Monday, June 6, 2011

Another Recusant English House

Joanna Bogle contributed this article to Voices about Ufton Court in the Thames Valley:

Ufton Court is a beautiful English manor house in a beautiful part of the country, the Thames Valley (about 30 miles from London). It has a recently restored barn that is now popular for local wedding receptions and other gatherings. The house is rich in history and has been used by schools to enable pupils to study the Tudor period in genuine Tudor surroundings -- making pomanders, dressing in Tudor costumes, enjoying an Elizabethan-style banquet.

But for Catholics this is a place with a special resonance as it has no fewer than four priest-hides (or priest holes), plus a private oratory.

The family that lived here throughout the Reformation period was a Catholic family. The whole of this area of England has a number of Catholic strongholds -- not so far away is Stonor, where Saint Edmund Campion had his secret printing-press.

Ufton Court was used for Mass, celebrated in its oratory. The design of the house is such that someone keeping watch in a room over the front porch would be able to see anyone approaching even while they were some distance away. A priest could be quickly bundled into one of the hides -- which interconnect with a series of passages -- while the house was cleared of any evidence of Mass and the crowd dispersed into various harmless activities around the extended household.

More about Ufton Court and its history here.

No comments:

Post a Comment