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EBCH    English Benedictine Congregation History

Marron Papers

Fr Stephen Marron (Douai), 1884-1954, was clothed in 1903 at Belmont, after school at St Edmund's when they were still in France. During the 1920's he was Librarian at Douai, Woolhampton, and became interested in the historical materials collected by Br Benet Weldon, also an Edmundian, which are kept in MS at Douai. In time he became convinced that the popular view, led out by Edmund Bishop, that Weldon's work was unreliable if not shoddy, was quite wrong. He wrote the paper on Weldon to prove this, and thereafter became himself a respected Congregational historian and was urged to write other papers. Some of these are available here.
For more detail, see McCann's 'Dom Stephen Marron, Annalist', above.


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Ex incumbenti
Paul V – 23 August 1619. This brief joined together the English monks from the Anglo-Spanish Congregation (that is, the English section of the Spanish congregation) into one body, `to be and to be called the English Congregation, so that being thus united it would be continued and restored, and if there is any need of it, newly erected'.

Urban VIII – 23 April 1634. This Bull confirmed the past status and rights of the English Congregation, and restated the sytem of government by President, Provincials and Priors. Large parts of it were changed by the later Romanos Pontifices and Cliftonien

Romanos Pontifices
Leo XIII – 8 May 1881. This Constitution is the Pope's response to the 12 problems put to him by the English Bishops in 1880. The immediate cause was the dispute between Bishop Vaughan of Salford (later Cardinal) and the Jesuit Provincial over the Jesuits' claimed right to start a school without asking first. But the roots were deeper: they lay in the tension between the new Bishops (the Hierarchy was only restored in 1850) and the religious orders whose missions and schools and independence were deeply entrenched after 300 years of the struggle for survival. The battle was for a time rather noisy. The Pope's decisions were accepted, but with much head shaking. However, like other Roman long-delayed interventions, this one produced a balance which has worked in peace ever since. Moreover, within a short time Rome used the sama ideas for the USA, Canada, South America, the Philippines, and missionary countries in general. It is widely thought that Bishop Clifford of Clifton had a hand in writing the text.

The Rescript (from a special Congregation of Cardinals) held on 6 July 1883, cutting the powers given to General Chapter in Plantata

Religiosus Ordo
Leo XIII – 12 November 1889. An Apostolic Letter, this carries more weight. Starting with Sigebert Buckley, it outlines the history of the Congregation since the sixteenth century. Its most important provision was to abolish the two Provinces, and the Provincials, and to place the Missions (which were already growing into fixed parishes, a process completed with the revised Code of Canon Law in 1918, directly under the Monasteries, as they still are in 1997.

Diu Quidem
Leo XIII – 29 June 1899. The title of this Apostolic Constitution gives the game away - `It is a long time since the English Benedictine communities aroused our interest...' By this were fixed the present structure and government of the EBC, and the then three independent houses, Downside, Ampleforth and Douai (then still in France) were given the normal status of independent Abbeys. There have been only updates to this arrangement since that time.