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Hugh Allen tells the story of Ignatius’s community from its origins in early 1860s East Anglia to its migration to Wales in 1870, its history through the following four decades (including the controversial 1880 Apparitions), and its demise after the founder’s death in 1908. He also describes the later history of the former monastery, home in the 1920s to the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill and for many years to the family of his eldest daughter, and brings the story up to date with information about the Father Ignatius Memorial Trust and the continuing appeal of New Llanthony as a place of pilgrimage.
The Church Times
In the midst of the burgeoning religious fervour of 19th-century Britain, the tragic-comic figure of Joseph Leycester Lyne [Fr Ignatius] must surely represent the epitome of … the “virtuoso religion” of some of its more enthusiastic and eccentric characters. As such, a book like Hugh Allen’s has been lacking for a long time….. The whole work is forensically researched, meticulously referenced, and fluently written – a winning combination that makes it as enjoyable as it is useful – and the footnotes are often as interesting and informative as the main body of the text. Lyne was either a faithful thwarted prophet or a volatile pious lunatic. Perhaps he was a heady combination of both; but Allen leaves that judgement to the reader, and does so in a masterly fashion. This book has been well worth the wait.
William Davage, New Directions, December 2016
‘An enjoyable, constructive, detailed and compelling study … This is a substantial and significant book, well-researched, rooted in thorough archival sources and attractively, if weightily, presented … comprehensive in its scope, measured and considered in its judgements.'
News Letter of the Anglo Catholic History Society, Autumn 2016
Much meticulous research has gone into this substantial book … Hugh Allen has utilised a wide range of archive relating to Ignatius himself and the community and its associates across the whole the chequered range of its history … All in all this book is a fascinating compendium of information about a bizarre and ambiguous monastic experiment.