Monastery Archive Discoveries – Discovery Week 1
Its been a great week in the archives, with some amazing discoveries being made! As our volunteers have worked through our photographic archive, many items of interest have come to light.
- A copy of The Times dated 7th November 1805, which describes the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. It was also interesting to note the royal gossip among the pages, ‘His Majesty wears a green shade constantly over his eyes, after candle light; and, we are sorry to say, he cannot distinguish any person, except he be very near, and with the assistance of a glass.’ This is also a suitable find as it mentions HMS Bellerophon, present at the battle. Some of her timbers form the shell of the organ here in the Abbey Church.
- The Procession Order for the Coronation of Queen Victoria, June 1838. At almost 3 feet long, it is an impressive example of the pomp and ceremony of a royal coronation. The list of dignitaries attending included Kings and Queens from across Europe.
- A picture of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Nowell Salmon, grandfather of Downside monk Dom Martin Salmon. Sir Nowell Salmon was a recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny in 1857. The portrait shows him with his full array of awards and another picture shows him reviewing the fleet at Spithead in 1897. Sir Nowell was also a Naval Aide de Camp to Queen Victoria.
- The camera of Dom Luke Suart, who was a keen photographer. The camera is in excellent condition, dating from, we believe, the mid 1950’s. It is likely Dom Luke used this to take his famous picture of the Faistenberger Crucifix.
- An Order of the Privy Council of Charles II dated 1674 , detailing that any Catholic priests found in England were to be transported ‘over the seas.’ The document is signed by many members of the council including the Chancellor and Lords Northampton and Anglesey.
- Hundreds of images of the school and abbey from the last 100 years. Some notable items are images of the Downside OTC, Downside Dinners and members of the community from days gone by. The photo archives are a real treasure!
These finds highlight the continuing importance and variety of the Downside Archives. It is also a measure of the hard work and dedication shown by our team of volunteers who continue to make discoveries of importance.
We will be using many of these items, amongst others, in our library tours this year so why not book one with us? To find out more about our tours, click here.