It is now fifty-six years since I wrote my first piece for Recusant History, and I am happy to have survived to welcome its reincarnation. Since its foundation in 1951 as an addendum to Gillow’s Biographical Dictionary of English Catholics it has had an honourable career, getting into print a number of essential contributions to the history of Catholics in England, mainly between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. It has been a companion to the distinguished bibliographical work of Anthony Allison, David Rogers and Tom Birrell. It was a creation of laymen, which is to say that it was an attempt to transcend the efforts of a period when this history had been largely a monopoly of the clergy, and ran the risk of degenerating into feuds between rival sections of that body. This lay input was much strengthened by the effect of the 1944 Education Act, which produced numbers of students keen to make a mark in the field. In view of their education, they did not necessarily alter the terms in which questions were put, and when the modest journal was launched a degree of hegemony in the Catholic Record Society was being exercised by the Jesuit side, which ought to have but failed to put out the letters and papers of Robert Persons. It had an invitation to wider thoughts in the philo-Jesuit lectures on the Counter-Reformation of the Cambridge academic Outram Evennett, delivered also in 1951.1 As these were not published until 1968 the invitation was muffled, but something of it was in the atmosphere.