EBCH    English Benedictine Congregation History

Allanson, Biographies       See own heading

Marron Papers


Ex incumbenti 1619
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'.

Plantata 1634
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 1881
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.

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

Religiosus Ordo 1889
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 2022.

Diu Quidem 1899
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.

From the Durham priory at Lindisfarne