The Julian Watts-Russell monument, Rome, April 1894

San Tommaso Canterbury, Via di Monserrato, Roma,

I stumbled across this recently, and it is one of those nice curiosities that happen from time to time. The initial interest was sparked by the fact that two of the contributors to the monument are Mgr O’Bryen, and the then Rev. Manuel Bidwell.  Almost thirty years later Manuel, by then the rather grand sounding Bishop of Miletopolis, married the O’Bryen great-grandparents [his first cousin (once removed) and Uncle Henry’s nephew.]

The two churchmen were at either end of their church careers, and at least a generation apart in age.  Henry was fifty nine at the time, having spent almost twenty years as a papal diplomat, and would be dead eighteen months later. Manuel was only twenty two, and had just started studying in Rome at the French Seminary, and the Academy of Noble Ecclesiastics, having already gained a B.Sc. in Paris, and then studied Applied Science, at King’s College, London.  He was ordained in Rome four years later in 1898, where the assistant priest at his first mass was Mgr, and later Cardinal, Merry del Val.

So the initial spark was the curiosity of a great great uncle, and a first cousin three times removed both having been connected together, but the more one looks at the list of donors to the memorial, the grander they become, and the more it shines alight at the still glittering peaks at the top of the church. I’ll come back to that in another post. But for now, a simple explanation of who Julian Watts-Russell was.

He was a Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867. The Papal Zouaves  were an infantry force formed for the defence of the Papal States in 1860. The battle of Mentana was “the last victory of the Church in arms,”  [ a interesting choice of words from the Tablet in 1967]  three years before the capture of Rome by the Italian army ending eleven hundred years of temporal papal rule. Julian Watts-Russell aged seventeen, was the youngest casualty of the battle,  “one who may be called the last of the English martyrs” [ The Tablet 1894]


The monument is now finished, with the  exception of the Mentana medal-cross, and will be placed in the English College Church  during the coming week. By a singular coincidence, Captain Shee has recently come to Rome. He is a hero of Mentana, and received nine wounds in 1870, and is one of those who buried the body of Julian Watts-Russell after his death, and exhumed it when brought to Rome. In connection with present events, it may be well to record the inscription on Julian’s tomb in the Campo Verano :











The above text was found on p.17, 7th April 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

” The Julian Watts-Russell monument is now completed. The expenses have been defrayed  by the contributions of the following persons,  chiefly members of the English-speaking colony in Rome : His Grace the Archbishop of Trebizond [the Hon. and Rt. Rev. Mgr. Stonor,],  Monsignori Merry del Val, Stanley, Giles, and O’Bryen ; the Very Rev. Joseph Bannin, S.M., the Rev. John L. Prior, D.D. (Vice-Rector of the English College), the Rev. Michael Watts-Russell, C.P. ; the Rev. G. Phillips and the Rev. Dr. Preston, of Ushaw College ; the Rev. C. R. Lindsay, the Rev. Manuel Bidwell, the Rev. Students of the English College, Alderman Sir Stuart Knill, Mr. E. Granville Ward, Miss Watts-Russell, Mr. C. W. Worlledge, Dr. J. J. Eyre, Mr. C. Spedding, Mr. C. Astor Bristead, and Mr. W. Cagger.

The Mentana monument, which has been already described, has been erected upon a base of white Carrara marble and surmounted with a Mentana medal-cross in exact imitation of that which it replaces. The whole has been placed in the Church of St. Thomas, in the corner of the Gospel side of the altar, near the memorial slabs of distinguished modern English Catholics buried in the church. The inscription on the base succinctly recalls the history of the monument:


The letters of the original inscription, which were badly damaged, have been restored and made legible even from a distance. The restoration of the monument has cost 300 francs, and it is proposed to apply the remainder of the money contributed to restoring his grave.”

The above text was found on p.17, 12th May 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .



The monument is now finished, with the  exception of the Mentana medal-cross, and will be placed in the English College Church  during the coming week. By a singular coincidence, Captain Shee has recently come to Rome. He is a hero of Mentana, and received nine wounds in 1870, and is one of those who buried the body of Julian Watts-Russell after his death, and exhumed it when brought to Rome. In connection with present events, it may be well to record the inscription on Julian’s tomb in the Campo Verano :











The above text was found on p.17, 7th April 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

The Annual Dinner of the Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. 1904

The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. was the oldest Catholic charity in London  founded in 1761 by Richard Challoner, the Vicar Apostolic of the London District [ the forerunner of the Archbishop of Westminster] between 1758 and 1781. It’s a nice worthy Catholic, and City cause, and it’s nice seeing eight members of the family all there. Having said that, only five were related at the time, another two came from a marriage twenty years later, and the final connection from a marriage fifty two years later.

At least at this one, Lieut.-General Sir William Butler’s speech is rather better than John Roper Parkington’s the following year.


The Annual Dinner in aid of the funds of this excellent charity was held on Monday last, and brought together a large number of the friends and supporters of the society.

Lieut.-General Sir William Butler, K.C.B., presided, and among the company present were the Hon. Charles Russell, Colonel Sir Roper Parkington, Colonel Maguire, Major J. H. White, V.D., Commendatore Hicks, C.C.S.G. ; the Very Revv. Canon Fleming, Canon Keatinge, Canon Murnane, Canon Pycke ; the Very Revv. J. P. Bannin, P.S.M., M. Kelly, O.S.A., D.D., P. J. Murphy, S.M. ; the Revv. Manuel J.Bidwell, D.D., Robert Bracey, 0.P., T. Carey, H. W. Casserly, Alexander Charnley, S.J., W. J. Condon, D. Corkery, G. B. Cox, J. Crowley, E. du Plerny, J. Egan, W. J. Hogan, S. E. Jarvis, I.C., W. Lewis Keatinge, Hugh Kelly, Mark A. Kelly, A. Muller, D.D., J. Musgrave T. F. Norris, J. O’Doherty, M. O’Sullivan, T. J. Ring, P. Riordan, C. A. Shepherd, E. Smith, C. J. Moncrieff Smyth, Francis Stanfield, J. G. Storey, W. 0. Sutcliffe, M.A., J. S. Tasker, E. A. P. Theed, Leo Thomas, S.M., A. E. Whereat, D.D. ; and Messrs. P. M. Albrecht, Frank Beer, Edmund J. Bellord, John G. Bellord, Harry Booth, James Carroll, J. H. Caudell, John Christie, A. K. Connolly, James W. Connolly, John A. Connolly, S. F. Connolly, P. F. Dorte, LL.B., Victor I. Feeny, H. Malins Fisher, A. C. Fowler, W. B. Hallett, Anthony Hasslacher,Charles Hasslacher, Jerome S. Hegarty, J. D. Hodgson, . Skelton Hodgson, S. Taprell Holland (Hon. Treasurer), J. M. Hopewell, John Hurst, John Hussey, R. H. N. Johnson, J. Virtue Kelly, C. Temple Layton, C.C., Charles E. Lewis, Bernard J. McAdam, James P. McAdam (Hon. Secretary), J. M. McGrath, C. A. Mackenzie, Herbert J. T. Measures, E. H. Meyer, A. C. O’Bryen, M.I.E.E., Ernest A. O’Bryen, Wilfrid W. Parker, Louis Perry, Joseph J. Perry, R. J. Phillips, Henry Schiller, J. H. Sherwin, Robert Shield, Eugene Simona, Joseph Simona, Joseph Sperati, James Stone, J. S. R. Towsey, William Towsey, C. H. Walker, Augustine E. White, Basil J. White, C. B. Wildsmith, P. G. Winter, H. Witte, C. J. Woollett, M.D., &c., &c.


The Chairman, in proposing the toast “The Pope and the King,” said : Catholics need no explanation of the toast I have now the high honour of proposing. By coupling together the name of Pope and King we reaffirm and maintain and continue that old tradition of Church and State which has existed in all civilised Christian communities for so many hundreds of years. I give you the healths of his Holiness the Pope and of his Majesty the King, and when we drink this toast with all loyalty and all honour, it would be well to remember the words of the old cavalier. Speaking to his son in the days of the Civil War, he said : “Son, if the crown should come so low that thou seest it hanging upon a bush, still stick to it.” (Loud cheers.)

The Chairman : The next toast I have to propose is that of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family. This toast meets with an enthusiastic greeting wherever it is proposed, but I venture to think there is no place where it can strike a deeper and truer note of harmony and devotion than when it is proposed at the gathering of a Society which has for its object the relief of the poor and the suffering. (Cheers.) The prerogatives of the Crown and the privileges of Parliament have oftentimes been the cause of civil disturbances in this country, but to-day the prerogative of Royalty is to lessen in every possible way the sufferings of the poor and of those who toil and labour for a livelihood. (Hear, hear.) Into the privileges of Parliament I will not enter, but it is our special privilege to-night to recognise in a special manner all that we owe to the Queen, to the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family.


After these two toasts had been acknowledged with musical honours, the Chairman proposed the toast of the evening, ” The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor.” He said : I have now to propose to you a toast which brings very vividly before my mind the fact of my own un-worthiness in being the medium through which this toast is to be offered to the gathering tonight. (No, no.) And when I look back to the names of those who in former years fulfilled this duty, my feelings approach those of absolute dismay, because I find the toast has been submitted by some of the most revered, the most honoured amongst the Catholic body of this country, both clerical and lay. I can only plead for myself and ask you to accept the fact of my unworthiness as an excuse for being unable to do adequate justice to my task. (No, no.) This charity goes back a long way. It suggests many thoughts to even the most superficial amongst us. It has had, I believe, now well-nigh I50 years of existence. (Hear, hear.) The people who founded it were very different to what we are to-day. They had a great deal more of the world’s kicks and a great deal less of the world’s happiness. One hundred and fifty years ago the clouds of the penal laws hung darkly over the country. I will not refer to them further beyond saying that the remembrance of that period should deepen and intensify our desire to do good to the poor, to those whom the abrogation or even the existence of penal laws matters little, and whose social life is set so far below those of happier circumstances. We take a great interest in politics, but how little we would care for the most sensational paragraph in The Daily Mail if we had no breakfast-table to spread it upon, and more, if we had no breakfast to enable us to digest its amazing contents. (Loud laughter.) I see in the newspapers a great deal about free food, the big loaf and the little loaf. I wonder what our poorer brethren think of all these things—the big loaf, the little loaf, and the three acres and a cow. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I can fancy some of these poor people, who have waited many years for the fulfilment of some of these marvellous promises, exclaiming ” If you cannot give us three acres, give us at least the cow.” (Cheers.) If we cannot give them the cow we can at least put some milk into their tea. (Loud and continued cheers.) They have claims upon us,.these old veterans of the poor. We may ask ourselves who are they ? I think I am right in saying they are the survivors, the few survivors, of a great army. (Hear, hear.) They are the scattered survivors of tens of thousands of a great army of workpeople out of whose sweat we are living. (Hear, hear.) These old veterans become eligible as candidates for this Society only when they have reached the ripe old age of 60 years. Think for a moment how many of their comrades must have fallen on that long road which they have travelled for half a century, or even longer. I look at the list of pensioners and I see their ages reach from 60 to 90. Two facts come home to me when I read the report of the Society. The first is the liberal gifts and benefactions of many of the large merchant princes of this city. (Cheers.) The second fact is that so many who respond to the appeal of the Society are from my own country—Ireland. (Loud cheers.) You remember the story of the boat’s-crew cast adrift on the ocean. Believing their last hour had come they thought they should do something appropriate to the occasion. Unfortunately there was no one amongst them who remembered the prayers of their youth, so they decided upon making a collection. (Loud laughter.) I do not for a moment suppose that any of my brethren who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar position would have to resort to making a contribution to the seals and the seagulls, but I do venture to say that the most prayerful man amongst us could not offer any truer praise to his Creator, or do a more charitable act to his fellow creature than to contribute generously and unstintingly to a Society such as that which we have met to honour this evening. (Cheers.) There are few names come down from the remote past more identified with this great city of London than the name of Martin the apostle, the Roman soldier before he was Roman Bishop. The speaker, after relating the story of Martin dividing his coat to protect a poor beggar from the ravages of the weather, and the vision which he afterwards saw, said London was still, outwardly at least, largely Martin. Perhaps some portion of his mantle, said the speaker in conclusion, has descended upon this great city, still keeping alive his name and the spirit of charity to the poor. (Cheers.)  3rd December 1904, Page 23

John Roper Parkington’s obituary – The Times, January,1924


The funeral of Sir John Roper Parkington took place yesterday at Mortlake Cemetery. Before the interment Solemn Requiem Mass was sung at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Edge-hill, Wimbledon, to which the body had been removed from Broadwater Lodge over- night. The celebrant was the Rev. Father Ignatius O’Gorman, assisted by the Rev. Father R. Dalrymple, as deacon, and Mr. Rogers, as sub-deacon. Lady Parkington was unable to be present owing to ill-health, and the chief mourners were Lady Sherston Baker | (daughter), Miss Sherston Baker (grand- daughter), Mrs. Bidwell (daughter), the Misses Bidwell (granddaughters), Mr. Thomas and Mr. Edward Bidwell (grandsons), Mr. and Mrs. Cary-Elwes (son-in-law and daughter), the Misses Cary-Elwes (granddaughters), and Mr. Evelyn, Mr. Eustace, and Mr. Oswald Cary- Elwes (grandsons). Others present included Bishop Bidwell. Miss Faudel-Phillips. Mr. G. H. Barton,, Mr. W. N. Osborne Miss Hardy, Mr. C ffennell. Mr. L. Constable. Father Bampton. S..J.. representatives of City Companies and organizations with which Sir Roper Parkington was connected. and of the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment and the 7th (V.B.) Essex Regiment, of which he had been a maJor and honorary colonel respectively.

The Times, January 18, 1924. p 15

Requiem Mass for Italy September 1918

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


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 .

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

Cardinal Bourne receives his hat – Reception at Archbishop’s House 1912


Archbishop’s House – Main Staircase

On Tuesday the opportunity was afforded to a great crowd of lay Catholics of offering their respectful congratulations and affectionate homage to their Cathedral at Archbishop’s House. The numbers that attended and kissed the ring and spoke a few words of congratulation and good wishes, testified both to the popularity of the Cardinal Archbishop and the delight with which his people have welcomed the honour conferred upon him by the Holy Father.


Previous to the general reception his Eminence received the members of the Catholic Women’s League of the Province of Westminster. Mrs. J. S. Hope, on behalf of the League, presented him with an address, and the design, prepared by Mr. John A. Marshall, the Cathedral’s architect, of the metropolitan processional cross which they purpose presenting to the Cardinal on its completion in May or June next. This beautiful work of art will be in silver, and of Byzantine design, while it will bear the following inscription : “To the glory of God and in homage to Francis Bourne, Cardinal Archbishop, this cross is dedicated and offered by the Catholic Women’s League of the Province of Westminster, 1912.”

Cardinal Bourne
Bishop Manuel Bidwell (3)
Bishop Bidwell

The Cardinal bore traces of fatigue after his recent exertions, and, as he informed his visitors in greeting them, suffered from loss of voice, In attendance were his Gentiluomo, Mr. M. Dunlop, and his private chaplain, Father Lionel Evans. Also present were the Right Rev. the Bishop of Amycla, the Right Rev. the Bishop of Cambysopolis, the Bishops-Auxiliary of the Archdiocese, the Chancellor, the Right Rev. Mgr. Bidwell, the Very Rev. Mgr. Jackman, the Very Rev. Mgr. Carton de Wiart, and Father Henry Daly. The crowds that poured in inconveniently crowded the Reception Room early in the afternoon, and overflowed into the great Throne Room, which before long became also uncomfortably thronged. In this room, laid out, with its great tassels extended, on a table beneath Mr. Ponsonby Staples’ picture of Cardinal Manning’s reception of the laity, was the great Cardinal’s hat, the striking emblem of the Archbishop’s new dignity.

cardinals-hatNo formal address was offered, the presentation of an address and testimonial on the part of the laity, which the Duke of Norfolk is organising, will be made at a later date. Among the well-known people who joined the throng of those anxious to evince their filial devotion were the Duke of Norfolk, Viscountess Clifden, Admiral Lord Walter Kerr, Lady Gifford, Lady Paget, Baroness Gudin, Sir Charles Cuffe, Sir John, Lady, and Miss Knill, Sir William Dunn, Count de Torre Diaz, Comte Jean de Saint-Seine (naval attaché at the French Embassy), the Mayors of Wimbledon and Hammersmith, Captain E. M. Vaughan, Sir Roper Parkington, Agnes Lady Lawson, Sir Westby and Lady Perceval, Lady Boynton and the Misses Boynton, the Hon. Mrs. Erskine, Mrs. Francis Blundell of Crosby and the Misses Blundell, Lady Clifford and Miss Clifford, Lieut.-Col. W. Haskett Smith, Col. C. H. Plowden, Lady Shephard, Sir Charles Paston-Cooper, Mr. and Mrs. Snead-Cox, Mr. and Mrs. Wilfrid Ward, the Earl of Denbigh, Lord Braye, Mr. and Mrs. Witham, Colonel and Mrs. Smith, Mrs. and Miss Mayne, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Walmesley, Mrs. Moore, Hon. Mary Thesiger, Hon. Mrs. Stapleton Bretherton, Lady A’Beckett, Mr. C. Faudel Phillips, Contessa Maffei, Captain R. H. Spearman, C.B.B., Major F. T. Hemelryk, C.B.B., Miss Martindale, Mrs. George Law, and Mrs. Carmody.

The above text was found on p.33, 27th January 1912 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Cathedral Requiems for Benedict XV

Benedict XV

In the Catholic cathedrals throughout the kingdom solemn requiem Masses have been offered for the repose of the soul of Benedict XV. The great gathering at Westminster Cathedral on Friday of last week, when a requiem was sung in the presence of representatives of the Royal Family and members of the diplomatic corps of many nations, was the central official function ; but in the other dioceses also the scenes were no less impressive in the gathering together of prelates and clergy, with civic and other public representatives and overflowing congregations, in homage to the memory and prayer for the soul of the late Sovereign Pontiff.



From an early hour in the morning, Catholics from all parts of London were assembling at Westminster Cathedral, and long before the hour appointed for the requiem all the unreserved seats were occupied and the aisles filled with standing crowds. A large portion of the nave had been reserved, and among those received and conducted to their seats by Mgr. Howlett, the Administrator, were the Lord Chamberlain (the Duke of Atholl), representing the King, and Earl Howe, representing Queen Alexandra ; besides a large number of distinguished Catholics and others. Almost every State in the world sent its representatives, whose brilliant uniforms relieved the prevailing black of the congregation. The catafalque, covered with a pall of black and gold, was surmounted by a facsimile of the papal tiara. westminster-cathedral-1The Mass was sung by Bishop Butt, assisted by Fathers Tibot and Smith as deacon and subdeacon. Father Hall was the assistant priest, and Fathers Dove and Beckett M.C.s. Nearly two hundred prelates and clergy, secular and regular, of Westminster and the neighbouring dioceses were present in the sanctuary, including Bishop Bidwell, Bishop Keatinge; Mgri. Canons Surmont, V.G., Moyes, Brown, and other members of the Cathedral Chapter and clergy ; Mgr. Carton de Wiart, Mgr. Brown, V.G. (Southwark); the Abbots of Farnborough, Fort-Augustus, and Woolhampton ; Priors O’Connor and Higgins, C.R.L. ; Fathers Bodkin (Provincial) and Galton (Superior, Farm Street), S.J., Bede Jarrett (Provincial) and Vincent McNabb, 0.P., Dr. Brendan, O.S.F.C., and many other representatives of religious orders and congregations. The music was Anerio’s Mass for four voices unaccompanied, with Motet by Miller at the offertory, ” Justorum Animae,” and some plainsong settings. The Absolutions were given by the three Bishops present and by Mgr. Surmont and Mgr. Moyes. At the conclusion Dr. Terry played the Dead March in ” Saul.”

Among the diplomatic and other representatives present were the following :—The Spanish Ambassador and Mme. Merry del Val, the German Ambassador and Mme. Sthamer, the French Ambassador and the Countess de St. Aulaire, the Belgian Ambassador and Mlle Moncheur, the Brazilian Ambassador ; Signor Giuliano Cora, Counsellor to the Italian Embassy, and staff ; the Ministers of Austria, the Argentine,Hungary, Liberia, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Peru, Czecho-Slovakia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Chile, and Bolivia ; Mr. Henry Harris, Secretary to the Legation to the Holy See; Sir Philip Sassoon, Bart., representing the Prime Minister; Sir William Tyrrell, repre-senting the Foreign Office, and Miss Tyrrell ; Mr. A. W. Leeper, of the Foreign Office; representatives of the Pontifical Court ; representatives of the Legations of Cuba, Columbia, the Nether-lands, Poland, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Serbia, Portugal, Greece, Peru, Persia, Latvia, and Rumania,  the Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Legation ; Mr. Frederick Pearson, representing the U.S.A. Embassy, and Mrs. Pearson.

Others present included Princess Nina of Russia, the Duchess of Norfolk, Earl and Countess Haig, the Earl of Denbigh (President), Sir Henry Jerningham, Bart. (Vice-President), and Mr. J. S. Franey (Secretary), representing the Catholic Union ; the Dowager Marchioness of Bute, Lord and Lady Rosslyn, Lord. and Lady MacDonnell of Swinford, Adele Countess Cadogan, Lord Lovat, Lord Leigh, Lord Morris, the Right Hon. J. F. Hope, M.P., Viscount and Lady Campden, Sir John Gilbert, K.C.S.G., K.S.S., Mr. Edward Eyre, K.C.S.G., Colonel Sir Arthur Dick, C.B., Sir Roper Parkington, Sir Pierce Lacy, Bart., K.C.S.G., and Lady Lacy, Major-General Sir William Western, K.C.M.G., C.B., Major Wegg-Prosser, and many others.

The above text was found on p.14, 4th February 1922, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .


The death of Bishop Bidwell – 1930

Manuel Bidwell is a first cousin (once removed) of Marie Bidwell, and officiated at her wedding

This is his obituary from The Tablet,  Page 11, 19th July 1930


Bishop Manuel Bidwell (3)
Bishop Manuel Bidwell

By the sudden and much lamented death of Monsignor Manuel Bidwell, C.B.E., D.D., titular Bishop of Miletopolis, the Cardinal Archbishop has lost a valued Auxiliary, and a number of Catholic interests and good works are deprived of a helper whose worth had long been proved in their regard. When Catholics learned last Saturday morning that his lordship had died on the previous day, the news came as a sorrowful surprise, for nothing had previously appeared in print to indicate that the Bishop was not in his customary health. He was, in fact, to have fulfilled a diocesan engagement on Saturday afternoon, by laying the memorial stone of the new school at Burnt Oak, and it was only a day or two beforehand that the rector, Father Armitage, received word that illness would keep his lordship away.

Monsignor Bidwell died at St. Mary’s, Cadogan Street, Chelsea, of which parish he had been in charge since 1913. His career, now to be outlined, will be seen to have embraced many offices, both in the Westminster Archdiocese and—for a time—in Rome. Added to the record of these various posts, and indicative of the Bishop’s constant zeal and activity in the promotion of Catholic interests, were such things as his lordship’s work for the Catholic Truth Society as Chairman of its General Committee since 1922; his services as a member of the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies; his appearance, occasionally, as a speaker at deputations to the Government on social questions; and more recently his care for the promotion of the Catholic Stage Guild, on which body he acted as His Eminence’s representative. His lordship’s work for education is referred to in another column by The Tablet’s Educational Correspondent.

Born in 1872 at Majorca, Dr. Bidwell was the son of the late Charles Toll Bidwell and of Amelia his wife, daughter of Don Jose Manuel Hurtado, first Minister of Colombia in London. In 1890 he took the degree of B.Sc. in Paris, and then studied Applied Science in this country, at King’s College. His studies for the priesthood were made at the French Seminary, and the Academy of Noble Ecclesiastics, in Rome, where he was ordained in 1898. A short period of service followed in Gibraltar ; and later, after some time spent at St. Mary’s, Hampstead, he went to St. Mary’s, Chelsea, in 1902, as assistant priest, remaining there for about two years. The year 1904 saw the beginning of his connection with official diocesan affairs; he was made Diocesan Secretary and Archivist; and in 1907 he became Chancellor.

The next phase of Bishop Bidwell’s activity was in the Eternal City, whither he was called in 1908, to serve for some months in the Papal Secretariate of State, being made a Privy Chamberlain soon afterwards; and he was Auditor of the late Cardinal Vannutelli’s special mission to London on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress in the same year. In 1909 he resumed duty at Westminster as Diocesan Chancellor, and later as Procurator-Fiscal. Two years later found him a Domestic Prelate; in 1917 he was elevated to the Episcopate as Bishop Auxiliary ; and finally he received, in the following year, the C.B.E. honour.


Cardinal Bourne presided on Tuesday at the requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral, celebrated by the Bishop of Cambysopolis, the Right Rev. Monsignor Butt. Other Bishops present included their lordships of Portsmouth and Brentwood; Mgr. Brown, Bishop of Pella ; and Mgr. Keatinge, C.M.G., Bishop of Metellopolis. Monsignor Canon Howlett was assistant priest to the Cardinal, with Mgri. Canons Brown and Evans as deacons. Among many other prelates and clergy attending the requiem were the Right Rev. Abbot White, C.R.L.; Mgr. Canon Surmont, V.G.; Mgr. Provost O’Grady, V.G. (Brentwood); and Mgr. Duchemin (rector of the Beda College). The family mourners included the Misses Bidwell, Mme. Santa Maria, and Mme. d’Abbadie d’Arrast (sisters); Surgeon-Commander L. Bidwell; Mrs. L. A. Bidwell ; Mr. T. L. Bidwell; Mr. E. R. Bidwell; Miss K. Taunton; Miss M. Taunton; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Finch; Mr. and Mrs. O’Leary and Miss O’Leary; and Miss Lucy Mark.

Of the very large lay congregation, many attended in a representative capacity. These included Mr. H. Vischer, representing Lord Passfield, Secretary of State for the Colonies; M. Roger Cambon, representing the French Ambassador; John P. Boland, K.S.G., and Mrs. Boland (Catholic Truth Society); the Earl of Iddesleigh (Catholic Emigration Society); Mr. H. Norman (Catholic Council for International Relations); Major Wegg Prosser, K.S.G. (Society of St. Vincent de Paul); Mrs. Passmore (St. David’s Home); Miss Balfe (Catholic Women’s League); Mr. Ernest Oldmeadow (Editor of The Tablet); Major W. Arkwright (League of Nations Union, Chelsea); the Rev. H. Browne, S.J., and Miss Mary O’Farrell (Catholic Stage Guild); Mrs. Liveing (Public Service Committee, C.W.L.); Mr. C. Cary-Elwes (for the Italian Hospital); Mr. L. J. Magnani (St. Joseph’s Old Boys’ Association); Mrs. Allom (Bureau of Social Service); Miss Forster (University of London Catholic Society); Sir Henry Jerningham and Mr. J. S. Franey (Catholic Union of Great Britain, in the unavoidable absence of the President, Lord FitzAlan); Mr. Eric Hall (Chelsea Housing Committee); the Mayor of Chelsea ; and representatives of Nazareth House, Hammersmith, and other communities.

After the absolution, given by the Cardinal, the body was taken, for interment, to St. Vincent’s, Eastcote.


The following letter from His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop will appear in the August number of the Westminster Cathedral Chronicle:— I desire to offer my sincere thanks to the clergy and laity who have expressed their sympathy in the great grief and loss which have come to the Diocese, and to myself, in the death of his lordship Bishop Bidwell. That sympathy, even where unexpressed, has been universally felt, for the loss is indeed a heavy one. To me personally he stood for more than a quarter of a century in a relation of close, valued, and ever loyal friendship and service. The full worth of his life to the Diocese was known to few beyond myself, because a great deal of his work was of a private character, dealing with matters which attract no public attention. By his knowledge of Spanish, French, and Italian ; by his course of study abroad as well as at home; by his inherited diplomatic gifts ; by his keen, clear, logical intelligence; by his accurate knowledge of Theology and Canon Law ; by his patient understanding of complicated difficulties, he was fitted to render, and actually rendered, conspicuous service to the Church in diocesan, national, and international affairs. In all these ways his assistance was most precious to me in the very varied business that claims the attention of an Archbishop of Westminster.

He was deeply attached to this, his Diocese, in the administrative work of which he had a part, except during a brief interval, for nearly twenty-seven years. Of this attachment I will give two examples which are not generally known. In 1907 the late Cardinal Merry del Val, who had known him intimately from youth, unexpectedly and insistently summoned him to a post in the Secretariate of State in Rome. He obeyed, but his heart remained in London, and at the earliest opportunity he _sought, and ultimately obtained, release from a position which, honourable and responsible in itself, would have led to wider responsibilities and higher honours, in order to return to Westminster.

Again, in 1917, he showed clearly the same clinging to his work among us. During the War he had been my principal assistant in the immense work of safeguarding and making provision for the spiritual needs of the Catholic soldiers engaged in the British Armies in that tragic period. More than six hundred Chaplains had been obtained for this important, strenuous, and exacting service—a number greater, I believe, in proportion to the clergy of the country than in any other army. In 1917 the then Cardinal Secretary of the Consistorial Congregation, for reasons which it is not necessary to discuss today, thought it essential that in future the oversight of the Military Chaplains should be entrusted to a prelate wholly detached from any parish, diocese, or hierarchy. This honourable position was offered to Mgr. Bidwell; but, finding in it a severance from the Diocese of Westminster, he earnestly begged that he might be allowed to decline it. His wish was granted, but his great merits were recognized by the Holy See in the bestowal upon him of the Episcopal character. The War Office, in parting with his assistance, emphatically expressed its estimation of the services which he had rendered, and its deep regret at their involuntary withdrawal, and at the end of the War secured to him the decoration C.B.E.

Since then, for seventeen years, he had shared with me, and with my other devoted Auxiliary Bishop, the Episcopal duties of the Diocese. And now God, in His adorable wisdom, has called him to his rest and reward at the comparatively early age of fifty-eight, leaving to other hands many interests which he was so specially fitted to control. May that most Holy Will be done. Our duty is to thank God for all that He enabled His servant to accomplish; to beg His pardon for the human frailty that may have marred His servant’s endeavours and accomplishments; to ask His blessing and consolation for those who, on account of the ties of blood, are in special grief as this life passes into eternity.

May he rest in peace, and may God reward him abundantly for all that he has done for the Church, for this Diocese, and for its Archbishop.

FRANCIS CARDINAL BOURNE. Archbishop of Westminster. • July 15, 1930.


From the Colonial Office and the Admiralty messages of condolence on the death of Bishop Bidwell have been received as follows :— COLONIAL OFFICE, DOWNING STREET, S.W.1. July 14, 1930. MY DEAR CARDINAL BOURNE,—I write on behalf of Lord Passfield and myself to say that we have learned with great regret of the death of Bishop Bidwell, on the 11th of July. Bishop Bidwell rendered valuable services for many years as a member, first, of the Advisory Committee on Native Education in Tropical Africa, and then of the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies. His death will be a very real loss to the Committee, and will be deeply regretted by all its members. Mr. Hans Vischer, one of the Joint Secretaries of the Advisory Committee, will represent Lord Passfield at the funeral to-morrow.

Yours sincerely, (Signed) T. DRUMMOND SHIELS, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies.

ADMIRALTY, S.W. July 14, 1930. DEAR MONSIGNOR EVANs,—The Board of Admiralty have seen with deep regret—in which I have special personal reasons for sharing—the announcement of the death of Bishop Bidwell, who for so many years represented His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop in matters affecting the ministrations to Roman Catholics in the Royal Navy.

In all his intercourse with the Admiralty, Bishop Bidwell showed himself a most helpful and sensible adviser, and the Board realised that any proposals and suggestions which he made were always well thought out and calculated to promote the best interests of the men. No one, moreover, could be brought into contact with him without being impressed by the sincerity and charm of his personality.

It would be very kind of you if you would bring to the notice of His Eminence the very great respect and regard which the Board of Admiralty entertained for Bishop Bidwell, and the sense of loss which we feel by reason of his death.

Believe me, Yours sincerely,

0. A. R. MURRAY.