Catalogue description Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, Magdalen Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, school diaries

This record is held by East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO)

Details of amsnn/AMS6790
Reference: amsnn/AMS6790
Title: Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, Magdalen Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, school diaries

TThe Society of the Holy Child Jesus was a Catholic religious teaching order founded by Mrs Cornelia Connelly, née Peacock (1809-1879), a native of Philadelphia, USA. Cornelia, a mother of five children born between 1832 and 1840, converted to the Catholic faith in 1835 with her husband Pierce, who had formerly been an Episcopalian minister. Pierce decided to be ordained into the priesthood, and Cornelia then decided to follow a religious vocation also. She was encouraged by prominent churchmen to found a new religious order in England; Cardinal Wiseman, the archbishop of Westminster, thought that she would be able to encourage middle-class women to become nuns. Cornelia opened the first convent of the Holy Child Jesus in Derby in 1846, and she was installed by Wiseman as the superior-general of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, on 21 December 1847. Pierce subsequently left the church, regained control of the couple's children, and instituted unsuccessful civil proceedings for the restitution of conjugal rights. In 1848 the Society's mother-house moved to St Leonards. A Catholic priest, the Rev John Jones had retired to Magdalen Road, and received a legacy from Lady Barbara Stanley (née Towneley) in order to found a charity. Jones purchased 15 acres of land which was part of the Eversfield estate. The property was intended as a centre for Catholic charities; Jones called it All Souls, and work on the buildings commenced. He offered the premises to various Catholic groups, who declined because the position was isolated, before they were accepted by Mother Connelly. In 1863 Mother Connelly founded a similar school at Mayfield in the ruins of the Old Palace. She died at Mayfield on 18 April 1879 and was buried in the chapel there. After the Second World War it was found difficult to maintain viable Sixth forms at both St Leonards and Mayfield, and accommodation was limited. In 1947 Mayfield ceased taking juniors and directed girls below the Lower Third Form to the junior school of St Leonards. In 1953 the schools merged and became St Leonards-Mayfield: Mayfield housed the Senior School, and St Leonards became the Lower or Preparatory School. The Lower School moved to new buildings at Mayfield in 1976, and the former buildings, which are now (2007) thought to be owned by Opus Dei, are used as a language school.

Date: 1918-1938
Held by: East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), not available at The National Archives
Former reference in its original department: AMS 6790
Language: English
Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased 7 June 2007 (ACC 9712)

Custodial history:

Purchased from eBay by FESRO for £85

Purchased from eBay by FESRO for £85

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