6, The Terrace, Turnham Green. Now Turnham Green Terrace. The house is also called Stanhope Lodge, (no.6, the Terrace). It must have been demolished, because the current no.6 Turnham Green Terrace is currently Charlotte’s Bistro, with flats above in a very typical late Victorian terrace. Certainly not grand enough for Abraham, Mary, and two adult children, and a servant.

Turnham Green was regarded as a separate village from “old” Chiswick which was the area on the river surrounding St Nicholas’s church, and it was rapidly changing from a village outside London into an almost connected suburb as London expanded hugely, and spread outwards. To quote from “www.british-history.ac.uk”:

 

Turnham Green

“Little business was carried on in 1832 at Turnham Green, where many Londoners had country homes or lived in retirement. In 1845 it was thought that the scattered houses around the common, where there were already a few terraces, presented a welcome variety after the unbroken line of building along the road from London, although the common would benefit from inclosure and planting….The opening of railway stations in 1869 confirmed the importance of the area along the high road. From 1871 a furniture depository overlooked Turnham Green common, which by 1876 was surrounded by shops and houses, giving the place a ‘modern look’.”

So the Silvesters are doing well, and living in some style on the outskirts of London, but crucially the railway had arrived two years earlier, allowing train travel into central London.

John Roper Parkington is harder work. Much, much, harder work.

Tracing both of them back from 1881 the next solid detail is actually a newspaper notice from forty two years later in 1923 celebrating their Golden Wedding. “ROPER-PARKINGTON—SILVESTER.—At the Church of Our Lady of Grace, Chiswick, W., on June 21st, 1873, by the Rev. F. Doherty, MR., assisted by the Very Rev. Abbot Burder,   J. Roper-Parkington, J.P., of Melbourne House, Chiswick, to Marie Louise, daughter of the late A. Sims Silvester, Esq., of Stanhope Lodge. Chiswick, and of the Stock Exchange.” It’s a copy of the original marriage notice in the Tablet, and places them both in Chiswick. Her, in Turnham Green Terrace, and him, literally at the end of the road, on the corner of South Parade, and what is now the Avenue, though in 1873 yet to be developed. Melbourne House is still standing, and when last on the market was described as follows:

Melbourne House, Chiswick

“Built in 1794 by John Bedford, Melbourne House is one of the oldest surviving houses in Chiswick. It has been lovingly restored throughout although the original layout has gone relatively unchanged. Beautiful high ceilings, large sash windows, original features and an incredible garden all make this a superb and highly sought after property.    Accommodation:
Reception room, dining room, family room, master bedroom suite with his and hers dressing rooms, en suite bathroom and private dressing room, 5 further bedrooms, 3 further bathrooms, kitchen/breakfast room, cloakroom, utility room, vast garden, off street parking.”

It sold for just over £ 5m. in 2012, though I suspect that the house was either rented, or on a fairly short lease, but still not a bad start to married life. All the children were born in Chiswick, so we can probably assume they were born in Melbourne House, and moved to Surbiton after Aunt Irene was born in June 1878.

So in 1873, John Roper Parkington was well-off, already a magistrate [at least according to the notice from 1923, but with the caveat that his grasp on dates can be hazy].  JR Parkington & Co. has been in business five years, it was established in 1868. At the time of their marriage he is thirty years old, and she is twenty four. They marry at  St Mary’s Church, as it then was. It is now Our Lady of Grace, and St Edward, having been rebuilt in the 1880’s, but still on the same site, – the corner of Duke’s Avenue and Chiswick High Road.  My guess is that this is the point that he converted to Catholicism.

The next record takes us back only another two years to 1871, but it adds to, rather than solves, the mystery. In 1871, the census records a “J R Parkington, 28, Wine Merchant, Ipswich, Suffolk,” living at 18 Clark Street, in Mile End Old Town. He is listed as the stepson of  “M Howell, 60, retired officer Customs [born] Wexford, Ireland” who is the head of the household, and his wife “E H Howell 49, Suffolk”, and a nineteen year old servant Cath Horrigan.

Clark Street is firmly in the East End, running roughly parallel with Whitechapel Road, and Commercial Road. It’s about a mile and a half north of the London Docks, and on the eastern fringes of Whitechapel. It’s not classic Dickensian  “rookeries” i.e absolute slums. It’s more respectable than that. Charles Booth, the English social researcher who mapped poverty levels almost twenty years later described Clark Street as “Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor.”. Poor in the context of 1889 was a family living on 18s. to 21s. Comfortable was as high as Booth’s classification of  “F Higher class labour and the best paid of the artisans. Earnings exceed 30s per week. Foremen are included, city warehousemen of the better class and first hand lightermen; they are usually paid for responsibility and are men of good character and much intelligence.”. That was twenty years later, and the area could , and almost certainly would, have changed, but it is firmly a mixed working class district.

The Howells are unusual,both in occupying the whole house; which appears to be a flat-fronted three storey Victorian terraced house, with probably two rooms on each floor, and a kitchen/scullery extension on the ground floor. They also have a servant, unlike the neighbours who in some cases are servants. In 1871, most all the surrounding houses are shared by a number of families, and the professions range from a schoolmistress, wool machinist, bricklayer, draper’s porter, engine fitter, waistcoat maker to a master bricklayer “employing four men”  to a out of work labourer

The range of neighbours in 1861 is largely similar, including a cooper, a cigar maker. Next door at no. 19 are four separate households with a dock labourer,  the wonderfully named Allen Allen, a tailor from Essex, a lighterman, and a seamstress, whilst next door to them are a dairywoman, and her son, and a silk weaver and a grocer next to them. At no.18 are Michael Howell, 50, Head. Officer in HM Customs, Ireland. Elizabeth Howell, 37, wife, Suffolk, Rendlesham, James(sic)  R Parkington 17 stepson wine merchant clerk Suffolk, Ipswich, and Fanny Roper 35 sister Suffolk ,Mendlesham,”

So we appear to have John Roper Parkington living in the East End for at least a decade between 1861 and 1871 on the fringes of Dockland. The ages are just about right [17 in 1861, and correctly, 28 in 1871]. The profession is right, and by 1871, he had established JR Parkington & Co a couple of years earlier; and the birthplace is right.

This had been a brick wall for ages, and I am very grateful to Peter Agius for some sleuthing where he came up with the next records.

St Anne, Limehouse

On the 31st May 1842, a  John Wilden Parkington and  Elizabeth Rooper”  got married at St Anne, Limehouse. I like the circularity of this because it is where both Roger Purssell (1783-1861) and Charlotte Peachey (1789-1886) were christened, and then later married in 1810. It was also where all their children were christened between 1811 and 1831, starting when Aunt Charlotte was christened, and finishing with Great, Great Grandpa Alfred [Purssell] the youngest  son.

This must almost certainly be JRP’s parents, but it’s just as frustrating. Up until now we had nothing on John Weldon Parkington, apart from the fact he had a son. Now, at least, we know he must have been born before 31st May 1821, because he was “of full age” ,and that his father was called Thomas Parkington [who according to their marriage licence had “died”. No other profession. Her father is John Roper, who is a “victualler” , so running a pub.

The next record that comes up is the census for 1851, where John Roper, aged fifty-five is living in Hunston, Suffolk with his wife Elizabeth [57], twenty-five year old daughter Frances, and a seven year-old grandson J R Parkington. John Roper is described as a “farm bailiff”. All the Ropers were born in Mendlesham, Suffolk, about eleven miles east of Hunston. Ipswich, where JRP was born, or his birth was registered, is about sixteen miles due south. There are too many elements in this for it not to be true. The Roper surname becoming a middle name is standard practice in families, Frances Roper, then aged thirty-five, is living with Michael, and Elizabeth Howell, and her son “James(sic)  R Parkington 17″  in Mile End in 1861. We also have a record of Michael Howell and Elizabeth Ann Parkington marrying in the autumn of 1849 in the Stepney registration district which includes Mile End Old Town.

So, we’ve tracked down JRP, his mother, step-father, maternal grand-parents, aunt, and had a glimpse of his father, and grandfather.

None of this explains how an East End boy gets together with a West End girl within eighteen months of moving to Chiswick, or where his money comes from, or whether he is hiding his background, and if so from whom?

A Dutch ” Kermese,” 1913

To be honest, at times it seems that the Roper Parkingtons  will go to the opening of an envelope… Still, at least they’re doing their bit. It’s not quite a grand as the Marylebone Fair in 1916!!

PALMER’S GREEN CHURCH BUILDING FUND BAZAAR.—One of the most successful bazaars—a Dutch ” Kermese,” to give it its proper title—was held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week at St. John’s Hall, Palmer’s Green, the proceeds being in aid of the building of a new church and presbytery on the site on which now stands the temporary (iron) church, and which will be dedicated to St. Monica.

St Monica’s , Palmers Green

With the approval of the Cardinal, on July 10th, 1910, Father Heditch opened the mission, Mass being said in the house which served as a chapel and presbytery. In a few months, however, a good nucleus of a congregation had been formed, and it was found necessary to take a larger house, an old-fashioned and somewhat dilapidated mansion, but the congregation steadily increasing, an iron church was recently erected on a plot of land by the high road, and on which the new church and presbytery will, it is hoped, within the next two years be completed.

Father Heditch was succeeded nine months ago by the Rev. Patrick Gallagher, who has now taken the first and most important step in connection with the erection of the permanent buildings, which, if one might judge from the plans, will add to the architectural beauties of Palmer’s Green. A noticeable feature in connection with the bazaar was the generous support given to it by ladies and gentlemen who are not of the Catholic faith, and which Father Gallagher says he gladly acknowledges and is extremely grateful for.

St. John’s Hall was crowded on each of the three days. On Thursday the Kermese was opened by Mr. Sheriff Bower, who attended in state, accompanied by Mrs. and Miss Bower.

Sir John Roper Parkington

Colonel Sir Roper Parkington, D.L., J.P. (Consul-General of Montenegro), accompanied by Lady Parkington, opened the Kermese on the second day (Friday), observing that it was with sincere pleasure they came to Palmer’s Green to take part in the very interesting function which had been so successfully organized to help Father Gallagher.

Father Gallagher presiding on Saturday, the final day of the Kermese, said the attendance on the two preceding days exceeded all forecasts. The lady who was to perform the opening ceremony needed no introduction for she was well known to all and was ever identified with laudable and good works. He ventured to say that nowhere had there been in existence such a spirit of friendship and toleration between non-Catholics and Catholics as there was in Palmer’s Green.

The above text was found on p.19,12th April 1913,  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 .

 

Col. Sir John Roper Parkington. 1843 – 1924.

Medal worn by a Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur.

The enigma that is Col. Sir John Roper Parkington. 1843 – 1924. [Hon. Colonel of the 7th V.B. Essex Regiment, late Major in the Royal Surrey Militia, a Lieutenant for the City of London, J.P. and D.L. for the County of London, and Vice-President of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Officier d’Academie Francaise, and of the Royal Orders of Serbia, Montenegro, and the Red Cross of Spain and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.]. This is the first of a series of posts to see if we can uncover who he really was.

John Roper Parkington has been a source of fascination for some time. We have some family stories, though how true they are remains to be seen. But up until now, you run up against a brick wall again and again. One side of the family says the following “ Google him and up comes the Black Hand over Serbia. Why he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Monte Negro is an absolute mystery to me and he was obviously a spy. How much do you know about him? All I know about him from my father is that he was totally bilingual English / French and his Who’s Who entry says educated privately in England and France. He was the absolutely archetype ariviste Victorian, obviously illegitimate, and the first thing we know is that he blew into London as a rich young man of 30 odd. Where he had been previously is unknown. He got the agency for various wine houses particularly champagne Deutz & Gelderman and the Lalliers who owned it was our grandmother’s almost sole topic of conversation, and they were always referred to as cousins. I would not be surprised to find out they actually were.”

Major John Roper Parkington.

“I had no idea that Lady JRP came from Chiswick. I have (I think) his birth certificate somewhere – have you got their marriage certificate? I knew her father was a stockbroker and I wonder where they met and whether he was a rich young man already when they got married. The source of his fortune intrigues me as to me he is the archetypal arriviste Victorian blown in from nowhere. I have thought of writing a book about the multitude of arrivistes like him who made fortunes and then vanished into the dustbin of history.  An idea for you? Without too blatant a name drop, I was chatting to Simon Schama yesterday evening after a talk he had given, and he was saying that the 19th century was becoming a totally neglected period for historians. Perhaps a way of reversing that would be through the study of the achievements of now forgotten plutocratsMy father pointed out the enormous house JRP had lived in in Addison Road before WW1 when he moved into Claridge’s full time as he couldn’t get the staff. He also told me of the agony as a child of having to sit through enormous multi-course Sunday lunches there.”

Claridges lobby

We had a slightly different version of the Claridge’s story; that he and a manservant moved into Claridge’s once he had become a widower. Sadly not true, he died a year before Lady RP. But the wartime stay has some mileage. There are also family stories of them being fleeced by Montenegrin servants at the end, which may or may not be true.

So let’s see what is down on paper. The first is from the Catholic Who’s Who, and the second from his obituary in the Tablet.

Parkington, Colonel Sir John Roper, J.P, and D.L. for the County of London from 1898, and one of H.M.’s Lieutenant’s for the City from 1895; Hon. Colonel of the 4th V.B. Essex Regiment; late Major 3rd Batt. East Surrey Regiment 1891-98 — born 1845, son of John Weldon Parkington; was Ruling Councillor of Primrose League; Member of several City Companies, and of the London Chamber of Commerce; Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute, and of the Royal Geographical Society; is a convert to the Church; knighted 1902; married (1873) Marie, dau. of A. Sims Sylvester. [From THE CATHOLIC WHO’S WHO & YEAR-BOOK 1908 Edited by Sir F.C. BURNAND ,LONDON. BURNS & OATES, ORCHARD STREET, W.]

COL SIR ROPER PARKINGTON, J.P.; D.L..  We regret to record the death of Colonel Sir John Roper Parkington, who passed away on Monday night at his residence, Broadwater Lodge, Wimbledon, in his eighty-first year. He had been ill since the previous Wednesday. Sir Roper Parkington was a convert to the Church, and had been a Catholic for many years. He was the son of John Weldon Parkington, and received his education at private schools in England and France. For a long period he was Consul-General for Montenegro, and he took an active part in aiding the work of the Montenegrin Red Cross. Among many offices and distinctions held by him, he was Hon. Colonel of the 7th V.B. Essex Regiment, late Major in the Royal Surrey Militia, a Lieutenant for the City of London, J.P. and D.L. for the County of London, and Vice-President of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce. Sir Roper was an Officier d’Academie Francaise, and of the Royal Orders of Serbia, Montenegro, and the Red Cross of Spain and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. He founded, in 1896, the Anglo-French Association, l’Entente Cordiale. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Colonial Institute, he was also Past-Master of several City Companies. Sir Roper Parkington was a devoted and generous Catholic, and his death will be widely regretted.

Sacred Heart, Wimbledon

A requiem Mass was celebrated on Thursday at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, in the presence of a large number of mourners, and the interment followed at Mortlake Cemetery.—R.I.P The above text was found on p.19, 19th January 1924 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 .

So far, so good. On paper he appears to be one of the Catholic great and good, but when you start to look things unravel quite fast, or hit that brick wall. He “was educated at private schools in England and France”.  This just doesn’t ring quite true. But we’ll come back to this in another post.

The Delegate-Apostolic to The Philippines – Gathering of Old Augustinians – 1904.

This one doesn’t have too many members of the family in , but it does have Uncle Edmund (Bellord), Agnes Purssell’s husband; and from a completely separate part of the family great,great, grandpa RP.  Commendatore Agius, is Edward Tancred Agius , who was a very old friend of the Roper Parkingtons going right back to both their early married days in Chiswick. Father Ambrose is ET Agius’s younger brother. We’ll let the Tablet take up the story

GATHERING OF OLD AUGUSTINIANS 1904

Hotel Cecil, the Strand 1910

A dinner in honour of the Most Rev. Ambrose Agius, 0.S.B., Archbishop of Palmyra and Delegate-Apostolic to the Philippines, was given at the Hotel Cecil on Wednesday evening by the Society of Old Augustinians. On the previous day his Grace held a reception at the College at Ramsgate. The President of the Society, the Abbot of Ramsgate, was in the chair, and amongst others present were the Archbishop of Westminster, the Bishops of Newport, Clifton, and Southwark, the Mayor of Ramsgate, Count Rivarola, the Marchese Mattei, the Abbot of Downside, Sir Roper Parkington, Dom T. E. Egan, 0.S.B., Rector of St. Augustine’s, Ramsgate, Canon Pycke, Commendatore Agius, Commendatore Eck, Commendatore Hicks, Mr. Leonard, Lindsay, Mr. Hugh Burns, and many others,old students of St. Augustine’s. After dinner the Abbot of Ramsgate read a letter of regret at inability to be present from Mr. Choate, the American Ambassador, and proposed the loyal toast of Pope and King. The company was then photographed by Messrs. Fradelle and Young.

St Augustines, Ramsgate

The Lord Abbot next proposed the health of the Archbishop of Palmyra. His Grace was not only an Archbishop and a Delegate-Apostolic, but an Old Augustinian, and whilst he rejoiced at his being raised to so high a dignity, he could not but regret having to say farewell to an old friend and associate of 30 years. The College might well be proud of one who, after being the first boy of his year, became a worthy priest and a model monk of St. Benedict. He had watched over the College finances and they had been all the better for that, and later as their Procurator in Rome he had always devoted himself to the interests entrusted to his charge, and with tact and obligingness had succeeded. The Pope had been drawn to him by his care of, and labours for, the poor, and now he was going as the representative of his Holiness to a people of faith, under a nation amongst whom liberty was supreme. They wished him long life and success in his new sphere of labour. The Abbot then presented his Grace with a beautiful travelling clock from the members of his old school.

Archbishop Agius. courtesy of the Agius family

The Archbishop of Palmyra, in reply, thanked all for the good will and kindness they had shown to him. He would be glad to have as many to help him in his work as possible. There were 1,400 islands, and 8,000,000 Catholics to look after. Some sees there were vacant, doctors and lawyers would be useful, and so would a financier, for the American Government had been, very generous. Military men he should only want as friends, for he was going out with the old Benedictine motto of “Pax,” and to carry out the Pope’s policy of restoring all things in Christ. The Holy Father had told him to do in the Philippines what he had been doing during recent years in Rome. After some words to show the greatness of heart and loveable disposition of the Pope, his Grace thanked the past students for their hand some present of a clock. Another present he had received was a portable altar. He accepted the omen ; he would “watch and pray.”

The next toast, that of ” the Archbishop of Westminster and Bishops of England” was proposed by Mr. Edmund J. Bellord, who, speaking as the oldest of the old boys of St. Augustine’s, expressed their gratitude at the compliment done their old school by the presence of the Archbishop of Westminster and the other Bishops.

The Archbishop of Westminster [Archbishop, later Cardinal Bourne] , in reply, spoke of the pleasure and gratification he felt at being present on the occasion. He was a debtor in many things to Father Ambrose Agius in Rome, and his gratitude and affection for him were the motives of his hearty wishes of God-speed. He had been successful in Rome, and success would surely attend him in the Philippines. He hoped, too, that his presence there that evening would be taken as what indeed it was—a mark of his affection and esteem for the Abbot of Ramsgate and St. Augustine’s College.

Cardinal Bourne

Mr. Arthur a Beckett proposed the toast of “St. Augustine’s College and Old Augustinians.” The College needed no advertisement, and Sir W. Broadbent had spoken as to the healthiness of the town in which it was situated. Mr. a Beckett then gave interesting reminiscences of the old school plays in which the present Rector had figured so creditably.

Father Egan, the Rector, replied. The school was naturally proud of Archbishop Agius, for in his elevation they recognised the seal of the Pope’s approval of the training given at St. Augustine’s. Mr. Gerald Flanagan also replied on behalf of the Old Augustinians who had entered heartily into the project of doing honour to one who had shed such lustre on their old school.

Father Donald Skrimshire then gave the toast of “The Visitors,” to which the Abbot of Downside, in reply, said that all Benedictines rejoiced with those of Ramsgate in the honour that had been conferred on St. Augustine’s in the person of the Archbishop of Palmyra. Sir Roper Parkington also replied, and congratulated Mr. E. T. Agius on the distinction that had been conferred by the Holy See upon his brother and himself. [ The distinction was that E.T. Agius had been made a papal Chamberlain (Cameriere Segreti di spada e cappa) that year about the same time his brother had been consecrated an Archbishop. It’s a nice touch because Edward Agius and John Roper Parkington had been friends for almost thirty five years.] Commendatore Eck also spoke.

The last toast of the Chairman, “The Abbot of Ramsgate,” was briefly proposed by Mr. E. T. Agius. The Abbot having expressed his thanks, the proceedings terminated.

The above text was found on p., 22nd October 1904 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 .

Previously it had been announced in Rome that Father Ambrose had been appointed the papal Delegate to the Philippines.

THE DELEGATE TO THE PHILIPPINES.

Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte

Father Ambrose Agius, 0.S.B., of the Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance, has been appointed by the Holy Father to succeed Mgr. Guidi as Apostolic Delegate to. the Philippine Islands. Mgr. Guidi succeeded in settling with the United States authorities the vexed question of the Spanish Friars and their possessions in the Archipelago, but many other delicate and intricate matters still await solution. The position of Delegate is, therefore, one of much difficulty. Much speculation has been wasted in the American Press as to the successor of Mgr. Guidi, and Father Ambrose’s name has never once been mentioned in this connection. Yet the selection is an ideal one in every way. The new delegate is a native of Malta: he speaks all the principal European tongues with equal fluency ; but English is really his mother tongue, and during his long residence in Rome he was one of the two English Confessors at the Church of Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte. [ In a nicely convuleted twist, a role that Mgr. Henry O’Bryen had fulfilled in Rome for about fifteen years from 1875; albeit at St. Andrea della Valle by the Piazza di Spagna]  He was also spiritual director of the Roman community of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin, better known as the “English Ladies,” and for some time acted in that capacity to the “Little Company of Mary.” Father Ambrose is a young man—not much over forty one would say—full of zeal and energy, and of exquisite tact.  The above text was found on p., 3rd September 1904 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 .

And then finally, the consecration itself on Sunday, September 18th.

Sant’ Ambrogio della Massima

This morning his Excellency the Most Rev. Ambrose Agius, 0.S.B., Delegate Apostolic to the Philippines, was consecrated Archbishop by Cardinal Merry del Val, Secretary of State to his Holiness, assisted by his Excellency Mgr. Chapelle, Apostolic Delegate to Cuba and Porto Rico and Archbishop of New Orleans, and by his Grace Mgr. Stonor, Archbishop of Trebizond. [ In another nice twist, Cardinal Merry del Val was a student at Ushaw with Father Philip O’Bryen, whilst  Father Philip’s much older half-brother Mgr. Henry O’Bryen was a domestic chaplain in the Vatican at the same time Mgr. Stonor was.]  The solemn ceremony took place in the Church of Sant’ Ambrogio, attached to the monastery in which “Father Ambrose” has spent many fruitful years. Rome is supposed to be empty of English-speaking residents just now, yet the church seemed to be full of them this morning, and whatever space they left was occupied by representatives of the religious orders, with Benedictines naturally in the majority. Mgr. Giles, Bishop-elect of Philadelphia, came from Monte Porzio to be present at the ceremony. A special place in the church was reserved for the Apostolic Delegate’s relatives, many of whom made the journey from England for the occasion.

Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val

Among them were his mother, Mrs. Agius, his sister, Mrs. Edward Vella, his brothers, Mr. Edward Agius and Mr. Edgar Agius, his nieces, Mrs. Salvo Cassar, Miss Agius, Miss C. Agius, and Dr. E. Vella, Captain A. Arrigo, E. Vella, C. Vella, Major Muscat and Mrs. Muscat with their son and daughter, and Father Cartin. Among the Benedictines present were Abbots Krugg, President-General of the Cassinese Congregation, Vagioli, Ciaramella, General of the Vallombrosians, Policari of the Silvestrini, Strozzi of the Canons Regular of the Lateran, besides the Procurators-General of the Capuchins, Carmelites, Dominicans, Servites, Pious Missioners, and Brothers of the Christian schools. The Archbishop will leave for his destination in about a month, the routine work of the Delegation being transacted in the meantime by Father O’Connor, P.S.M., who has acted as secretary to the late Mgr. Guidi for the last four years.

The above text was found on p., 18th September 1904 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 .