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Charles Newdigate SJ (1863-1942)

Charles Alfred Newdigate SJ was the son of an Anglican clergyman who converted to Catholicism when Charles Newdigate was about ten.  Charles himself converted soon afterwards and completed his education at Stonyhurst.    He joined the Society of Jesus in 1881.  He spent much of his early career as a Jesuit teaching, primarily at St Ignatius School in Stamford Hill.  Later he became involved in the Martyrs Cause, working towards the canonisation of 16th and 17th century martyred English Catholics, together with John Hungerford Pollen SJ.  

Newdigate's great study was of Catholic books and print culture in the later 16th and 17th centuries.   He researched secret presses in England, the English College Press at St Omers and other presses on the continent which printed works for English Catholics, particularly those at Rouen and Douai.  He turned his attention to historic Catholic libraries at St Omers, Liège and Stonyhurst.  He identified many editions of works by English Jesuits.  He made copious notes, some of which survive in the Jesuit Archive, and also annotated many of the books themselves.

Newdigate collected examples of these works, and consolidated the collection kept at Mount Street.  He annotated many of the books and put distinctive circular stickers with the date hand-written on their spines.  His notes often say where he bought a book and how much he paid, or who donated it. Sometimes he noted bibliographical information or copied out a missing title page from another copy of the book from another library.  He would make handwritten facsimiles of title pages for books that lacked their own title pages, sometimes noting where he had found one to copy.  Occasionally he would write out several pages of missing text and have it bound into a book.

His interventions are far too numerous to list here so we have made a case study of one volume, A/1183,  which Newdigate annotated in various ways.   This volume consists of 3 works, all by John Warner SJ, published in 1679, 1680 and 1680 or 1681 respectively, all concerning the Popish Plot and Titus Oates. 

The slider gallery below has images of volume A/1183.  Use the arrows to move from one image to the next.  Scroll below the gallery to see more information on each image.


Image 1. On the spine of the volume are two instances of the Newdigate's annotations.  The title has been written in black ink presumably where the original one had become illegible.  Newdigate also affixed a circular paper sticker with the date written on.  This sticker appears on many of the books in our collection, and is  known as a 'Newdigate Roundel', and many of the books have the title written in Newdigate's distinctive handwriting.

Image 2.  The paste down of this volume has a pencil note in Newdigate's hand: 'Ex Arch. Prov. Angl. S.J. e dono Coll. Heythr. 1932'  This tells us that the volume had belonged to Heythrop College but in 1932 was given to the Archives of the English Jesuit Province.  Pasted lower down the page is a contents list in Newdigate's hand, stating that the author of all the works was John Warner and that there is a note in Warner's hand in the final work.  There is also a loose leaf of paper with pencil notes by Newdigate.  On this he has made a brief subject index, with page numbers, presumably for his own research.  

Image 3.   The third work in the volume is missing its first 32 pages, including the title page.  Fr Newdigate copied the title page in black from another copy, maintaining in manuscript the layout of the printed title page.  At the top, in pencil, he has written [wanting pp 1-32].  At the bottom he wrote [Copy of Title page, edit. S. Omers, 1681]  However it is unclear if the succeeding pages (33-94) are from an English College Press edition on 1681, or of an edition printed probably in Antwerp in 1680.  Further research is needed here.

Image 4.  A marginal note in the third work is identified by Newdigate as being written by the author, John Warner SJ.  Newdigate has transcribed the annotation on a separate sheet of paper, which was inserted here, and also written in pencil on the page 'The above is autograph of F. John Warner S.J.'

The three works in the volume are:

Warner, John SJ, Anti-fimbria or an answer to the animadversions uppon the last speeches of the fiue Jesuits executed at Tyburne. [Antwerp] 1679. A/1183a

Warner, John SJ, A defence of the innocency of the lives, practice and doctrine of the English priests, Jesuits and papists relating to the crimes of murther and treason unjustly charged on them. [Liege?] 1680. A/1183b

Warner, John SJ, A vindication of the English Catholiks from the pretended conspiracy against the life and government of his sacred majesty. Discovering the chiefe lyes & contradictions contained in the narrative of Titus Oates. [Antwerp] 1681. A/1183c

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