The Founding of Westminster Cathedral, 1883.

Westminster cathedral

This is included for a few reasons, but two of them are family related. Herman Lescher, the auditor of the Westminster Land Company is a 1st cousin, four times removed, as is his brother Frank. Frank Harwood Lescher’s wife Mary is also a 1st cousin, in her case three times removed. It’s also here because Alfred Purssell was a founder-donor to the cathedral with his name in the loggia, if I remember rightly.

 

The Westminster Land Company and The New Cathedral 1883.

We have already given our readers full information on the formation of the new company, as far as it concerned the site for the new cathedral of this diocese. Some incomplete particulars, however, having found their way into a bi-weekly paper, we feel it necessary to give the facts in greater detail :— It will be remembered that we stated that the law binds the Home Office to re-convey the site of Tothill-fields Prison to the Middlesex magistrates. This formal re-conveyance, we understand, has to be made some time within six months, and will therefore in all probability be effected shortly after Christmas. In the meantime the land was purchased from the magistrates by the Earl of Denbigh, Lord Beaumont, Sir Charles Clifford, and the Count de Torre Diaz. These four gentlemen have entered into contract with the Westminster Land Company, which is now duly formed, registered, and in working order.

The Memorandum of Association, which had to be filed at Somerset House on registration, bears the following signatures :—The Earl of Denbigh, Hon. Henry Wm. Petre, Francis Charles New, Sir Charles Clifford, Count de Torre Diaz, Herman Lescher, Alfred Blount.

The new company has now, by a draft Agreement between them and the four purchasers, taken over from the latter the prison site and the land in possession of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. In this draft Agreement, to the signatures of the four purchasers are added the names of eight of the original founders or guarantors of the deposit, the remaining two being among the purchasers. These signatories are :—

  • The Earl of Denbigh.
  • Lord Beaumont.
  • Sir Charles Clifford.
  • Count de Torre Diaz.
  • Edward Devenish Walshe, Esq.
  • The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.
  • Lord Clifford of Chudleigh.
  • Lord Arundell of Wardour.
  • Thomas Weld Blundell, Esq., of Ince Blundell.
  • Walter Hussey Walsh, Esq.
  • Herman Lescher, Esq.
  • Alfred Blount, Esq.

The Westminster Land Company are, therefore, in equitable possession of the land of which the Middlesex magistrates have the power to dispose, and by their agreement with the purchasers and founders take over all the liabilities. The Company’s agreement with the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, whereby they take over the adjoining portion of land in his possession in exchange for a part of the prison site on the payment of the difference in money value, is in course of preparation for signature. The Company’s registered capital is £130,000, in 15,000 shares of £ 10 each. The Board of Directors and the officers of the Company have been constituted as follows :—

  • Earl of Denbigh.
  • Lord Beaumont.
  • Lord Clifford of Chudleigh.
  • Sir Charles Clifford
  • Directors
  • Hon. Henry William Petre.
  • Edward Frederick Devenish Walshe, Esq.
  • Walter Hussey Walsh, Esq.

Solicitors—Messrs. Blount, Lynch, and Petre, 4, King-street, Cheapside, E.C.

Auditor—Herman Lescher, Esq., T, Princes-street, Bank, E.C.

Surveyors—Messrs. Vigers and Co., 4, Frederick’s-place, Old Jewry, E.C.

Secretary—Francis Charles New, Esq.

Offices—T. Princes-street, Bank, E.C.

The above text was found on p.8, 6th October 1883 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 .