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Archives of Cambridge University Catholic Association (CUCA) and the Fisher Society, 1895 - 2010

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/CATH

Scope and Contents

The activities - administrative, religious, social, financial - of both Cambridge University Catholic Association (CUCA) and the Fisher Society are well reflected in the surviving records. As both bodies and successive chaplains have shared accommodation, activities and personnel down the decades, their archives overlap and interlink. All, for instance, have been involved in fundraising to support the operating costs of the chaplaincy and the physical development of Fisher House. Where it is clear however that either CUCA or the Fisher Society was responsible for creating a series of records this is recorded in the catalogue entry.


  • Creation: 1895 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

The University Archives are generally freely available to the holder of a reader's ticket for the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR. Restrictions on access are imposed on certain categories of sensitive record: financial, governmental and personal, by order of the originating body or under data protection legislation. Access information, including opening hours and how to obtain a reader's ticket, appears as part of the Library's web site (

Biographical / Historical

The forerunner of the Cambridge University Catholic Association was the Catholic Church Maintenance Association (CCMA), established in 1887 by Baron Anatole von Hügel, curator of the Museum of Ethnology, and Canon Scott, priest at the church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs. In February 1899, CCMA was reorganised as Cambridge University Catholic Association (CUCA). Von Hügel had been instrumental in persuading the Holy See in 1895 to lift its ban on Catholics attending English universities. He was also one of the leading lights in the establishment in 1896 of St Edmund's House as an academic institution for Catholic students at Cambridge. The first chaplain to the University was Fr. Edmund Nolan, selected by the Universities' Catholic Education Board in 1896. Thereafter, CUCA worked alongside the Board (from 1932 renamed the Oxford and Cambridge Catholic Education Board) in the appointment of a chaplain and provision of an oratory for Catholics in the University. All lay members of the University were, in the first decades of its existence, automatically considered members of CUCA. The Fisher Society was set up in 1895 as a literary and debating society for Catholic undergraduates, its membership overlapping with that of CUCA. In addition to his religious and pastoral duties, the chaplain organised weekly 'conferences' on philosophical, historical and religious subjects and engaged guest speakers. In 1966 the chaplaincy amalgamated with that provided for women which had operated from Lady Margaret House, near Newnham College, since 1937. Edmund Nolan was appointed the first chaplain 1896-1902. He was followed by: Arthur Stapylton Barnes 1902-16; James Bernard Marshall 1918-22; John Ludlow Lopes 1922-8; George John MacGillivray 1928-32; Alfred Newman Gilbey 1932-65; Richard Laurence Incledon 1966-77; Maurice Couve de Murville, 1977-82; Christopher Jenkins 1982-8; John Osman 1988-94; Allan White 1994-2000; Alban McCoy 2000-13; Mark Langham 2013- . By 1899 CUCA had rented rooms in 20 Green Street to act as chapel and sitting room for the chaplain who resided at St Edmund's House. For the period 1906-18 Llandaff House, St Andrew's Street, was occupied by the chaplaincy, followed from 1918 by 2 Round Church Street. In 1924 the Black Swan Inn on Guildhall Street was purchased for the chaplaincy. After conversion to provide chapels, accommodation, offices, library and club rooms, it opened as Fisher House in 1925. Saved from demolition in the 1950s and 1960s as part of the redevelopment of central Cambridge, it was extended in the 1970s with the addition of a new chapel by architect Gerard Goalen. The following publications provide background information: i) Peter Gregory-Jones A history of the Cambridge Catholic chaplaincy 1895-1965 (Cagliari, 1986), the copy in the University Library has the classmark Cam.c.986.16; ii) Nicholas Rogers (ed.) Catholics in Cambridge (Leominster: Gracewing, 2003), the copy in the University Library has the classmark Cam.c.2003.4.


14 linear metre(s) : paper, photograph

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The majority of the archives were transferred to the University Archives from Fisher House on deposit by Dr Claire Daunton, CUCA treasurer, on 1 April 2011. CATH 6/8 (addnl), 6/10 (addnl) and 6/11(addnl) were transferred on the same terms by Dr Daunton on 15 June 2011. CATH 1/6 (addnl), 3/3/3, 3/7/3-4, 3/9 (addnl), 3/10 were transferred on the same terms by Dr Daunton on 7 Sept. 2012. CATH 1/1/4-5, 1/3 (addnl), 1/4/1 (addnl), 2/2/2, 2/3/1 (addnl), 3/2 (addnl), 3/3/2/1-3, 5, 8-11, 13-16, 18-19, 21-2, 25, 3/7/2A, 3/9, 3/11, 5/19, 6/14, 9/1 were transferred on the same terms by Dr Daunton and Mr Michael Rutter on 19 Aug. 2013. CATH 1/2 (addnl), 2/3/4/1-19, 3/3/3/2-9 and 5/12 (addnl) were transferred on the same terms by Dr Daunton on 9 October 2015.

Related Materials

Among the University Archives, see also the papers of Baron Anatole von Hügel (1854-1928) and the Cambridge University Catholic Association, ca 1890-1934 (catalogued as UA SOC.IV). Among the Manuscripts holdings of the University Library, see also the papers of the Oxford and Cambridge Catholic Universities' Board, 1951-99 (catalogued as Ms.Add.9662).

Related Materials

The catalogues of the archives of St Edmund's College are published on Janus at


The online catalogue was completed in May 2011 and emended in June 2011, January 2013, March 2014 and February 2016.


Cambridge University Catholic Association; Fisher Society

Finding aid date

2011-05-05 12:37:56+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom