Folio reveals Shakespeare link to Jesuits
THE DISCOVERY of a previously unknown copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio has reignited speculation that the Bard was a Catholic sympathiser, if not a Catholic himself.
The First Folio was discovered in a library in the small town of Saint-Omer, near Calais, in northern France. A librarian came across it last month when he was preparing an exhibition of links between the area and England. Missing its frontispiece and the usual portrait of Shakespeare, it had mistakenly been classified as an 18th-century edition.
The First Folio, containing the text of nearly all Shakespeare’s plays, was compiled by the playwright’s friends and published seven years after his death. More than a quarter of the 800 copies have survived. This is the 233rd known copy.
During the Elizabethan and Jacobean period many English Catholics escaped to France. A Jesuit college at Saint-Omer gave a Catholic education to English boys. The college was expelled from France in 1762 and moved first to Belgium and then, in 1794, to Stonyhurst in
Rémy Cordonnier, a director at Saint-Omer library, with the newly discovered folio
Lancashire, where it remains today. A spokesman for Stonyhurst College said: “Many precious medieval artefacts, illuminated manuscripts and books were taken with them, and survive at Stonyhurst to this day, but it seems that a slightly scruffy and dog-eared First Folio was overlooked and left behind.”
The First Folio has the name “Nevill” inscribed at the front, suggesting “it was probably originally the property of Fr Edmund Neville, an English Jesuit priest who taught at the College in the 1630s”, the spokesman said. But others have suggested that “Nevill” refers to Edward Scarisbrick, a 17th-century English Jesuit from Lancashire whose nickname was Neville.
Heythrop College in merger talks amid funding crisis
A CATHOLIC university college in London has announced that it will not be admitting any undergraduates in 2015 due to a funding crisis.
Heythrop College, in Kensington, west London, said it was in talks with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, about a merger.
A statement said: “Heythrop College is continuing its discussions with St Mary’s University after both institutions have completed due diligence on the other... The talks will now explore potential models of partnership with a view to reaching a final decision by Easter 2015.”
The statement said that education for current students was “guaranteed” and that recruitment for “postgraduate programmes and for the professional programme for the Catholic priesthood” would continue.
Fr Michael Holman, college principal, said “the more competitive world of higher education” introduced by the government had made the challenge greater for Heythrop. “The gap between income and expenditure has been bridged for many years by the Society of Jesus but their capacity to continue to do this is limited,” he said.
8 CATHOLIC HERALD, DECEMBER 5 2014
The church in Torquay at the centre of the appeal
e ordinariate wants a church
THE PERSONAL Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is appealing for funds to buy a Methodist church in Torquay, Devon.
Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary, told supporters: “If we are to grow and flourish in the way that Pope Benedict intended ... we need to acquire buildings of our own.”
The ordinariate, which is renting the church, has raised £36,000 but needs £150,000.