Yesterday evening the Farmers Club in Bury St Edmunds hosted the launch party for The Gages of Hengrave and Suffolk Catholicism, 1640-1767, which was officially published back in June and was issued to members of the Catholic Record Society as their volume for 2015 in late July. I am very grateful to the Farmers Club for generously hosting this event, especially since the building now occupied by the Club was the Gage family’s townhouse from the 1670s until 1767. The Gages originally owned what is now numbers 9, 10 and 11 Northgate Street (the Farmers Club is number 10), and the launch reception took place in the fifteenth-century great hall which is hidden behind a later Georgian frontage. The panelling in the great hall is seventeenth-century and, according to tradition, was taken from Hengrave Hall. I am also grateful to my publishers, Boydell & Brewer, for arranging a 25% discount for books purchased at the event.
The event was extremely well attended, and I was delighted that the Suffolk Records Society was represented by its President and Secretary; the Sisters of the Assumption were represented by Sr John Mary and the Catholic Record Society by Alan Dures. Distinguished guests included Joy Rowe, the doyenne of East Anglia’s Catholic history, and Margaret Statham, whose work on Bury St Edmunds is unsurpassed. I was honoured by the attendance of so many leading lights of Suffolk history. I delivered a short talk on the Gages in the newly restored lecture room, which looks out over Northgate Street.