1. The WF Houses of Study in the British Province 1912-2006 (Peter Finn)

  2. "Music" by Pat Tierney, taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas1954

  3. Round The College by Paul Goodstadt

  4. The Woodwork Club by Charlie MacLaren

  5. The Golden Jubilee of Brother Modeste by Michael McDonnell

  6. Cricket (Anon)

  7. Editorial from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1955

  8. With The Runners, by Sean Surdival

White Fathers' Houses of Study in the British Province 1912 – 2006

Compiled by Peter Finn, March 2008

The Priory, Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire

              1912-40 Junior seminary (1940: Pupils evacuated to St Columba’s)

              1920-21 Philosophy (1921: Philosophers move to Hennebont, France)

              1940-44 Military barracks

              1942-67 Junior seminary (1942: Pupils of top two classes return from St Columba’s)

Woodford House, St John’s College, Southsea, Hampshire

1967-70 In-college boarding house for students attending St John’s College

St Columba’s, Newtown St Boswells, Roxburghshire

1936-45 Junior seminary (1945: All pupils move to Priory)
1940      Philosophy (In Farm House)
1941-43 Philosophy (1943: Second year moves to Rossington Hall)
1943-45 Theology (Students returning from occupied North Africa to finish course)
1945-46 Novitiate (1946: Novitiate moves to Broome Hall)
1946-48 Philosophy (1948: Philosophy moves to Broome Hall)
1948-63 Junior seminary

Danby Hall, Yorkshire

              1963-66 Junior seminary 

Ratho, near Edinburgh

              1966-78 Hostel for junior seminarians attending: 1. Scotus Academy, Edinburgh, 1966-69

                                                                                                  2. St David’s School, Dalkeith, 1969-78

              1976-82 Promotions and Vocations Centre

St Mary’s, Autreppe, Hainault, Belgium (British Province)

              1924-39 Philosophy (1939: move to Rossington Hall is thwarted)

Rossington Hall, Doncaster, Yorkshire

1939-43 Military barracks
(1939: Philosophers move to France & internment at St Denis)
1943-44 Novitiate (1944: Novitiate moves to Sutton Coldfield)
1943-48 Theology (Students from Oscott & graduated philosophy students from St Columba’s) 
(1948: Theology moves to Monteviot until 1958 and to ’sHeerenberg, Holland, until 1955) 

1943-46 Philosophy (1946: Philosophy returns to St Columba’s) 

Oscott, Birmingham Diocesan Seminary

              1942-43 First year Theology (1943: Theology moves to Rossington Hall)

121 Lichfield Road, Sutton Coldfield

              1943 (From Jan: accommodation for theologians at Oscott. Sept: move to Rossington Hall)

              1944-45 Novitiate (1945: Novitiate moves to St Columba’s)

Broome Hall, Coldharbour, Dorking, Surrey

              1946-48 Novitiate (1948-55 Novitiate at ’sHeerenberg, Holland)

              1948-55 Philosophy

              1955-69 Novitiate

St Augustine’s, Blacklion, Co Cavan (British Province)

              1955-71 Philosophy (1971: move to Oak Lodge, Totteridge)


              1948-58 Theology

St Edward’s, Totteridge, North London

              1958-1968 Theology
              1968-2006 Residence for Missionary Institute students

               (1968-2006) : Theology taught at Missionary Institute, London)
               (2006 : Theology moves to Tangaza College, Nairobi, Kenya)

Oak Lodge, Totteridge, North London

               1958-1968 Philosophy 
                (1968-2006) : Philosophy taught at Missionary Institute, London)  





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Taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1954

The return this year of the Third Form to the Priory from St. Columba's has at least gladdened the hearts of those who, with unfailing vigour, produce the harmonious melodies we hear on Sundays, Feast-Days and those" special occasions." Perhaps the shrill of unbroken voices in the corridors, in the quadrangle and (may it be said?) in class, causes jangled nerves for some; but to others it brings deep satisfaction in the knowledge that the Trebles have now been saved, if not from total extinction, at least from uncertain survival.

From the beginning of term the policy of "he who aims high achieves great things," was followed, and the mastering of a Haydn's Mass in Four Voices was undertaken and proceeds with every hope of success and refinement of execution. The easier Masses of "St. Cecilia" and" St. John the Baptist" are not despised, however, on that account, and they have been excellently rendered, notably on the Feast Day of Brother Modeste's Golden Jubilee. Immediately after lunch on this day, a musical concert was given in the refectory.

Choral songs were:

"Chantons La Fete" (Judas Machabeus) . . . . . . . . . . .Handel
"Ce Jour Heureux. " (William Tell) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rossini

while the following gave very creditable solo performances:

"Glorious Devon" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James O'Toole
"Where'er you walk" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Lyden
" Cherry Ripe" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Desmond Boyle
" Passing by" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Lee

On St. Cecilia's Day itself, the Upper Fifth preserved the musical side of this feast with delightful renderings of "Le Ranz des Vaches," "Au fond du Bois," and "La Tyrolienne."

Mr. J. Heath, well known to many old Priorians, is still the guiding hand and voice of our choir, and the latter's success, not unnoticed or unappreciated in the local newspapers, is due in no small measure to his unfailing interest, patience and generosity.

We must mention, too, that with the acquisition of a second piano—through the kind generosity of one of our parishioners—our budding Solomons and Semprinis have more opportunities to pursue their daily practice.

These short notes can claim to give but a general outline of the musical abilities of the students, and we now look forward to the Christmas season, and the Midnight Mass in particular, to give us a further feast of harmony in praise ; and adoration of the new-born Babe.

"Cantare est Orare"

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by Paul Goodstadt, Form 11

Taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1954

Scotland is famous for its scenery, and some of the loveliest is to be found in the Borders; but surely there are few spots to compare with the countryside round St. Columba's College. Perched on a hill, it affords a wonderful view of the country for miles around, especially from the dormitory windows.

(source & copyright : Peter Jennings)

In a deep valley at the bottom of the hill runs the Tweed, which forms a loop round the College.

source :

On one side, the far bank, there are fields which rise up to Bemersyde Hill, on which is the home of the Haigs of Bemersyde. The other bank is lined with trees; and at the very foot of the hill the Tweed is joined by the Bowden Burn, which runs in a deep narrow gorge, known to generations of Columbans as "The Valley," a place of great delights.

Beyond the Bowden Burn is the village of Newtown; and rising up against the sky behind it are the three summits of the Eildons, which all students must climb before being recognised as genuine Columbans.

(source & copyright : Peter Jennings)

View from the top of the Eildon Hills, looking towards St Columba's (2005)

The Eildons are bare, but there are woods round their foot, in the midst of which can be seen the mansion of the Earl of Dalkeith, Eildon Hall.

Eildon Hall

Carrying on from the Eildons. one sees towards the south-west the peak of Ruberslaw; and to the south the long line of the Cheviots, which form the border between Scotland and England. Nestling in the trees on this side is the old village of St. Boswells, named after St. Boisil, a former abbot of Melrose.

On the other side of the river from the College is Dryburgh Abbey, lying in a loop of the river; and not far away are Melrose, Kelso and Jedhurgh Abbeys, after which the houses in the College are named. Living every day in this enchanted countryside, one is almost inclined to helieve all the old Border ballads of fairies and "bogles."

The Dryburgh Abbey Hotel 2007

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by Charles McLaren, Form 11

Taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1954

Under Father Riddle's enthusiastic supervision, the Woodwork Club continues to progress rapidly. Most of the new boys were very keen to join, and nearly all have passed their tests, and are now allowed to do their own little jobs.

So at every free period, the workshop echoes with the noise of hammers and planes and voices asking one another to hurry up with the chisel, etc.

Fr Geoffrey Riddle (left) and Fr Desrosiers

Father Desrosiers, who arrived at the beginning of the term, has helped us a great deal, both by his encouragement and advice, and by the tools with which he has enriched our stock. A red-letter day was the arrival, from an Edinburgh firm, of a load of wood—oak, mahogany, and a new type of aluminium-coated plywood, which has proved ideal for table mats, etc.

The Club is holding an exhibition of work on 8th December, when we hope to have Father Stoker, who trains the novice Lay-Brothers, to come and act as judge. The entries seem to be mostly yachts and aeroplanes, intended as Christmas presents for little brothers; but there are also many useful and beautiful exhibits, in which the grain and colour of the woodoak and mahogany-are seen to great advantage.

No doubt many, or rather most of us, are still in the beginners' class, but we hope that, with perseverance and practice, we shall become expert in a craft that may later help us in our mission work.

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by Michael McDonnell, L.V.
Taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1954

On Tuesday the second of November, everyone at The Priory was busy and excited over their final preparations for the Golden Jubilee of Brother Modeste. Many visitors were expected from other houses, among whom would be Reverend Father Provincial. Brother himself must have been very excited, for one of his greatest hopes was about to he realised.

At last the great day arrived, quite a sunny one for the grim month of November, and it soon proved an exciting one also for us all. Even before High Mass, many visitors arrived and were received with a warm welcome.

High Mass was sung by Very Reverend Father Provincial, at which Brother Modeste, who was in the sanctuary, received Holy Communion. At the end of the Mass a fervent Te Deum was sung.

When everyone had left the chapel, there was much excitement and happy conversation between the visitors from other houses and the community of the Priory. It was a wonderful opportunity for the boys to make the acquaintance of many more Fathers of the Province.

After a visit to the chapel, community and guests assembled for lunch which afforded many delicious things for all. The family spirit which reigned over the whole gathering was most remarkable and very inspiring for the students. When there was very little more than empty dishes left on the tables, entertainment was provided by the choir, who sang airs suited or adapted to the occasion. Much talent was shown and there were one or two particularly fine solos.

After the songs, Brother Modeste was offered gifts by Fathers, Brothers and boys, and many were the compliments paid him in the speeches of Very Reverend Father Provincial, Reverend Father Superior and Brother Patrick. Brother Modeste himself was too moved to speak, but his emotion told its own story.

The happy company came together again for high tea, at which Brother refused to cut his cake until an extra holiday had been granted to the boys. Needless to say, the boys' champion prevailed and then the cake was cut.

After tea and Solemn Benediction, there was a very enjoyable film show to conclude a very happy day. The boys retired to bed that night tired, but very contented, and prepared to enjoy the next day's holiday. For all privileged to be at the Priory on November the third, the Golden Jubilee of Brother Modeste will always remain a precious memory.

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by Anon
Taken from The Pelican magazine, Summer 1955

At the beginning of the season hopes were low of finding good cricketers at The Priory.

Of the material at the disposal of Fr. Monaghan and Fr. Fowles there was little out of which to fashion a first eleven. These Fathers had to start from scratch and build up, together with the teams, a real interest in the game. Their aim was to foster a spirit which would bring a higher standard of cricket at The Priory, if not this year, then in the following years.

They have done just this; so much so that even the most reticent of sportsmen have become enthusiastic supporters of the game. This much could never have been accomplished had it not been for work which Fr. Monoghan put into the construction of practice wickets and nets, beside his shrewd coaching and practical advice.

Since the season commenced cricket has been played at The Priory with a zeal and aptitude never displayed so widely before. This is a vital factor when one considers that the object of this season's coaching and instruction has been to provide a foundation for future teams. We have witnessed displays of keen competitive cricket between class and house. The spirit of the game has clearly taken firm root. The first eleven has wanted neither in eagerness to learn nor in ability to put hard-learned theory into laborious practice.

The results have been extremely gratifying. Before the fixture list was tackled there was not a little trepidation in the camp. We hoped that at least we should give our rivals a respectable game. In point of fact results have shown that our rivals should have had that trepidation. In three of the four games played the enemy has been dismissed for a trifling score which our batsmen have passed with ease on each occasion. Luck may have favoured our team at times, but not to any great extent, and the victories have been earned as a result of constant practice and desire to improve on the part of the boys.

The Priory may well be proud of all that has been done to foster cricket among the boys this year.

(source : Chris Campbell)

Several years later . . .
Joe MacIntyre and Liam Colgan keeping the score.
Liam is holding the "Golden Duck".

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by Anon
Taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1955

WHEN the first number of The Pelican was launched at Christmas last year the possibility was envisaged of including in its pages news from former Priorians and Columbans. In our first anniversary issue this possibility has become a reality and together with notes and articles from The Priory and St Columba's comes news from our Seminary of Philosophy, recently opened at Blacklion, Co. Cavan. This new venture is especially welcome since after the Junior Seminary the House of Philosophy is the first stepping stone to the missionary priesthood and many of those now at Blacklion, transformed by cassock and Roman collar, were but yesterday the "Priory boys."

At present, however, only a slender portion of the magazine is devoted to the Old Boys, the remaining pages being the contribution of those who are still Priorians and Columbans.

Perhaps the life of the present day Priorian is not so very different from that of his predecessors—the following pages bear ample witness to the fact—but inevitably life at the Priory does change to some extent. And so it should! We are only too well aware of the truth of the paradox: to stand still is to retreat. The recent developments, however small, are but natural manifestations of a healthy growth of that vitality upon which the life of a school and a seminary must be based.

With the giving of a more comprehensive grounding in humanities as object, changes have been effected in class subjects. Geography which had been totally eclipsed in class certain period once more shines in the in the daily time-table. Science, from its humble and mysterious beginnings in an outhouse, is now firmly established in the main building where none may ignore it. But perhaps a more important sign of progress is the formation of a Sixth Form—a small but formidable force marching on to advanced posts of learning. We hope that this vanguard will yearly be followed by an ever growing army, adding many academic conquests to its name.

May we not say that the growth of The Pelican itself is more than a mere warrant for its existence? Is it not a mark of a very real enthusiasm for that high ideal—the rugged and splendid missionary apostolate—upon which the heart of every boy is set ? We leave you to judge for yourself.

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by Sean Surdival
Taken from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1955


(source: Michael Goodstadt)

The Priory 1955 :
The beginning of the cross-country race, annual track and field meet (with some Philosophy students included)

THE boys assembled in the quadrangle in gym attire. There was tense excItement In the aIr for at any moment the first cross country of the term would begin. How the Priory boys love this sport ; enthusiasm is written on every face. The boys line up ; the word is given and the race has begun.

A happy throng of boys swing out through the Priory gates on to the open road and already two boys are disputing the lead. The runners pass a crowd of onlookers and turn into Ashton Lane. The field is well strung out by now. The foremost runners ascend a steep hill then swing to the right on to a road that twists and turns. As they pound on, signs of fatigue begin to show. But the encouragement from the birds in the tall pines which flank the road seems to spur the leaders on and a group of ten is running very strongly in an endeavour to shake off the hot pursuit.

Ahead rises another steep hill. As the leaders make their way up, one glances over his shoulder and sees that the stragglers are now far behind but running gamely all the same. He laughs and runs on. The half-way mark is reached and from crisp downland we turn across a ploughed field and I can hear the squelching of mud. It is here that the race is decided for it is only the lad with stamina and a strong will that can keep up the pace.

As we pass the White Horse I see the leader well ahead running beautifully. All that remains is the Priory hill. How quickly he mounts this, his speed increasing with every stride. Yes, I see him passing through the gates. The race is won. After the winner four others cross the line almost together. In the distance I see the others pressing forward with determination, tired but happy.

Every week there is a cross country and there is hardly a boy who does not look forward to it with enthusiasm; for to a Priory boy there is no greater pleasure than to go out with the runners.

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