19th Century

FROM THE LEICESTER CHRONICLE, 24 December 1892

Holy Cross Priory — Special services were held at this place of worship on Sunday in connection with the reopening of the organ after enlargement and thorough renovation by Mr. Porritt, of Leicester. The instrument, for its size, is one of the finest in the town, as will be seen from the specification — Great organ: Stop diapason 8ft., dulciana 8ft., open diapason 8ft.., wald flute 4ft., principal 4ft., mixture three ranks. Swell organ: Lieblich bourdon 16ft., open diapason 8ft., stop diapason 8ft., gamba 8ft., viol d’amour 8ft., principal 4ft., 15th, oboe 8ft., and trumpet 8ft. Pedal organ: Bourdon 16ft., violoncello 8ft. Couplers: Swell to great, swell to pedals, great to pedals. Of these stops the viol d’amour, oboe, trumpet, and ’cello are additions, together with a new radiating and concave pedal organ, and new “action” throughout, while the old pipes, many of them exceedingly mellow, have been re-voiced.

The services were well attended, the preacher being the Very Rev. Dr. Proctor, head of St. Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, London, and formerly Prior of Holy Cross. The rev. gentleman in the morning delivered an eloquent discourse on the power of music, and in the evening made an irresistibly humorous appeal on behalf of the organ fund. At High Mass Haydn’s No. 4 in B flat was exceedingly well rendered, the principal parts being taken by Mrs. W. H. Gamble (soprano), Mrs. Robinson, Miss Sherlock, and Miss Newton (contraltos), Messrs. O’Shea, Day, and E. Colledge (tenors), and A. Morrell and A. Colledge (bassos). Mr. J. Winterhalder efficiently conducted, and in the capable hands of Mr. W. D. Vann, Novello’s organ arrangement of the Mass was heard at its best.

The celebrant was the Provincial, the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly, of Hinckley, assisted by Fathers Cyril Bunce and Cuthbert Wolsey, as deacon and sub-deacon respectively. During the offertory in the morning Mrs Gamble sang Butler’s “O Gloriosa Virginum.”

At Vespers the leading features, musically speaking, were Rossi’s Magnificat, the “Inflammatus” movement from Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and the “Tantum Ergo,” sung to an adaptation of Weber’s familiar air, “Softly Sighs.” The offertories, amounting to £22.9s.0d, were in aid of the organ renovation fund.

[The organ was moved to the Choir of the new church, where it still is, ca. 1928]

FROM THE LEICESTER CHRONICLE, 29 December 1894

Concert and Soiree. The Holy Cross Catholic Church held a reunion at the Temperance Hall on Thursday evening. A concert was first held, and afterwards dancing was indulged in. There was a good attendance, and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was spent.

The programme was as follows: Chorus, “The Tuneful Sound of Robin’s Horn,” members of Holy Cross Choir; duet, “When Old Time Rains Gaily On,” Messrs. A. Colledge and G. Evans; song, “Kerry Dance,” Miss Annett  Johnson; song, “The Charge,” Mr. F. Morral; comic song, “The Frenchman,” Mr. J. E. O’Shea; trio, “The Gipsies’ Laughing Chorus,” Messrs. J. T. Day, E. Colledge, and G. Evans; song, “My Queen,” Mr. Savidge; chorus, “Chorus of Huntsmen” [From Der Freischuz? PJB] members of Holy Cross Choir; chorus, “The Gipsy Chorus,” [presumably Il Trovatore? PJB] members of Holy Cross Choir; duet, “Excelsior,”’ Messrs. J. T. Day and F. Morral; song, “Flight of Ages,” Mrs. Robinson; comic song, “Very Suspicious,” Mr. J. E. O’Shea; song, “Come into the Garden, Maud,” Mr. E. Colledge; song, “Will-o’-the-Wisp,” Mr. G. Evans; humorous song and sketch, Mr. T. R. Russell.

Mr. W. D. Vann acted as pianist, while Mr. J. Winterhalder officiated as conductor.

FROM THE LEICESTER CHRONICLE, 20 April 1895

Holy Cross Catholic Church — On Easter Sunday, at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, at high mass Beethoven’s “Mass in C” was splendidly rendered by a full band and organ, under the leadership of Mr. C. Mansfield. Mr. W. D. Vann presided at the organ, while Mr. J. W. Winterhalder officiated as conductor. The soloists were Mrs. T. R. Russell and Miss Rosa Rugg (soprani), Mrs. Robinson (contralto), Mr. J. T. Day and Mr. E. Cotledge (tenori), and Mr. F. Morrall (basso).

All the artistes sang well, while the choruses were almost perfection. At the Gradual Mr. J. Mansfield played a beautiful solo on the ’cello. The mass was celebrated by the Revs. T. B. Laws (prior), A. Whitehead (deacon), and M. Brown (sub-deacon), while the sermon was preached by the Rev. J.B. Fenton (sub-prior). At the evening service Rossi’s “Magnificat” was well sung, as was also “Tantum Ergo” by the same composer, the duet being given by Messrs. J. T. Day and F. Morrell. Mrs. T. R. Russell sang as an offertory “Thou didst not leave His soul in Hell,” from the “Messiah,” in a splendid manner.

An appropriate sermon was preached by the Rev. T. B. Laws. At both services there was a very large attendance.

FROM THE LEICESTER ADVERTISER, 20 April 1895

AT HOLY CROSS PRIORY CHURCH, on Easter Sunday, the services were of a bright and festive character.  In the morning, at high mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C was capitally rendered by the full choir, accompanied by a full orchestra and organ.  The band was led by Mr. C. Mansfield.  Mr W. D. Vann presided at the organ, and Choirmaster Winterhalder conducted.  The soprano solos were well rendered by Mrs T. R. Russell and Miss Rosa Ragg, Mrs. Robinson giving a good account of the contralto parts.  Messrs. J. T. Day and E. Colledge sang the tenor parts well, whilst Mr F. Morrall gave his best attention to the bass.

The soloists were in good form, singing the parts with taste.  The choruses were, as usual with this choir, sung with a smartness that is most pleasing to the ear.  At the graduale, Mr J. Mansfield played a ’cello solo.  The “Haec Dies” was sung at the offertory, and the “Hallelujah Chorus” was sung at the end of mass, and, as an outgoing voluntary, the band played Mendelssohn’s “Cornelius March.”  The celebrant at mass was the Very Rev. T. R. Laws (prior), Fathers Whitehead and Brown assisting.  The sermon was preached by the Rev. B. Fenton (sub-prior).

At the evening service the music was also very good.  Mrs. T. R. Russell very ably sang as an offertory, “Thou didst not leave his soul in hell” (Messiah); also in Rossi’s “Magnificat” her singing in the solo parts was everything that could be desired.  The tenor and bass parts in the “Magnificat” were sung well by Messrs. Day and Morrall, who also gave a good rendering of the “Tantum Ergo” (Rossi).  The sermon was preached by the Prior.  The altars and other parts of the church were tastefully decorated.  At both services, the church was crowded, many having to stand.

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FROM THE LEICESTER ADVERTISER, 11 May 1895

HOLY CROSS CHURCH – High Mass on Sunday was celebrated by the Very Rev. Father T. R. Laws, O.P., prior, assisted by the Revs. Fathers Fenton and Whitehead, as deacon and sub-deacon, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. Father Cyprian Kelly, O.P.  The musical portion of the service was rendered entirely by Mr. Valentine Smith and his company, who wound up their very successful annual visit to the town by singing a mass which was quite new to the congregation, it being the first time that Gounod’s “Messe Solonelle” has been heard in this town.  Mr. W. H. Vann presided at the organ, and the veteran tenor himself conducted.  The chorus seemed splendidly balanced, and the “Dominus Deus” by Messrs. Smith and Wood was ably rendered.  Mr. Smith was heard to great advantage in the “Sanctus,” but in the “Ave Maria,” with ’cello obligato by Mr. Richardson, he seemed to excel himself.  The “Agnus Dei” for two voices, Miss Davidson and Mr. Smith, is the gem of the work, and was beautifully given, and the “Benedictus” solo by Miss Davidson was a pleasing rendering.  The prayer for the Queen was sung by the whole company at the end of the mass with grand effect.  In the evening, after the vespers, Meyer Lutz’s “Magnificat” was sung by the choir, and the passage from Mendelssohn’s “Lauda Sion” was sung by Mrs. T. R. Russell.  After [the] sermon by the Prior, the usual May procession of the Rosary took place.

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FROM THE LEICESTER CHRONICLE, 13 July 1895

PAINFUL SCENE AT A WEDDING. A painful scene was witnessed in Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, St. Helens [presumably St Helens, Merseyside, so nothing to do with us!], on Monday afternoon, on the occasion of the marriage of Dr. Joseph Unsworth to Miss Nellie Macdonald. At the close of the service, and just as the newly-wedded couple were leaving the church “and receiving the congratulations of their friends, that Rev. Father Gradwell, who had officiated, suddenly fell forward and dropped to the ground unconscious. Several persons ran to his assistance, and found that he was suffering from a severe apoplectic fit. Drs. Unsworth and Mercer, the latter being the best man, at once returned, and Dr. Bassett was also summoned. Notwithstanding every attention, however, the unfortunate clergyman expired at about half past eight.

FROM THE LEICESTER ADVERTISER, 12 October 1895

THE FEAST OF ROSARY SUNDAY was observed at Holy Cross Priory on Sunday.  High Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Father D. B. Fenton O.P. (sub-prior), assisted by the Rev. Fathers R. A. Whitehead, O.P., and Michael Brown, O.P., as deacon and sub-deacon.  After the “Asperges” and before the Mass, trays of choice roses were blessed by the Rev. Father Prior and distributed to the congregation, who took up their position near the rood screen.  Instead of a sermon, an encyclical letter from His Holiness the Pope, touching on the union of the Eastern and Western Churches, was read.

Haydn’s Sixth Mass was well rendered by the choir.  The principal soloists were Mrs. T. R. Russell, Mrs. Robinson and Miss Ragg, Messrs. J. T. Day, F. Morrall and Geo. Evans.  For the offertory solo Gounod’s “Ave Maria” was sung by Mrs. T. R. Russell.  Mr. J. Vann led the band, and Mr. W. D. Vann presided at the organ, while Mr. Joseph Winterhalder wielded the baton.  In the evening the Very Rev. Father Thomas Laws, O.P., occupied the pulpit, preaching a sermon explanatory of the feast.  A grand “Te Deum” was sung during the Benediction service, which was preceded by a procession.  The service closed with the “Tantum Ergo” and the blessing.

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FROM THE LEICESTER CHRONICLE, 26 November 1898

LEICESTERSHIRE ASSIZES. Mr. Justice Mathew arrived in Leicester on Saturday afternoon from Northampton at four o’clock. His Lordship was met at the station by the Under-Sheriff, Mr. W. T. Bowlatch, and, preceded by the customary staff of mounted police, drove to the Judges’ Chambers at the County Assembly Rooms.  Mr. Justice Mathew and Lady Mathew attended Holy Cross Church on Sunday morning. The service was a “Missa cantata,”’ the Very Rev. Prior (Father Joseph Manby) officiating. Hummel in D was well rendered by the choir, Mr Winterhalder conducting. Mr. W. J. Vann presided at the organ. “Deus noster refugium” (Schmid) was given as an offertory piece. Mr. W. J. McNamara acted as master of ceremonies.