On March 31st Dom Augustine Roulin died in a Leeds nursing home. He had been confined to his bed since last November, following an accident in which he broke his leg. His seventy-eight years and failing health did not allow the broken bone to repair itself and after the first disappointment on hearing of this he became perfectly resigned to the Will of God.
He was born in France on April 15th, 1860 at Savigné I'Evêque and was educated at the Collège de Précigne and the Grand Seminaire of Le Mans. At the age of twenty he received the habit at Solesmes and was ordained nine years later. He was then sent to the monastery of Silos and later to the Abbey of St Michael at Farnborough, both monasteries of the Congregation of Solemnes. In 1903 he applied for a transfer to the English Congregation and was affiliated to Ampleforth in 1905. Since that date, nearly all his life was spent at Filey, Yorkshire, where he began the parish and built the church which is perhaps his most lasting monument. He retired on account of his health in 1932 but was able to undertake work as chaplain for periods until within a few months of his death.
He was tireless in his enthusiasm for ecclesiastical art and architecture. While at Silos he tramped for many miles collecting materials for his Mélanges Archéologiques on the architecture of the Province of Burgos. He took with him a plate camera and all the necessary apparatus for developing and was indifferent to creature comforts, living and sleeping in the roughest of quarters.
All his holidays were of this kind - carefully planned itineraries to places which promised the greatest yield of information. The two most remarkable works which he published are well known: Linges Insignes et Vêtements Liturgiques and Nos Eglises which appeared only a few months before his accident. On this latter book he spent twenty years in collecting materials and five years on the text. He contributed many articles on liturgical art to a variety of periodicals. Yet his was no merely theoretical appreciation of the beautiful in all that appertained to the House of God.
His efforts as an architect can be seen at Filey. This church was a labour of love for him and he spent all his care on its every detail. Although he did not reject any of the traditional styles yet he seems to have favoured the Byzantine most and Filey church is a perfect example of a small modern Byzantine church.
As a designer of vestments he was much in demand. He made a number of sets of vestments for Cardinal Bourne which are used at Westminster Cathedral and many examples of his work can be seen in his own monastery. Although he aimed at restoring a tradition which seemed but a few years ago to be almost lost, yet he was able to combine new things and old with pleasing skill.
Dom Augustine was a Frenchman to the end. Although he was for so many years the parish priest of a Yorkshire town yet his accent and mannerisms left no doubt as to the country of his origin. It will be long before the people of Filey forget Father 'Rowlin.'
In his last months he owed much to the loving care of the Sisters of St Joseph at Horsforth, Leeds. He served them as chaplain until his accident when they were able amply to repay him during his last infirmity.
EUGENE AUGUSTINE ROULIN 31 March 1939 1860 15 Apr Born at Savigne l'Eveque France Educ at College of Precigne for 4 years Educ at Grand Seminaire du Mans for 2 years 1880 29 Apr Habit at Solesmes 1882 8 Sep Simple Vows 1883 19 May$$ Subdiaconate 1885 9 Sep Solemn Vows 1886 19 Jan Diaconate 1889 10 Jul Priesthood 1903 Oct Came to live at Ampleforth 1905 2 Aug Formally affiliated 1904 Spilsby 1905 10 Oct$$ Filey Incumbent at Filey Jun Convent chaplain Built the parish church at Filey after his own design 1909 Priest house added 1932 Jul Returned to Ampleforth 1939 31 Mar Died at St Joseph's House Outward Lane Horsforth Leeds, where he had served for some months as chaplain, till he met with an accident Buried at Ampleforth $$ His live study was Christian art & was the author of two standard works Linges Insignes et Vetements Liturgiques and Nos Eglises. An English translation of the French has been made by Dom Justin McCann