Page 1, 1st November 1957

1st November 1957
Page 1
Page 1, 1st November 1957 — MGM CANON BROWN IS 90

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Westminster's `Father of the Liturgy'

A PRIEST who saw the birth and growth of Westminster Cathedral and is the only one left of those priests appointed by Cardinal Vaughan 55 years ago to establish the liturgical life there, will be 90 years of age on Monday.

He is Mgr. Canon Charles Edward Brown and Mgr. Gordon Wheeler, Administrator of the Cathedral, has contributed this vignette to THE CA [HUM HERALD.


MGR. CANON CHARLES EDWARD BROWN of Westminster Cathedral will celebrate his 90th birthday next Monday, the feast of his patron St. Charles.

He saw the birth and growth of the Cathedral and even now participates when he is able to

' do so in the liturgical life which he was sent here to establish.

For he is the only one left of those priests appointed by Cardinal Vaughan 55 years ago to start the daily High Mass, Vespers and other hours of the Divine Office, which more than anything else has caused Westminster to be called the " live" Cathedral.

His personal fidelity to the high ideal set before him is exemplified by the stability and integrity of his life.

Yet he was a priest for 10 years before he came to the Cathedral and during the period 1892-1902 a professor at St. Edmund's College, Ware. Born at Hampstead in 1867 he was brought up in the Dominican parish of Haverstock Hill, making his First Communion in the old Church which is now the Aquinas Centre.


He is the last living link with St. Thomas' Seminary, Hammersmith, (now the Sacred Heart Convent) where he did his studies for the priesthood during the latter years of Cardinal Manning.

When the weather is cold, he frequently refers to those days ; for no heating at all was provided at Hammersmith except when the Cardinal made his all-too-rare visits.

Cardinal Vaughan singled 'him out for the new Cathedral not only for his dependability and love of the liturgy but for his great musical knowledge and his vocal talents.

There are still some old members of the parish who can recall the beauty of his baritone voice on both religious and secular occasions.

Those of us who did not know him in his prime find no difficulty in believing these reports when we hear the full-toned resonance of his vocal chords to-day. He belonged to a generation that had no need of microphones and for whom there were no asides.


He was well-known. especially in the Horscfcrry Road, district, for his pastoral solicitude and sat on many committees. He became a Privy Chamberlain in 1914 and a Domestic Prelate 25 years later.

In 1917 he was appointed Canon Penitentiary of the Westminster Chapter : a post which he still holds. He ceased to be SubAdministrator of the Cathedral and Rector of the College of Chaplains in 1954 when Canon Bartlett succeeded him.

He still lives on, in our midst, however, and we hope that he will long be spared to do so. With his ready wit and gifted repartee he is an asset in our community life.

One of his most outstanding talents is the rare one of a deep appreciation of the modern scene. He is a realist where the " good old days" are concerned and generally speaking would not welcome their return.

Ile is especially appreciative of the development of Cathedral life, continually reminding us of how far off the mark were those who in his early days stigmatised the great building as "Vaughan's Folly." He

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