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Joseph Blundell SJ (1686-1759)

Joseph Blundell SJ was a member of a recusant family of Lancashire, at least six of whom became Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  He was born at Crosby at Lancashire on 2 May 1686 and entered the Society on 7 September 1703.  He served in Yorkshire for some time, then spent nearly fifty years in the College of the Immaculate Conception in Derbyshire, which was centred on Spinkhill.  He died at Watten in Northern France on the 27 July 1759.

Spinkhill was one of the earliest centres of activity of the Jesuits.  It was the home of the Pole family until the mid eighteenth century and since 1842 has been used as Mount St Mary's College, a Jesuit school.  

While Joseph Blundell was at Spinkhill he seems to have concerned himself with the care of books there, and possibly also of other artefacts.  He wrote his name and a date in more than one book -- perhaps these were personal ones.  He also wrote in other books that they belonged to the College of the Immaculate Conception.  His handwriting is identifiable and his inscriptions proved that the books he wrote in were in that location in the first part of the eighteenth century.  Most of the books he wrote in also have a later stamp of Mount St Mary's College, and were kept there until transfer to the Jesuit Archive in the early 2000s.

In addition to book annotations, Blundell wrote a list of books which were at Spinkhill in 1721.  This is an eight page document which lists 189 books. The main genres in this list are bibles, exegesis, patrology, dogmatic theology, ascetic theology and controversial theology, all areas expected in a Jesuit library.    Many of the books are titles which are in our collection, with Mount St Mary's provenance, so it is likely that some of the 189 items on the 1721 list are  now in our collection.  More work here may clarify this.  Similarly, it has been suggested that some of the books on the 1721 list were ones which were removed there from Holbeck Hall when the Jesuit establishment there was raided and closed and all the books removed, ultimately mainly to Sion College, as part of the turmoil caused by the Popish Plot of 1679.  

Click here to see Blundell's list.


Further reading on this can be found in Dijkgraaf, Hendrik, The Library of a Jesuit Community at Holbeck, Nottinghamshire (1679). LP publications, Cambridge. 2003.   See especially p 90-91, note 209.


The whole of the list is reproduced in the images below, please click on an image to enlarge.

Other images below are of Blundell's annotations in books.


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