Choose the article you wish to read:

  1. Extracts from The Priorian, Christmas 1950
  2. The Editorial from The Pelican, Summer 1964
  3. The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse
  4. Aspects of Life at Danby
  5. The Holy Week Mime
  6. The Priory First XI Football Team, 1964/5

The Priorian Christmas 1950
On loan from Eugene MacBride


By Peter McCombie

We arrived in Rome about the end of August and it was still very hot. We were fortunate enough to get sleeping accommodation in a Trappist Monastery and our meals at a convent of Irish Dominican Nuns. Besides gaining the indulgence, we wanted to see the Pope, as do all pilgrims. Our chance came. on the day before we left.

An American lady said that she would take us to the Audience, as she was alone. In the evening, we made our way into St. Peter's. We were put in the part set aside for Americans, very near to the altar.

The Basilica was crowded, people having arrived three or four hours before the Pope was expected There were people of all nations in the Basilica and it was strange to hear all the different languages. All nationalities in turn sang "Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat."

As soon as this was finished, there came loud cheering from the far end of the Basilica, as the people saw the Holy Father approaching. He was carried in the Sedia Gestatoria down St. Peter's and then around. the altar. He smiled on all, waved and gave his blessing. His white clad figure stood out again the dark walls like a vision. At last, he sat upon his throne before the altar and spoke to each nationality in turn.

At the end of the Audience, he stood up and gave his blessing to all the people. The great emotion one felt at seeing the Pope, and the people of all nations paying homage to the head of the universal Church, is a thing never to be forgotten.

Author Unknown

From Calais to Paris, our journey was uneventful. On our first Sunday in France, we were caught in a heavy rain storm and whilst sheltering under some trees an Englishman stopped and spoke to us, but nothing daunted continued his journey, in spite of the rain.

Then the rain eased off and we cycled to the next village. Here a kind Frenchman took us into his house and gave us some breakfast. He dried our clothes and allowed us to stay in his house until the rain stopped.

After leaving Paris, we headed for Nevers, and from there we went across the Alps to the Rhone Valley. At Lyons, the second largest town in France, we met with great kindness on the part of two French youths. Hitherto we had experienced great difficulty in finding our way through the large towns, and the thought of cycling through Lyons was not a pleasant one. Just as we.entered the city, we were stopped by two boys on bicycles, who offered to show us through the city; and not only did they do this, but they exchanged their lighter bicycles for our heavier ones and took our packs. When we reached the other side of the city, they gave us back our packs and bicycles and we continued our way, very thankful indeed for such help.

We cycled down the Rhone Valley, until we came to Marseilles and here we turned eastwards.

We had just passed a little holiday resort called Cassis and decided to ask for water at a nearby house. We knocked on the door, and a lady appeared who we found was English. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to speak English again and we spent a long time talking to her.

We continued our journey along the Riviera, until we eventually came to the Italian Border. On our second day in Italy my friend had an accident, which obliged us to accept the very kind hospitality of a priest. Although we regretted the delay, it was a welcome rest, which did us both much good.

Greatly refreshed, we cycled on, sleeping in the open at night, for in such glorious weather it seemed a waste of time to put up our tent.

At last, we came to our journey's end. How thankful ve were to realise that we had done what we set out to do; we had succeeded in cycling to Rome.

By B Geraghty

At the beginning of the term, we were honoured by a short visit from Very Reverend Father Provincial. This visit was a prelude to a visit of Very Reverend Father Coté one of the Superior-General's Council. Very Reverend Father Coté used to teach at the Priory and we were very glad to welcome him back.

In honour of his visit, we received two half holidays.

Towards the middle of the term, we were visited by Fathers Rubiru and Mukasa, two African priests; for most of us these were the first African priests we had seen.

Last year we had here Father Fortin, a Canadian; he left us at the end of the Summer term. Father Tetrault, another Canadian, was sent to replace him. We regret to say that Father Tetrault will be leaving us shortly, but we would like him to know that we appreciate all he has done for us during his stay.

On the 22nd of November, the Feast of St. Cecilia, we had a concert. On this occasion, the Dramatic Society excelled themselves, and the community singing from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas which we had performed, was surely in keeping with the feast of the day, St. Cecilia being the patroness of music.

On one evening, we were allowed to go and see 'Iolanthe' performed by the D'Oyle Carte Company; we are very grateful to Father Superior for this kind permission, for most of us are ardent fans of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Now the examinations are looming on the horizon; we trust that we shall acquit ourselves of them creditably enough. Naturally we are all looking forward to Christmas and all it entails. May we all return from the holidays, full of energy and ready to continue our training for the priesthood.

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EDITORIAL from The Pelican, Summer 1964
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1964 - transcribed for us by Robbie Dempsey

Who would have written this?

As is usually the case, the majority of the articles in this year's edition of The Pelican are written by the boys. The magazine is mainly meant to express the life of a Junior Seminary and this can best be seen through the eyes of the boys themselves. The number of articles concerned with outside visits and events stresses the fact that the life of the Seminary must give a preparation to the boys for living in the world as dedicated men and priests. There were eighteen boys at St John's Portsmouth this year and next year the number will rise to about forty. The boys are able to meet non-Seminarians, learn from them and give something to them. There is a danger otherwise, perhaps, that isolation can lead to the formation of teenage clericalists.

Mention should be made of some of those who visited us during the year. Fr. Byrne came over from Ireland to preach the annual retreat. His conferences were very much appreciated by all the boys and we are grateful to him for having agreed to give the retreat and for having given such a successful one.

We received visits from all the propagandists and were even honoured with a brief visit from Fr. Martin of Scottish propaganda. Fr. Howell came down with the Birmingham Parents Association for the Christmas play. Fr. Tye came for the boys' confessions during the Spring term and managed to check up on the activities of several of his "old boys" who used to be with him at Palace Court in London. We are grateful to Brother Michael Kelly who has found the time to do several useful jobs for us here during his visits. Needless to say we were also always glad to see Fr. Provincial when he was able to visit us.

Last year was an exceptional one for us in that there were no changes in the staff of the Priory. However this year has already seen the departure of Fr. Duffy who served us well for a period of over two years as Superior. Fr. Fowles, who has taken over as Superior, has already ten years of experience of Priory life and is thus well fitted to take charge of the direction of the school at a time when important changes are happening in the life of the school. At the end of the year we shall say good-bye to Fr. Conlon, our bursar. He has looked after us well and his energy and enthusiasm will be missed by all, not least by the local tradesmen, in spite of his reputation as a hard bargainer. Accompanying Fr. Conlon to Ireland will be* Mr Michael Savage who has spent a year with us. We appreciate the way in which he has helped to foster the life of the school and wish him every success for the future.

Finally the editor must bow himself out and report for duty in a new region where, one is told, the local geography is of exceptional interest.

*Resident lay teacher 1964 - 5 (Peter Finn's book)

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Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 - lent by Eugene Macbride

Written by Finbarre Fitzpatrick (Form V)

With the coming of G.C.E. examinations early in the Spring Term and the consequent academic pressure late in the Autumn Term, it was decided to do away with the Christmas pantomime this year, since in an atmosphere charged with Quadratic Equations and the Parliaments of Henry VII it is difficult to caper lightheartedly about the stage in pantomimic manner.

In order to give an outlet for the dramatic talent of the School, a venture of a more serious nature was arranged for April. The play was called The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse. It is the story of a slightly unbalanced doctor (taken by a Sixth Former in the most natural way in the world) who indulges in criminal activities to further his research. He compiles notes and statistics while he and his criminal associates do their 'jobs'.

We are given a sample of one such job by the enacting on the stage of the doctor's last organized crime, a big fur robbery. After the robbery, the doctor follows his usual custom of telephoning home from his rendezvous and falls into a trap laid for him by the 'fence' with whom he was dealing.

This 'fence', acted so well as to suggest previous experience, distrusts the motives of the nameless doctor, and has fixed to the telephone an instrument which records the number which the doctor had dialled. (The plot thickens.)

In the final act, Kellerman, the 'fence', turns up at the surgery to reassure himself of the doctor's intentions. On being shown the doctor's book of notes, he seizes it. Blackmail follows. Clitterhouse resents Kellerman's attempts to constrain him : he offers his guest a glass of whisky containing a grain of heroin. Kellerman obligingly drinks it, relishing the 'full flavour'. The drug takes effect rapidly, and the doctor accompanies Kellerman to the land of dreams with the consoling thought of eternal rest on the bed of the River Crouch.

Everything goes wrong. Kellerman is not 'found drowned', but is found murdered by an overdose of heroin, and he has Clitterhouse's telephone number in his pocket. Before he is arrested, Clitterhouse takes into his confidence an eminent lawyer, Sir William Grant, Q.c., and explains how he hopes to escape the death penalty through 'extenuating circumstances'. Sir William confirms that his friend will escape the death penalty, but alas ! on different grounds : that the doctor must be as mad as a hatter! The police come in to make the arrest, headed by Detective-Inspector Charles, an old friend of Clitterhouse, and the curtain is dropped in a pool of tears supplied by the Doctor's assistant, Nurse Ann.

There was really no weak point in the pla—-unless that the Detective-Inspector came into the surgery with his hat on. Daisy, Kellerman's friend who is patronized by Clitterhouse, and Nurse Ann were played with surprising success by two of the younger boys. The criminals, Pal, Oakie, Badger and Tug, were acted with obvious relish, and the natural gifts of the two main characters were, as I have already observed, well adapted to their respective parts. With the perseverance of the producer and of the actors, and the effectiveness of Father Lynch's scenery, the play could not have been other than the great success it was.

Dr Clitterhouse, M.D., M.R.C.P.: Desmond Smith
Nurse Ann: Andrew Coyle
Det.-Inspectector Charles: Patrick Gibbons
Benny Kellerman: Patrick Shanahan
'Pal' Green: Paul Tait
Daisy (a friend of Kellerman's): Michael Keller
Sergeant Bates: Alfred Harrison
Constable Anthony Sharm 'Oakie': Philip Holcroft
'Tug' Wilson: Peter Fredrickson
'Badger' Lee: Michael Mearns
Sir William Grant, Q.C.: James Quinn

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Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965, lent to us by Pat Gritton

By "M.J.M."

At Danby Hall, this has been a year of consolidation as shrill voices chase away the ghosts of the past and new traditions, inevitable in any change of enviroment, start to grow.

During the Christmas term, the second and third forms were here whilst the first form began its corporate existence at St Boswells. The anniversary of the fire was duly celebrated by a boy at breakfast shouting "Fire" at the top of his voice. It was only after a stunned silence that we realised that this was perhaps the beginning of a new tradition.

The arrangement of quite a number of football and rugby matches enabled us still further to think of Danby as a school in its own right, particularly since we have done exceptionally well in both sports considering our small numbers.

Towards the end of November, Mr and Mrs Joyce,a Catholic couple from Southern India, arrived to take over the cooking which they have managed very well. Brother Owen's liberation from the kitchen was finally obtained through the arrival of Miss Margaret Black from Middlesbrough who has helped in both the kitchen and the refectory.

Brother Owen received his appointment for Marienthal, Luxemburg, during the Christmas holidays, and then suddenly we found ourselves in the centre of a spate of changs occasioned by the decision to move the first form to Danny and third form to the Priory. Father Ball and Father Wynne joined us from St Boswell's and Father Nolan shepherded the third form to that centre of higher learning at Bishop Waltham. Father Nolan and Brother Owen spent all their energies on Danby Hall and the boys and they are greatly missed. But they had scarcely gone before their places were taken by Father Ball and Father Wynne at the head of a group of rather fearful first formers.

And so the voices became a little shriller and another adaptation had to be made. But all the necessary adjustments had been made by February 11th when we celebrated Father Walsh's silver jubilee. The Solemn High Mass was sung before breakfast and as soon as possible after breakfast the boys were sent out for their first "camper" of 1965. In the evening at the feast day supper, the boys and staff made presentations to the jubilarian. In return we had the rare privilege of a speech : straight, to the point, and a fitting end to the day's celebrations.

Earlier, in January, we were able to make the acquaintance of several of the local ministers at a dinner held at Danby. Father Hyland, our local parish priest, and the staff were the hosts, and the evening proved a great success, not least because of the excellence of the meal and the impeccable service of Mr Jones as head waiter.

There were three heavy falls of snow in the Easter term and at times the weather was miserable, but we survived and everyone seemed surprised to find themselves suddenly in Holy Week and at the end of the term.

The Easter vacation at home was a definite succes, and we came back to a term which is short and full of opportunities for out-door activities. Father Kelly has started a canoeing club and by mid term we should have ten canoes in operation. The whole school will be going for a weekend camp at the end of June, and the river is always available for swimming.

These few lines are not meant to be an account of the year's activities, but simply an attempt to spotlight a few of the main events. Only God knows what the joys and sufferings of this year have been for each and everyone of us. They will have been worthwhile providing we have used them all to find God and his will a little more in our lives.

By T. GIBBONS, Form Two

Our odd job man at Danby is Mr Jones. He lives in a cottage beside the garden where he spends a lot of his time. Here he grows cabbages, brussel sprouts, radishes and other market garden produce. He takes great care of this garden, keeping us out of it and rabbits too. To do this (the latter) he has put wire fencing around the small copse at the back.

Mr Jones also looks after the lawns, and he cuts them, keeps pebbles off them and in general makes them look neat. He also rakes the gravel around the house when it starts piling up in heaps leaving gaps all round.

In winter, it is Mr Jones who makes sure that the boilers are going, stoking them and making sure of a good supply of coke. He makes sure that we close doors and we have big notices on the outside doors to this effect.

There are many windows in this house and also many footballs giving rise inevitably to broken windows. Once a again Mr Jones is called upon and he makes a good job of mending them. He has recently mended a few, one of them caused by a crow which flew straight through it. Mr Jones mends every broken article in the house and he never has a quiet moment.

Another of his many jobs is to empty all the bins and keep the place tidy.

When some ministers of other Christian denominations came last term, he took on the role of butler at the dinner. He was in full evening dress.
When we get one of our rare films here, he comes along to watch it, bringing his family with him. When this is over he goes to bed to wake up next morning to another day of gardening and work in the house, being Our Man at Danby Hall.



Everyone is rushing about carrying rucksacks, bags, bottles, tins and everything they need for an enjoyable day out. For a long time this goes on till one of the Fathers comes and tries to quieten the row, promising lines to anyone who is not out in five minutes. At last everyone is on their way to their camping site.

When you reach your chosen place, you throw your bags on to the ground and run off to collect wood for the fire, while one boy sets out the food and places the fire. When some wood is collected, the fire is made, and everyone crowds around. Soon the fire is blazing and everyone is shouting what they want to eat.

At last it is decided what to eat, and they wait patiently looking at the poison brewing. While this is going on, if you are lucky enough to have a radio, it is blaring out all the while.

When everyone is eating, it is decided where to go climbing trees, in the river, or anything else interesting. This takes up the rest of the day until four o’clock, then tea is made, and if you want anything to eat, you cook it yourself.

By now it is time to go back and you break camp, thinking of the dreadful classes next day.


By R. O'CONNOR, Form Two

We have many recreational facilities in the college, and the most popular ones just now are volley ball, table tennis and canoeing.
We have formed three volley ball teams called “The Nameless Ones", "Smersh", and "The Invincibles". So far, the Invincibles have won thirty one games and lost none so you can see the others are not doing too, well.

Canoeing is the most exciting sport of the lot. The are thirty three canoeists and six canoes : two single seaters and four double seaters. We are allowed to go for about two miles up river until we reach Middleham. But first you have to be able to swim fifty yards yards with your clothes on against a slow current. A good few of the boys have passed this test but others have not as it isn't easy swimming with clothes on.

I will now tell you about some of our indoor recreations. Most of the boys play table tennis with some skill. In November we had a coaching session from Jack Carrington who coaches the English international team. A lot of boys play billiards, though this game is less popular than table tennis.

We get the television on Monday night to see "Bewitched” and "Panorama" and we often see sporting items. Pop music is a thing which, believe it or not, interests hardly any of the boys although we are allowed to listen to the Top Ten on Wednesday evenings.

As well as having our own library, we get books from the Northallerton library. We also play football and rugby quite a lot. We have lost only one game at football this season although the rugby team has a very different reputation, especially in Ripon where we were thrashed by thirty-one points to nil.

Finally, we do quite a lot of camping at a place near the River Cover. It is a very good camping place with plenty of broken wood and water. The Army unit at Catterick Camp is taking us on a three day camping expedition in June. Everyone is looking forward to it very much.

I think I have told you just about everything to do with the sporting and recreational facilities at Danby, and believe me, it is every bit as exciting as it sounds.

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By T. GORMLEY, Form One
Photo source: Michael Gallagher.
(These pictures are also displayed in the Gallery, for your convenience)

This mime was produced by Father Kelly. For weeks he had been preparing for it down to the last minute detail. The cast consisted of twelve people. Rehearsals took place in the first form classroom every night for four weeks until the big moment came.

It was to take place on Palm Sunday. That afternoon, straight after dinner, the cast climbed the stairs to the dressing room and remained there until it was time to start. Miss Black, who stays at Danby Hall, helped us dress and made sure that everything was shipshape. It was time to start. We descended, a little nervous, into the main hall and stood in an adjoining room waiting for our first cue.

"The passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ", was announced in a loud, clear voice by Terence Madden.

Our Lord was acted by John Corrigan. He and the apostles went into the room in which the Last Supper was to be eaten. During this time the text of the Last Supper was being read by one of the three specially picked readers as they had clear, loud voices.

At the end of the supper, Our Lord went to Gethsemane. Taking with him three of his apostles, he went a stone's throw off and knelt down to pray. Twice he came back and found the Apostles sleeping. The third time he roused them and said, "Enough, the time has come".

Meanwhile, slowly and silently, the High Priest and soldiers crept up and bound him.

Next morning he was taken before the court of the High Priest where he was tried and found guilty. The people proclaimed with terrific shouts that he should be put to death. They sent him on, still bound, to Pilate. Pilate was acted by Norman Turnbull. He played it very well looking as though he was an intellectual, which, of course, suited Pilate. Pilate pleaded with the people to let him free, but no, he was to be crucified.

The crucifixion was a difficult scene and was rehearsed a number of times. Our Lord and the cross together had to be lifted a foot off the ground then hoisted up until he was straight, and above all, safe. There Jesus died and was taken to his burial.

Afterwards we were told by Father Kelly that the audience, although small, really thought is was very well performed. We were glad and really thought it was worthwhile doing.

(L-R ) :  
Philip May, John Corrigan, Paul Hislop (Michael thinks), John Nicolas

Gerard McAlpine is holding the Cross.
John Nicolas, extreme left, looking on.

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The Priory First XI Football Team 1964/5
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965 - lent by Pat Gritton
Written by Paul Glover, Form Four

(Left to Right):
Back Row: Sean Hughes, George Jason, Patrick McHale, Owen Gormley, Philip Mason
Front Row: Andrew Murphy, Pat Gritton, John Mills (Captain), Charles Savage, Paul Fletcher Vincent Brosnan

Goalkeeper : P. McHale
An agile and fearless goalkeeper, he is not afraid to dive at a forward's feet when necessary. He would be more efficient if he put less emphasis on style.

Right back: S. Hughes
A fast and hard tackling back, capable of outpacing the fastest winger, he tends to rush into a situation and Iacks good ball control. He does, however, pass the ball and make good use of it.

Left back : P. Mason
Quite a skillful back. By his accurate passes and ball control, he gives extra support to his left half. He tends to hold off from his winger and consequently is a bit slow in tackling.

Right half: G. Jason
When in possession he is difficult to dispossess and runs fast with the ball. His passing is short but accurate. He is not so successful a tackler as he does not use his whole body.

Centre half : J. Mills (Capt.)
This has been his first season as captain ; he has led and encouraged the team by his reliability in tackling, and his consistency in heading and kicking throughout the season.

Left half: 0. Gormley
He is a hard and fearless tackler, very strong and dependable in defence. He adds extra vigour to the attack with his economical passing of the ball.

Right wing: P. Fletcher
A fast winger with a useful shot. He tends to beat his man by passing the ball rather than by dribblng. He is a non-stop trier.

Inside right : P. Gritton
One of the oustanding players in the team. He has fine ball control and passes the ball very accurately. He has scored thirty two goals this season and is the second highest scorer.

Centre forward: A. Murphy
He has good ball control and passes the ball well. He scored 8 goals this season.

Inside left : C. Savage
He is a very fast and clever dribbler. He has scored many goals through his solo efforts. He combines well with his partner at inside forward, P. Gritton, and between them, they have scored 65 goals.

Outside left : V. Brosnan
The brightest prospect of the team. He is a fast and determined player. He has come into the team since Christmas and has vastly improved his play by consistency and good efforts. He should have a successful season next year.

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