PAGE 23

  1. Editorial of The Pelican, Summer 1966 edition

  2. The Last Chapter

  3. Bishop's Waltham comes to St John's

  4. The Lark - a review of the Christmas play - with photos

  5. Mid term in Blunt's yard

 


EDITORIAL OF THE PELICAN, SUMMER 1966
Author Unknown
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1966, lent by Mike Byrne


Looking back over a seminary year as it draws to a close, one is always faced with the greatest difficulty in making a fair assessment of the accomplishments and progress which the year has brought.

Not only is so much dependent on the spiritual aspect, which can never be fully assessed, but there can always be found within the community itself some critics and even cynics who unconsciously do much to distort the overall picture. But it would be to the lessening of truth if one were to omit to mention that spirituality has not been so obviously dominant as it might have been; the same lessening effect would be realised if one also forgot that occasionally critics have been rational and constructive.

It is thus hoped that the articles in this edition of The Pelican are written by rational critics in search of a fair assessment. In this respect gratitude is due to those contributors, such as Mr Mills of St John's College, and Brother Bernard Mahon of St Mary's College, Southampton, for providing objective and "outside" views, one of Priorians at St John's, and the second more specifically of the prowess of our actors.

Those articles from Danby Hall are taken from the periodical issues of their own community magazine, "Yure Danby."

The year has seen zest displayed in several fields, although on the whole it has not been an exceptionally spirited twelve months. Sports and studies have been attacked with all due fervour, perhaps the latter with over-due fervour, and the result has been for the most part to our advantage. Enthusiasm was marked during Retreat at the beginning of year and our debt to the preacher, Father E Mahoney, during those three days is unforgettable.

Other visitors, in the persons of variously experienced missionaries such as Father G. Taylor, fresh from Kipalapala, and a Dutch White Father working in Zambia, Father H. Hinfelaar, kindly served to cal the missionfield in Africa to mind. Father Walsh, Assistant to the Superior General, paid us a prolonged visit during which he apparently made provisions for the Priory's gradual demise; the provisions are outlined by Father Superior in his article below, Another visitor, a regular one, has been Brother Kelly who for occasional week-end retreats from his Architectural studies in London has busied himself at the Priory. His useful hands have presented us with items such as a new notice board and have assured him an always warm welcome.

Visiting however has not been only a one-way business. Raymond Sweeney fell seriously sick during the Easter Term, and since his emergency, a danger which necessitated Extreme Unction, Priorians have frequently visited him in Winchester Hospital. Gratitude is due to his efforts in hospital which have produced our magazine cover.

In a different regard, visits were also paid to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in their local appearances and one group attended a Sadlers Wells performance of "La Boheme" at Southsea. These were the first outings of such a cultural nature within the memory of present Priorian `and their appreciable success apparently assures them of continuation in the future.

Manual work outside the seminary has also played a considerable part in the past year. Besides the work carried out for some profit in the yard of a local builder's contractor, work elsewhere described in this magazine, many boys volunteered their services to work for various people during the two weeks prior to Easter. In a different kind of way, this work was also for profit. However, the money earned was put into a collective fund aimed at sending a physically handicapped boy to Lourdes with the National Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage. The fund had been initiated from the proceeds of a complicated sweepstake on the results of the General Election, and finally achieved the £35 necessary to serve its purpose. For those taking G.C.E.'s this summer charitable social work, similar to that engaged in last year, is being planned to occupy them during the last two weeks of term.

So, although with the closing of the year much may be difficult to gauge, an admirable practical spirit has undoubtedly played its part. Zest may have been lacking where it is necessary, but it is always easier to note where it amply exists than where it is perhaps absent. One can certainly hope that Priory zest will find its way into all aspects of its dubious future. Then we will be able to thank God even more heartily than we do now for the way in which He has blessed this past year.



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THE LAST CHAPTER
By Fr John Fowles, Superior
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1966, lent by Mike Byrne


Among the bits and pieces and general paraphernalia of the Superior's office at the Priory is a tome, commonly known as the Black Book, in which is recorded the name of, and various bits of information about, every boy who has entered the seminary.

The first entry, dated 12th October 1912, is "Germain Aymard," from Aveyron in the South of France, who became a Brother in the Society ten years later. The 970th entry, made on September 3rd, 1965, is that of Norman Turnbull from Leven, Fife. There is, in fact, space for some three thousand more entries, but it seems that Norman Turnbull is going to close the list, for a decision has been taken to discontinue the present form of the Junior Seminarv system in the British Province.

In July, Danby Hall in Yorkshire, which has housed the first two forms of the juniorate since the fire at St Columba's, will cease to function as a seminary, and the boys there at the time will be placed in other schools. The Priory will continue as a seminary-hostel until 1970 when the present Third Form will be finishing A levels. Thus all the boys who return to the Priory in September 1966 will be going out to school each day at St. John's College, Southsea.

With the wind of change blowing a pretty stiff breeze across the bows of the Church, this particular turn of events in the British Province may have seemed inevitable to some. However, whether this news comes as a surprise or not, there will be a certain feeling of regret among many former Priorians that what was the foundation stone of the British Province and what has come to be looked upon as
veritable institution is soon to become just anothe chapter in the Society.

As we leaf through the pages of the Black Book and see the names of Alfred Howell (former Provincial), Arthur Hughes (Papal Internuncio to Egypt), Gerard Scriven, Owen McCoy (Bishop of Oyo), James Siedle (Bishop of Kigoma) and more than one hundred and forty other Fathers and Brothers who have given themselves to the service of Africa, we cannot but feel that the Priory has already playe a significant role in the missionary apostolate of the Church.



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BISHOP'S WALTHAM COMES TO ST JOHN'S COLLEGE
By Mr Ronald Mills
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1966, lent by Mike Byrne


Some years ago, after years on the staff of St. John's College, to my surprise, since I had always prided myself on getting to know at least the face of every boy in the school by the time he had reached the top forms, a crop of new faces began to appear.

This would have aroused no comment were they those of the very young, but obviously these belonged to young men: some slender, some round, some tough; some looking firm, adult and more than razor-familiar.

Moreover, a priest, other than the school chaplain, was seen as often as any regular member of the staff. Masses could be attended at lunch-time and a group of these mysterious newcomers were observed to stay on for devotions long after anyone else and with apparent attachment to the Blessed Sacrament unprecedented, in such a number, in the history of S. John's.

Gradually, we, the uninitiated, upon whom changes at this school seem to materialise and organically grow rather than be foreknown and anticipated, came to realise that this was "Bishop's Waltham." Now, by a happy trick of our language, this metonymous appellation is used by everyone: "Oh, Mac So and So, he is Bishop's Waltham, isn't he?" or "Have 'Bishop's Waltham' arrived"? if by accident or design the vehicle peculiar to "Bishop's Waltham" is late.

Only during the past two years have I come into contact with their interesting personalities. First, through the arts. For the poetry prize, more interesting entries, in greater numbers, came in from this group than from the rest of the school. These poems showed some interesting stresses, conflicts and probings revealing, in some cases, rich interior lives. Not one of these entries won the prize but, for the first time, personalities became more than passing figures The veil which always obscures new people flying suddenly into one's life, began to lift a little. As time passed, one, leaving all competitors behind won the public reading prize, another showed prowess in games, another excelled in athletic events; so the strangeness wore off: here was not an aloof, pious, clique, catapulted into an alien environment merely for academic convenience, but warm living folk whose one desire was to integrate and contribute.

What that contribution is, it is difficult to make clear. Psychologically, those of us labelled "lay" are bound to be influenced by those who have chosen a service dedicated to God and sacrificed to man. All that this must mean: discipline of body and mind; often being avoided; celibacy: in being given to all; suffering, as must be at times, the apartness which every cleric feels. Coupled with this the deliberate choice of serving, if such be the will of God, in the most difficult missionary work, exciting perhaps, but dangerous; amongst people, alien in race, colour and custom and most certainly, materially unrewarding. It is necessary to mention this "lay" attitude because, whether "Bishop's Waltham" realises it or not, in assessing their impact on us at St. John's this a priori knowledge of them, which their very choice indicates, cannot be excluded.

To return however to the contribution. Generally, their presence has immensely enriched the school. This is undoubted; they are joyous, they see things fully, sometimes with sympathy. sometimes with pity; the most abysmal depths to which some of the fictional characters they study fall, leave them aware, sorry, but undismayed. Their standards are different. One of them regards King Lear in his early, autocrafic period as not overwhelmingly powerful and magnificent but very self-centred and petty. A view which by Christian standards is true enough, but one seldom heard voiced by hardened, Shakespearean critics. Another difference, apart from the sartorial one of yellow-badged A-S-A' d blazers, which occasionally appear because of cleaning exigencies, is the interest they take in people. School-boys are notorious for being able to assume "dead-pan" masks or building retreat walls in time of danger. Not these, they wish to know and be known.

So, rightly or wrongly, these are my own findings of this group who are fated to have to give loyalty to two establishments at once, to move in two spheres which they seem to unite successfully. Do they leaven the lump? Does our lump need leavening? This I will not answer. I will end with this remark. Every member of the Staff, without one dissident voice, says that the school would be the poorer if, for any reason, "Bishop's Waltham" has to be withdrawn.

 

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THE LARK - A review of the Christmas Play
by Bro. Bernard Mahon, St Mary's College, Bitterne
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1966, lent by Mike Byrne


The seasoned play-goer knows that where school boy dramatics are concerned he must often make extravagant concessions.

Made callous by repeated exposure, he has grown decreasingly exacting—and youngsters, moreover, ought not to be unduly discouraged. Such were my benevolent dispositions as I made my way to the Priory and its rather small roll-call of pupils to sit in at their rendering of Jean Anouilh's difficult play "The Lark."

Recollection of other school productions, still wincingly rememberd could not diminish a magnanimous determination to scrap conventional criteria, and to subordinate ability to enthusiasm, to equate mere virtuosity with genuine inspiration and good-naturedly confuse attempt with achievement.

Fairly punctually, the curtains parted to disclose an unusually unostentatious but singularly effective scenery, designed to assist the performance, not compensate it. Then, after ten minutes of unhesitating dialogue. the stage lights fused. In the embarrassed interval one sympathised hugely with the actors plunged in gloom as they faltered to a halt, one wondered where the bursar stored the fuse-wire, and one's mind, somewhat prematurely, began the polite hunt for items that might salvage the performance: scenery, costume, programme design, accommodation, proximity of heaters etc. Meanwhile, one chatted amiably and exuded affability.

Eventually, visual contact was restored and the play began again from its beginning. But from that moment there was no going back: one became suddenly involved. It was compelling drama. Certain features reflecting on the producer were immediately noticeable: the unobtrusive scenery, whereby attention was never removed from the action of the play; the felicitous grouping, considering the small space available. At moments we had the value of two or three scenes simultaneously, cleverly underscoring that continuum of experience in the heroine, without the scenes themselves in any way complicating the progression of the plot.

Throughout, the production was bold in its simplicity. One remembers such details as the dawn ride of Joan and La Hire, the stark reality of the hangman's presence, the ritual at the stake. This consciously stylised technique prevented much precarious theatre from falling from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Above all, of course, it was the way the actors interpreted their parts which made this a performance to remember. Joan, no doubt, had the heavy end of it; hers was an unhalting performance and her identification with the Joan legend carried the more easily in that the producer was lucky to secure in this able youngster a certain provincial diction necessary to the rôle.

Most memorable was the acting of Cauchon in a very moving portrayal of a man who would save his victim without discrediting his beliefs and principles. Charles, without sacrificing his "historical" foppishness, gave a more spirited display and one thereby more interesting than one gets from the average Dauphin.

Indeed, the secret of success for so many of the Priory actors seemed to lie in the effort made by each character to assert his individuality, rather than to approximate his acting to some accepted formula. With an indifferent cast the latter may be the safe expedient, but it prevents that freshness of presentation and moving sincerity which were distinctive features in a very distinguished performance.

I liked the production immensely.

 



(source: Tony Smyth)

Peter Shorrock as Joan & Tony Smyth as Captain La Hire
























(source: Tony Smyth)

L - R:

Robert Dempsey (The Promoter) , —— , (Fr) Richard Kinlen (First Soldier),
—— (in white at front), Michael Cairns (Second Soldier), the back of ?
(Philip Mason?), Adrian Moran (Archbishop of Rheims), Cedric Pollard
(The Dauphin) , John Corrigan (Page) , Peter Shorrock (Joan).



(source : Cedric Pollard)

Cedric writes (November 2011):

"I was the Dauphin and Agnes Sorel was my friend Simon Blandford".


THE CAST
Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick: Thomas Whyatt
Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais: Richard Parsons
Joan: Peter Shorrock
Her Father: James Gunning
Her Mother: Thomas Hillas
Her Brother: Paul Dalton
The Promoter: Robert Dempsey
The Inquisitor: John Joyce
Brother Ladvenue: Paul Glover
Robert de Beaudricourt, Squire of Vaucouleurs: Philip Mason
Boudousse ... Michael Byrne
Agnes Sorel: Simon Blandford
The Young Queen: Peter de Souza
Charles, the Dauphin: Cedric Pollard
Queen Yolande: Patrick McKinlay
Archbishop of Rheims: Adrian Moran
M. de la Tremouille: Sean Murphy
Page to the Dauphin: John Corrigan
Captain La Hire: Anthony Smyth
Hangman: Michael Byrne
First Soldier: Richard Kinlen
Second Soldier: Michael Cairns
Stage Manager: Donald MacLeod
Prompter: Gerard Davies
Stage assistants, Thomas Quirke, John Brighouse, Raymond Sweeney.
Sound: Nicholas Prior
Producer: Father Garvey

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MID-TERM IN BLUNT'S YARD
By Andrew Murphy, Form V1

Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1966, lent by Mike Byrne


Less than six years could well have convinced me of the maxim—to be a White Father you must be a jack-of-all trades—but I never before had the occasion to consider the hardships of a seminarian labouring in the yard of a builder's contractor.

This exceptional undertaking was suggested to our Superior, Father Fowles, by the familiar and good-natured Mr Blunt. Such an offer would undoubtedly have met with little response had not the question of payment balanced the rarity of vacations and the need to recuperate. But, nevertheless, large numbers deserted the ranks of the unemployed, commenting enthusiastically on the exonerative terms of employment.

The inclemency of Saturday morning's weather, despite its benumbing effect on exposed and more sensitive parts of the anatomy, failed to dampen the animated spirits of the workers, steadfast in their resolution to prove themselves worthy of their wage-packet. Throughout the early evening little was heard of working conditions, but conversation evolved solely and characteristically around the problem of the day's earnings.

Talk at supper table was depressing: sullen faces expressed the mood of the evening and the food was turned aside. Determined to free the remaining recreation from the intermingling of customary holiday gaiety and working-class distress, the burden of representation was immediately imposed upon the college captain and an assistant. Shortly afterwards, the delegation, emerging from the cover of darkness, was overpowered by hordes of expectant Priorians. The facial expressions of the former, revealing the paradoxical combination of success and failure, suggested a compromise.

Mr Blunt, though a shrewd and business-like man, decided with a little persuasion that his capabilities did not yet extend to the out-maneouvring of seminarians, who, though hired as cheap labour, resolved to draw the line above a slavish income. On Monday morning, having discarded the Labour Party's motion to strike, as a solution to Saturday's apparent injustice, the considerably reduced rabble, selected from the age-group sixteen and above, sallied forth, informed explicitly of the employment conditions stipulated by our new boss.

Housebuilding was out of the question. We had to satisfy ourselves stacking heavy crates, pyramid fashion, despite the interior protestations of the foreman. Work finished promptly at five. Our boss was as good as his word. We received our twelve shillings respectively and set out on the long trek home, weary but thankful.

 

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