' CHAPTER XII.
REVIEW OF THE MISSIONS IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE.
1. THE first in importance is unquestionably Bristol.
From the so-called Reformation until the accession of George II., in no commercial city of the British empire was Catholic faith and practice more discouraged and depressed than in Bristol. Monsieur Jorevin, as quoted by Mr. Evans in his History of Bristol, vol. ii. p. 306, assures us, that towards the end of King Charles II/s reign, " no one can hear Mass at Bristol, though it is a port frequented by many Catholics, - Flemish, and French, and Spaniards, and Portuguese." That a priest did venture to exercise his functions here, after King James II. had mounted the throne, is evidenced by the Auto-Biography of Sir John Bramston, recently published by the Camden Society (1845) : -
"On Sunday last, April 25, 1686, at Bristol, information being given to the mayor that Mass was sayinge in a house in that citie, he took with him the sheriffs and some aldermen, and went and apprehended the preisfc and the conventicle, and committed the preist and some of the company to the gaole, and sent to the bishope, Sir Jonathan Tre-lawney, notice of it. His lordship carried the letter to the king." P. 225.
And in p. 229 we read : -
"The priest that was committed by the mayor of Bristoll was brought to the king's barr 10th May ; but owing to the absence of the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Edward Herbert, and of his council, Mr. Brent, he was remanded to to the King's Bench prison."
Mr. Coppinger, a well-qualified teacher, attempted to open a school at Kingsdown, near Clifton; at first his prospects were favourable, but when it was discovered that he was a Papist, every hope of success vanished, and he was compelled to decamp. This occurred about a century ago.
By a letter received from the Rev. Patrick O'Ferrall, dated Bristol, September 19th, 1854, I learn that about 1743 a Bristolian firm (Query Champion's, see Evans's History, vol. ii. p. 226,), anxious to introduce spelter or zinc-working from Flanders, could not induce any of the Flemish workmen to come over unless the free exercises of their religion were secured to them; " and so, in the combat, Bristol cupidity overcame Bristol stupidity, and the men were allowed to practise their religion without molestation."
That the Jesuits were the first to create and serve the Bristol mission, is a fact that I believe no reasonable man can doubt. But the first name that I have met with, is F. John Lallart, who was there soon after the accession of King George II.; but retired to Boulogne, where he died 25th September, 1743, set. fifty-one. He was succeeded by F. John Scudamore (of the ancient family of Scudamore, co. Hereford, whose father resided at Pembridge Castle, as his great-nephew, Mr. Jones, of Tolcarne, informed me). Mr. Scudamore resided at Bristol about forty years, was much beloved by his little flock for his zeal and piety; and Mr. Jones aforesaid, who resided with him for a time, stated to me "that his manner of living was very plain and mode-rate." His first place of worship was the upper room of a house at Hook's Mills, behind the small church, near the Orphan Asylum on Ashley Down. He after a time removed the chapel to St. James's Back, where a lady, Mrs. Player, now in her eighty-ninth year, remembers saying her catechism. The death of this venerable pastor occurred at Bristol on 8th April, 1778, aged eighty-two; and the late Rev. James Parker, S.J., who assisted at his funeral, pointed out to me the spot, opposite the porch of St. James's church, where his honoured remains were deposited.
F. John Fontaine, who had arrived in 1777, in attendance on F. Scudamore, was the first to commence a register. He quitted after the riots of 1780, when he was replaced by F. Thomas Brewer. In his time, the want of better accommodation for public worship than the miserable room in St. James's Back afforded was seriously felt; and it was resolved to erect a new one. I copy the following extract from an original letter addressed by the said Rev. James Parker, to the Rev. Joseph Dunn, on 12th April, 1822 :- "The first £300, towards purchasing premises, was collected by me, in company with the Rev. Thomas Brewer, then resident missionary of Bristol, in the streets of London. The Rev. Charles Neville, S. J., gave £300 also, for house and chapel; the Rev. James Adams, S.J., contributed to the same £200. Many collections were received by the Rev. Eobert Plowden (the successor of F. Brewer), from his relations and friends." In a previous letter, the same F.Parker, on 17th January, 1822, calls the Jesuits "the proprietors of that mission." F. Thomas Brewer died on 18th April, 1787, and in.... '
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