Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Missa Cantata at Broughton Hall

Always interested in the recusant families of England and the private chapels of some of the estates of Catholic families, I couldn't help but share the following photos which come from the blog of the choir of St. Mary Magdalen's in Brighton (the parish church of Fr. Ray Blake) which talks about a monthly Missa Cantata offered in chapel at Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire. First, a little bit of the background of the Broughton family:

Nothing prepares you for the magnificent aspect of Broughton Hall, home to The Tempest Family, as you drive through its immaculate parkland, and there discretely attached to the back of the house is the chapel. The only clue to its purpose is a small cross above the portico of the church door. There is no church sign or parish notice board. This chapel was clearly built at a time when you certainly did not want to advertise to your neighbours that you were Catholic.

An article from the Craven Herald of 1936 charts the astonishing Catholic history of the Tempests.

"From 1591 we find the Tempest family constantly in the Recusant Lists. As an example of the fines, Dame Katherine (Lawson), wife of Sir Stephen, was fined £40 for not attending the Parish Church, and later the fine is increased to £140 . In October, 1644, Stephen and his family, as Papists and Royalists, were exiled from Broughton and the estates were sequestered, but through the kind offices of friends and neighbours, in 1648 the Hall is again inhabited by a Catholic tenant, George Fell, who became steward, and it is from George Fell’s estate accounts that we are able to trace the names of many of the priests who ministered at Broughton, besides getting glimpses of Catholic life in those days. Dame Tempest (Gascoigne) was charged with high treason and hatching Papist Plots, and with her kinsman Blessed Thomas Thiving, was imprisoned in York Gatehouse, but was acquitted the following year 1680. About 1684, Broughton Hall is several times men tioned as a place where Papists resorted. Under William III, the lot of Catholics was not a happy one.

"The Broughton Chapel has been a nursery for religious vocations, for several sons of the family have been Jesuits and Benedictines, and of the daughters, eight were Benedictines; in fact, between 1688 and 1729 there were six Benedictine nuns."

The current generation of Tempests in residence at Broughton Hall are, according to one of the parishioners I chatted to, noted for their kindness and charity; Mrs Tempest was a friend of Mother Teresa and did a lot of work for her.

The celebrant pictured above Father G M Parfitt has never stopped saying the Latin Mass, even during the 1970s. This is a private chapel after all, owned by the family and not the diocese. Apparently, even the bishop would be ‘a visitor’ if he came to celebrate Mass at Broughton!

See the rest of the photo gallery.

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