Yesterday a copy of my book A History of the Bishop’s Palace at Ely: Prelates and Prisoners was presented as a gift to HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who presided at the official re-opening of the Palace as a home for the Sixth Form of King’s Ely. The Duke, who originally studied Architecture, showed great interest in the history and fabric of the building, which is now much better understood than it was as a result of the extensive work of restoration and renovation carried out by the school. Amongst other things, restoration has opened up the original arches of the loggia supporting the Long Gallery (built by Bishop Goodrich in 1549) and uncovered original 15th and 16th century ceilings. The official re-opening of the Palace was marked by a service in Ely Cathedral, In his sermon the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, compared the work of his predecessors Bishops Alcock and Goodrich on the Palace and suggested that the building’s use as a centre of learning may be the best purpose to which it has yet been put.
My article ‘The Tasburghs of Flixton and Catholicism in North-east Suffolk, 1642-1767’ has just been published in volume 42 of Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. The Tasburghs were the most important recusant family in the northeast quadrant of Suffolk from the mid-seventeenth century onwards; unusually, they did not remain Catholic throughout the reign of Elizabeth but converted to Catholicism as a consequence of the influence of Lettice Cressy, widow of Sir John Tasburgh, after his death in 1629. The Tasburghs went on to experience severe hardship during the Civil War but were responsible for the earliest Benedictine mission in East Anglia, founded in 1657 and still functioning today in the form of the Benedictine-run parish of Bungay. This article traces the decline of the Tasburghs in the eighteenth century and the provisions they made to ensure the continuation of Catholicism in the Waveney Valley and beyond.
A version of the paper I recently delivered to the Catholic Family History Society conference has been published in the December 2012 edition of Catholic Ancestor, the society’s journal.