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The Sloane Correspondence at Ushaw College: the Study of an Expatriate English Catholic (1815-1863)

GRI, LUCIA (2021) The Sloane Correspondence at Ushaw College: the Study of an Expatriate English Catholic (1815-1863). Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis closely examines the letters housed in the archives of Ushaw College, a former Catholic school and seminary located in the outskirts of Durham, written by the alumnus Francis Joseph Sloane to his Alma Mater between 1815 and 1863. The letters are mostly addressed to the Fifth President of the College, Mons. Charles Newsham, an old classmate of Sloane’s. Sloane and Newsham had been pupils in the first cohort of the newly-built college, in 1808, the transplantation of the Catholic College at Douay (‘Le Collège des Grands Anglais’), a school for the children of Catholic English families since the late sixteenth century who, due to the legal proscription of the time, had no opportunity to study in a Catholic school in their own country unless they converted to the established Anglican Church.
At the time of the correspondence Sloane, of Scottish/Swiss emigrés parentage, was residing in Florence, first as a tutor and librarian to the family of Count Boutourline and later on, as the owner of Tuscany’s most productive and profitable copper mine. The letters show how Sloane remained an affectionate and generous alumnus, staunch friend to Ushaw, a concerned and spiritually propinquitous alumnus, ready to support the College, its students and clergy at any request. The letters give us a glimpse of the munificent gifts bestowed, such a Renaissance chalice, precious vestments, sums of money to help finance and enlarge the College buildings, and the establishment of the Sloane Fund for a poor student.
The letters are historically significant as a contemporary record of the development of the fabric of Ushaw College, the development of the new freedom for Catholic believers in England and the philanthropy and dedication which allowed such a fertile renaissance to take place. Additional letters (from Sloane to the Ushaw College clergy and vice-versa) have also been consulted and transcribed to supplement the original collection.
By means of the letters at Ushaw College, an attempt has been made to study the nature of Sloane’s philanthropic demeanour towards Ushaw and Florence (his place of domicile) during the period specified above, with a particular emphasis on the extent of his substantial financial largesse towards the College at a time when such English institutions required as much pecuniary support as they could muster. Moreover, Sloane’s financial support provided an illustration of his role, from his home in Italy, as facilitator and host for Ushaw students and alumni, a tightly knit community, which he maintained for many years out of genuine affection for his Alma Mater.
This research has also discovered further facts of Sloane’s life and antecedents which, it is hoped, provide an additional and fascinating context for his life and his support for the fledgling existence of Roman Catholicism in nineteenth-century Britain.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:F.J. Sloane: Ushaw College ; Florence ; Catholic
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 May 2021 08:30

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