Scraps from a Scrapbook

Recently someone left us a scrapbook. It is an amazing collection of religious trivia, and some of its not so trivial in some respects. Herewith, in keeping with the recent archival theme, some samples (which, when clicked, will show the full size photo).

First is a photograph of Maurus Caruana (†1943), monk of Fort Augustus and Archbishop-Bishop of Malta. I suspect this photo is of him back at Fort Augustus, wearing a very monastic mitre.

Bishop of Malta

Next is a photo of an extremely youthful Abbot of Buckfast. Anscar Vonier was a German, abbot of Buckfast before it was aggregated to the EBC. He is pictured with Bishop Graham of Plymouth, who died in 1912; Vonier became abbot in 1906, so this photo must be from the period 1906-1912, which would mean Vonier is here aged between 31 and 37. He wrote popular works on the Eucharist.


In the previous post there were a number of missals which received their Imprimatur from Josef-Ernst, Cardinal van Roey (†1961) who was Archbishop of Mechlin (Malines). This photo has been signed by him, but seems to date before he received the red hat, so must be from the period 1926-7.

Van Roey

Lastly, a letter. An original letter, from Bede Polding (†1877), a monk of Downside who was the first Archbishop of Sydney from 1842 till his death. He was amazing in his capacity for work and his pastoral care, especially of convicts. He had a vision of Catholics taking a leading role in the life of the nation, and founded my old university college, St John’s at the University of Sydney, to train Catholic men for leadership in society. His dream of restoring the medieval model of an abbey-diocese was pursued with short-lived modest success, but the arrival of Irish secular clergy put an end to his dream; they would not be given orders by either (1) an Englishman or (2) a monk!

This letter is addressed to a “Bernard”, who is most likely to be Dom Bernard Paillet of Downside, who was rector of Cheltenham from where this scrapbook originates. I am not sure if this letter is known to Polding historians. Polding is writing from Fords Hotel, which I am yet to identify.

Polding letter 1.pngPolding letter 2.pngPolding letter 3

If you have any information to add, please do!


4 thoughts on “Scraps from a Scrapbook

    1. Boyish is almost inadequate to describe him!

      By the way, I apologise for the delay in your comments appearing. WP insists on all your being approved individually. Normally after one approval a commenter goes automatically on a whitelist, but for some reason it will not do that for you. I am stumped. At least it doesn’t put you in the Spam folder. #smallmercies


  1. Just discovered your great photo of Maurus Caruana. I am researching his life not only for his role in Maltese politics of the 20s and 30s but also because he was briefly secretary to my g-g-uncle Archbishop Ambrose Agius in Manila 1905-06. We have a photo of him with Ambrose in which he looks very like this , so this may have been taken just before he departed for the Philippines or on his return in 1906. (He returned to Fort Augustus until being made Bishop of Malta in 1915.)

    The mystery is why he is wearing a mitre and holding a crozier because I don’t think he was ever Abbot of Fort Augustus, unless it was for a very short caretaker period? Does the scrapbook give any clues as to the provenance of that photo? Who was the owner of the scrapbook?

    Another mystery you may be able to help me with , Fr Hugh, is … he is listed in the Deceased Clergy of Portsmouth Dicoese and I can’t find anytime when he was in the Diocese. The Diocesan archivist has drawn a blank and, thinking he may have popped down to Douai for a while, I’ve trawled through all the Douai Society magazines and there’s no mention. Any ideas?

    I’m an old boy of Worth Prep and Downside myself but my father’s Arrigo and Cassar cousins were at Douai School in the 1920s. And I am in Havant Parish in Portsmouth Diocese.


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