Mr. George Edward Sandars, M.B.E. whose marriage to Miss Vera Margaret Molyneux-Seel took place on September 8th at St. Peter’s, Ludlow, is the eldest son of the Rev. George Russell Sandars, Rector of Davenham and Honorary Canon of Chester, and so is a third cousin both of Mr. J. W. E. G. Sandars, of Gate Burton Hall, whose wife is a daughter of Lady Winefride Elwes, and of Mrs. H. A. Burke whose marriage to Mr. Patrick H. A. Burke, Grenadier Guards, took place a couple of months ago. Mr. Sandars, who was at New College shortly after the War, is in the Sudan Political Service and received the M.B.E. in 1933.
The Sandars family was originally seated at Charlwood in Surrey, where the church contains several of their monuments, and the present line descends from an uncle of the famous Dr. Nicholas Sander, or Saunders, the Catholic controversialist and historian, who, on the defection of Queen Elizabeth, resigned his preferments, “ob fidem conservandam,” and went to Rome where he was ordained by Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St. Asaph, the last survivor of the ancient hierarchy. Dr. Sander has been described as “the most noted defender of the Roman Catholic cause in his time,” and his manuscript treatise on the Holy Eucharist so impressed the Prince-Bishop of Ermland that he took him as one of his theologians to the Council of Trent. He afterwards settled in Louvain, where he became Regius Professor of theology and plunged into controversy including “a Confutation of such false Doctrine as M. Jewel hath uttered,” and about the same time he received a commission to publish in England the papal sentence that under no circumstance could attendance at the Anglican service be tolerated. About twelve years later, in 1579, he went to Ireland as Nuncio, when he showed extraordinary activity in the Earl of Desmond ‘s insurrection, a risk of his life which the leading English exiles, who knew his worth, grievously deplored. Their fears were justified, for after about eighteen months he died, probably of want and cold.
Dr. Sander was the author of the first great history of the English Reformation, a work which was vigorously attacked but which later research has largely justified. An instance of this is’ his account of the matrimonial troubles of John Ponet, Bishop of Winchester, wherein the error of his critics was confirmed on the publication in 1847 of the Diary of Henry Machyn in which there appears the entry : “The xxvij day of July (1551) was the nuw bisshope of W . . . was devorsyd from the bucher (butcher’s) wyff with shame enog (h).” Bishop Ponet, incidentally, appears to have had interesting ideas on the royal supremacy, for he seems to have been responsible, at any rate in part, for the theory “that to give license to sin was sin ; nevertheless, they thought the king might suffer or wink at it for a time”—” it ” being the question of the Princess Mary attending Mass.
Miss Vera Margaret Molyneux-Seel is a daughter of Major Edward Honore Molyneux-Seel, D.S.O.’ the second son of the late Edmund Richard Thomas Molyneux-Seel of Huyton Hey, a Chamberlain to Pope Pius IX, who married a daughter of the Duque de Losada y Lousada. Through his mother, Agnes, daughter of Sir Richard Bedingfeld, fifth Baronet, of Oxburgh, Mr. E. R. T. Molyneux-Seel was descended from three of the beatified English Martyrs, BB. Margaret of Salisbury and Philip and William Howard. His father, Thomas Molyneux-Seel, J.P. & D.L., of Huyton Hey, who built the church of St. Agnes at Huyton, took the name and arms of Molyneux-Seel in 1815, on inheriting the estates of his maternal ancestors. The Huyton property had been inherited by a younger branch of Molyneux of Sefton from the Harringtons, an ancient Catholic family descended from a brother of the Sir William Harrington who fought at Agincourt, and these predecessors are also commemorated in the names of Major Molyneux-Seel’s brother, the late Edmund Harrington Molyneux-Seel of Huyton, the father of Mrs. Carr-Saunders, and of his uncle, Henry Harrington Molyneux-Seel, Richmond Herald, who died in 1882.
The letters P. & 0. must be familiar to many who cannot give off-hand the full name of the great Company which they represent, and the name Brodie Willcox, which has once more come to the fore owing to the celebration of the P. & 0. centenary, probably means little except to Catholics and to those interested in the history of that famous shipping company. To Catholics, certainly, the name has an interest beyond its connection with shipping, for Brodie McGhie Willcox, M.P., was the maternal grandfather of that great Catholic of the last generation, Brodie Manuel de Zulueta y Willcox, third Conde de Torre Diaz. The Conde de Torre Diaz— the title dates from 1846, when it was granted to his grandfather by Isabella II of Spain—was a ” gentilhombre de Camera” to the King of Spain and held the Grand Crosses of Isabel la Catolica and San Gregorio, and in England, where he was also closely associated with the business interests of his family, he was Chairman of the Catholic Seamen’s Home and Institute, the forerunner of the present Chaplaincy to the Port of London, and Vice-President of the Superior Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The third Conde de Torre Diaz ‘s father, whom he succeeded in 1882, was Chamberlain to the King of Spain and a member of the Spanish Senate until the Revolution of 1868, and two of his nephews have suffered similarly from a later revolution, for Don Pedro de Zulueta was an attaché at the Spanish Embassy in London until the proclamation of the Republic caused him to resign, and the Marques de Merry del Val, the eldest son of his sister Josephine, was Spanish Ambassador in London from 1913 until the Revolution.