…By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
A Rare Book with Historical Significance
A rare book that played a significant role in the conversion of King Charles II to Catholicism has been unveiled for public display.
The Missale Romanum, also known as the Roman Missal, belonged to Father John Huddleston, who saved the monarch’s life and had the book by his side during Charles II’s conversion on his deathbed.
The Importance of the Missal
The Missale Romanum is a book containing prayers and texts used by priests during the Mass and throughout the liturgical year.
This particular copy, published in 1623, was acquired by the National Trust through an auction and will now be exhibited at Moseley Old Hall, near Wolverhampton, 363 years after it first arrived there.
It bears Father Huddleston’s signature and even has drops of candle wax on some pages.
Insights into Catholicism during Challenging Times
The acquisition of the Huddleston Missal holds immense historical and cultural value.
It offers insight into the usage and circulation of Roman Catholic books during a period when it was risky to be anything other than Anglican.
Tim Pye, the national curator at the National Trust, emphasized the significance of Father Huddleston’s inscriptions and annotations, underscoring the personal and cherished nature of the book to him.
Father Huddleston’s Role and Connection to Charles II
Father Huddleston, a Benedictine priest, resided in Moseley and lived disguised as a servant.
He was sheltered and protected by the Catholic Whitgreave family, who remained loyal to the Royalists even after the execution of Charles I in the English Civil War.
During the Anglo-Scottish War, Charles II sought refuge at Moseley following the defeat of his royalist forces by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians.
Father Huddleston concealed the king in a priest hole beneath a cupboard floor when armed troops arrived searching for him.
A Remarkable Escape and Charles II’s Conversion
Charles II’s incredible escape and subsequent events unfolded at Moseley.
The bed on which the king slept during his time there remains preserved.
He often consulted various books, including the Missale Romanum, from Father Huddleston’s library.
After the restoration of Charles II to the throne, Father Huddleston served as chaplain to both Queen Henrietta Maria, the King’s mother, and Catherine of Braganza, his wife.
When Charles II was on his deathbed in 1685, Father Huddleston administered the sacraments, heard his confession, and received him into the Catholic Church.