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Simon Bordley (1709-1799) was a Catholic priest of humble status in rural Lancashire for much of the eighteenth century. Despite his rural location and apparently humble status, he played an important part in supporting the Catholic seminaries in France and Portugal by supplying them with students, material goods and financial assistance. Bordley left behind him a lively correspondence relating to these activities which provides us with a valuable insight into the world of eighteenth-century priestly training in the English colleges. It also offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of a churchman who laboured with an impressive level of entrepreneurial skill and independence. This article argues that Bordley defies the common image of the seigneurial Catholic curate in service primarily to a family of the landed gentry in the eighteenth century. In doing so he illustrates an example of the type of energetic cleric who provided a crucial lifeline to a church that came to rely less and less on its aristocracy as the century progressed.
After retiring from a successful diplomatic career in 1966, Sir John Richmond (1909-90) and his wife Diana (1914-97) settled in Durham, where he had accepted a lectureship in Modern Near East History at the University’s School of Oriental Studies. Following the Six-Day War in June 1967, the Richmonds became increasingly concerned at the suffering of Palestinians living in the occupied territories and the strong media bias prevalent at that time. They were instrumental in founding the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) and over the next few years devoted themselves to campaigning on behalf of Palestinians. In addition to monitoring and criticising the secular newspapers, the Richmonds—who were both converts to Catholicism—took a close interest in the leading Catholic papers: The Tablet, The Catholic Herald and The Universe. They engaged in extensive correspondence with their editors—both on the newspaper pages and in private—as well as involving a wider circle of influential Catholic writers and clergy. This article, drawing heavily from the Richmond Papers held at Exeter University’s Special Collections, examines the motives and methods of the Richmonds’ campaign, and attempts to assess whether or not their efforts achieved their aim of changing attitudes.