A few weeks ago I received my copy of the new book `Treasures of Ushaw College
`. (Available for £20 from Durham University
or from £11.43 via Amazon
). Last year we had a preview of the contents in a talk at the North East Catholic History Society which whetted my appetite. While I can`t say I flourished during my time at Ushaw I was interested in what was there and always thought there must be more than was immediately apparent. The fifteenth century Westminiser vestment which made the news recently being worn by cardinal Nichols at his Mass for the repose of Richard III)
|Cardinal Nichols wearing the Westminister vestment|
appeared at Mass for Douai Martyrs. At the gallery on the first floor the items relating to the Earl of Derwentwater were on display. The Big Library we knew contained ancient tomes and `St Cuthbert`s Ring` was used by ordaining bishops but what else could there be? I was always keen to know and enjoyed showing what was visible to visitors as a college guide. But there was a lot more and this reveals much of it. I remember the seventeenth century Antwerp monstrance whcih was discovered in a jewellers in the 1830s being sold as a watch stand and the multi-coloured all-purpose recusant chasuble but knew nothing of the eighteenth century Sloane cope or the Augsburg chalice of c.1700.
|The Sloane Chalice, commissioned for Pope Paul V, 1605-1621|
The paintings of Rohden which seemed just part of the fixtures acquire a new attractiveness when presented in this book.
Ushaw seems to be more at ease with its history now the seminary has closed. In my day we were only allowed to look forward as we sat at our coffee table Masses and were led to believe that we had outgrown our past.
This book will be of interest to any past student of Ushaw with an interest in its history. One item I thought to see in the book which doesn`t make it is the cassock of St Pius X sent by ex-Ushawman Cardinal Merry del Val and housed in its tiny purpose built chapel for most of its time there. However that may be one for the next volume!