One of our more curious finds from Batch 10, a public apology for peculiar events in which a young family were required to “strip naked both herself and Infant Child” and return clothing gifted to her by the church.



A strained wrist

While digitising the Cardinal Newman Archive we don’t have much time to stop and read what we put in front of us, the project would take much longer if we did.

Here I had quickly glanced at the style of writing, seen “Orphanage” as the address and assumed that it was penned by a child. But this time I paused and looked a little further… It’s not written by a chid at all but by an injured Ambrose St. John. We’ve done our best to transcribe letters from this episode below, however if you have any better ideas please let us know.

“July 25, Orphanage, Deal

Dr Fr,

I have strained my wrist and shall stay here a day or 2. Dr says all well in a few days
Yours aff.

A St J.”




“Tuesday 26, Deal

My Dear Father,

My hand is so much better that I must write a line to tell you not to be anxious about it. I can almost use it today. I shall D.V. go to Putney after Post time & then go on Thursday straight to Brighton & then on the Monday after on my trip if all is well. I am perfectly well (DF?) in health & spirits & have had a great time with the “old boy” abusing Deal pavements. All the same the place is much improved, a new pier and a long new Parade.

The Kearsage has been lying here. I have just seen her off. Please now dear Fr.don’t be anxious I am totally free from pain. Direct next letter 16 Wellington Villas, Wellington Road, Brighton.”





“Deal July 27

Dear Fr,

Thanks for your letter now I shall return to my left, only I wanted to see how much better my writing. I shall avoid London as the Morneys have not got their deed ready. I shall not wait if you wish I could I suppose get the power of Attorney from Brighton. I wish you please to leave it free to me to determine my course at Brighton one straight journey this and done with will be best. I shall I think any how go to Duppe on Monday nor will I go to Lucerne against your wish. My hand is recovering wonderfully fast it only wants strengthening now. I had indeed a very narrow escape of a broken arm. The arm was only bruised and is well now. This May has been very quiet & nice. Say an Ave for me at St. Philips, also remember my ??? anniversary, I cant say Mass yet.

Love to all,

Let dear Wm. write,

Yours Aff,

A St J”




Tracts for the Times – Vanity Fair 1877

We have digitised a number of portraits of Cardinal Newman but this one is a little different from Batch 9.

A chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 20 January 1877. Men of the Day. No. 145. “Tracts for the times.” Caricature by Sir Leslie Ward.


I found this reference to Ward’s caricature in the publication Forty years of “Spy”.

Page 133 – Forty Years of ‘Spy’ – Ward, Leslie – First Published 1915

“Cardinal Newman quite unconsciously placed me in rather an awkward dilemma. At the time when I was anxious to stalk him I heard he was in Birmingham; so I went to Euston Station, and had actually bought my railway ticket when suddenly I caught sight of his Eminence upon the platform. Here was an opportunity not to be missed! I saw him go into the buffet and followed him. He sat down at a small table and ordered soup. I took a seat opposite and ordered food also, studying him closely while he partook of it. But I was not altogether satisfied, and I felt anxious to see him again. So I travelled down to Birmingham, and on the following day I called at the Oratory and asked one of the priests there at what time the Cardinal was likely to go out. Evidently, in spite of my protests, the priest concluded that I wanted an audience with Cardinal Newman, for saying that he would apprize him of my visit, he disappeared. My object had been to perfect my former study by a further glimpse; and a personal interview was really the last thing I desired. There was accordingly nothing left for me but to bolt!

And then this version in an 1889 article ‘How Caricaturists Catch Their Subjects’, Tit-Bits.

“The story as to how I caught Cardinal Newman might interest you. It was necessary for me to go down to the Oratory at Birmingham to see the Cardinal, and I arranged with an old schoolfellow who lived just outside the city of screws, to spend a week with him, and call on my respected subject whilst there. Strange to say, when I got to Euston, the very first man I saw on the platform was the Cardinal himself, who was going down by train. I followed him about, and, though he may never know it, I say at the same table as he did in the refreshment room to which he had gone before starting.

“I went on to my friend’s at Birmingham, and still wanting one or two details, I called at the Oratory one day and inquired what time the reverend father would be going out, as I should like to catch a sight of one I so greatly admired. They told me he had a cold that day, but he might possibly be going out on the morrow. The next day, which was my last, found me waiting, but as nobody came out, I determined to call again. I did.

“’I think the Cardinal will see you,’ said the attendant. ‘I will go up and ask him.’ And do you know, sir, I felt so terribly nervous at the thought of deceiving him, and so fearful that my excuses for calling would not warrant my disturbing the one I wanted to see, that I do not know to this day what message was brought back by the attendant. As soon as he left me I opened the door and quietly bolted!””


Kilpeck Church

This week we digitised pages from George Lewis’ illustrated book of Kilpeck Church in Herefordshire. The Lithographs are by Day & Haghe.

Cardinal Newman is mentioned in the list of Subscribers on the 7th page.

The cropped images below are a small selection of the pages loose in a folder of Batch 8.


South East View






Elaborate West Window carvings




Arched South Doorway


Columns of the Chancel Arch


Carved Stoup


The Symbols of the Evangelists in the Holy of Holies


View of Pilbeck from Dippers Moor


Another interesting web page with further photographs about Kilpeck Church can be found here.










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We are sometimes puzzled by the documents and articles we receive for digitisation within the Newman Project, in the most recent batch are two tin boxes full of duplicate letters. The text reads;

(Page One)

Dear Sir,

As my hand is rather weak, I hope you will excuse me if I leave your letter unanswered.

I am, Dear Sir, yours faithfully

John H Newman


(Page 2)

You are one of those friends and well wishers, who have so kindly addressed to me letters of congratulation on my birthday, – letters for which touched me much, and for your share in which I hereby offer you my sincere thanks.

Feb 24



There are multiple copies of this letter kept in two tin boxes:



As photocopiers had not been invented at the time this letter was composed, and each letter is an exact copy, we assume they hadn’t been copied by hand, so we were a little confused as to how these were made. This led us to look further into Letter Copy Presses and Hectographs, something Cerys had fun researching. If anyone can shed some light on the process that may have been used to produce these copies, then please drop us a comment below.

21st February 1801

Today marks the 214th year of Cardinal Newman’s Birth. The Newman Team marked the occasion with tea and cake!

The digitisation of the archive continues, with close to 140,000 images processed.

Below is an item of interest selected by Newman Project Photographer Tony Richards. We were debating whether this could be a plan for a stained glass window, or perhaps a tiled floor.

B134_F015_D010bFrom a folder named “Early Church and House Plans and Drawings“,


Glass plate negatives

Presently sitting in the CHICC store are three unassuming boxes and one crate. The contents are a little different to previous digitised material: a collection of glass plate negatives.

They vary in size from small 6×9 cm to larger 10×12 inch plates. Some are copies of letters and correspondence, some are personal candids and the larger 10×12 inch plates show the interior of Cardinal Newman’s room at Birmingham Oratory, potentially an exciting and important visual record.


The plates will have to be carefully cleaned and rehoused by our conservation team prior to digitisation.


For the time being, here is a plate of Cardinal Newman sitting patiently for the camera. We really look forward to getting started on this part of the collection.