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ISBN: 9780857043320
AUTHOR: Peter Cornwall & Denis Clarke
Prior Park College (2018 Edition)
Prior Park College (2018 Edition)
  • Description

Prior Park College was born in the nineteenth century, the dream of a Benedictine Bishop, Peter Augustine Baines. He believed that as the Catholic Church re-emerged from years of persecution it needed educated priests and an educated laity.

It was a wildly ambitious scheme, embracing not just a school but a seminary and university as well, housed in the glorious Palladian mansion built by Ralph Allen overlooking Bath.

But trust in Divine Providence became a substitute for sound finance and then devastating fire swept through the building. Baines died and the enterprise was written off as a white elephant.

Revival under the gentle, scholarly, golf-loving Dr Edward Williams was not sustained, but then the Irish Christian Brothers took charge. Under their control, Prior Park produced a stream of priests, bishops, archbishops and even a cardinal, as well as international rugby players, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, musicians and servants of the theatre.

In the 1980s the Brothers left Prior Park but it has risen again under lay leadership and has become a flourishing co-educational ecumenical community with firm Catholic roots.

Father Peter Cornwell, former chaplain of Prior Park College, charts the many times the Phoenix has crashed to earth in flames only to rise again. He highlights the many characters who have left an indelible mark on the school, both masters and pupils. In doing so he creates a frank but sympathetic portrait of a remarkable institution that has shaped the lives of thousands.

Peter Cornwell was born in 1934, the son of an Anglican Archdeacon. Educated at Kingís School Bruton and Worcester College Oxford, he studied at Cuddesdon in preparation for Ministry in the Church of England. He returned to Cuddesdon to become Chaplain and then Vice-Principal under Robert Runcie, before serving as a parish priest in the north of England. In 1975 he became Vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. He also served on the Chadwick Commission on Church and State, was Proctor in Convocation for York and was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England.

In 1983 Peter Cornwell was received into the Catholic Church and, among other appointments, became chaplain of Prior Park College. In retirement he is now Assistant Priest at St Johnís church, Bath. He is the author or editor of five other books, and is a regular contributor to the Tablet. Father Peter is married and has two children.

Denis Clarke is a graduate of the University of Bradford and was Deputy Headmaster at Prior Park College for 24 years, having been Head of History and a Housemaster. He joined the school in 1978 and served all four lay Headmasters of Prior Park before retiring in 2016. His daughters are alumni of the College.

Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 332 0, hardback, 297x210mm, 160 pages. Published November 2018.

Web Price: £24.99
28.96 EUR 31.24 USD 40.93 AUD

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