28 June 2020

Sir Harry Trelawny (6)

When Miss Trelawny and her sister had restored the domestic chapel at Trelawne as a Catholic chapel, the first Mass there in 1830 was celebrated by "the Abbe Chauvel". I have wondered whether the fact that the Chapel had not been used for Catholic worship until 1830 might be connected with the passing of the Catholic Relief Act of 1829. Under the previous legislation, the Catholic Relief Act of 1791, it had been required that places for Catholic worship should go through an elaborate process of registration before use; and the Act imposed similar formalities upon those desiring to officiate in such buildings. There could have been legal problems in this for Sir Harry or, indeed, other Catholic clergy (section V). Could it be that, by 1830, Section XXV of the 1829 Act, which seems to exempt 'private houses' from such regulation, eliminated such problems with regard to a domestic chapel?

In 1834, Sir Harry died at Levano on the shores of Lake Maggiore; where he was buried. It appears that his male heir was not a Catholic, because "after their father's death, [his daughters] strove to overcome every obstacle to fulfil his last wish, the erection of a chapel on the estate dedicated to Our Lady of Light. It was his constant wish that Our Blessed Lady would bring to his beloved Cornwall that light of Faith that he himself had received. The chapel was built overlooking Talland Bay, and was opened on October 6th 1843."

But let us go back to the Abbe Chauvel. I think he must have been a Breton priest, because, "near [the Trelawny] home [at Saint-Pol-de-Leon], there was a shrine, known in Breton as 'INTRON VARIA AR SKLERDER'. 'Our Lady of Light'. This chapel had been rebuilt and blessed on August 5th 1837, by the Abbe Chauvel." So the Catholic Trelawnys were still keeping in touch with Chauvel after Sir Harry's death; it would be interesting to know what part in the Trelawny story had been played by this priest who was so well placed to take ship from the harbour at Saint-Pol-de-Leon across to Looe. He sounds like a family friend.

Miss Trelawny died in 1860. A family called de Bary rented the estate, renamed Sclerder, from 1876 until 1894; Mrs de Bary procured a statue for the Chapel, and, after her husband's death, eventually found a new home for the Shrine and the devotion and the statue at Clacton on sea in Essex. At some point, a staue of S Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was very suitably placed nearby within the Church. As far as I am aware, it is still a Shrine to our Lady of Light, with a daily Rosary.

Intron Varia ar Sklerder, pedit evidomp!

 Quotations (" ") are  from Fr Cyril Wilson. Later, I will reprint a former post which takes the story through the twentieth century. 

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