“It is not everyday that I get to publish previously unknown writing by Frederick Rolfe Baron Corvo but I am delighted to say that a lady called Sue, a researcher who has often worked with Callum James Books, recently noticed that the National Library of Wales has digitised a large quantity of Welsh newspapers and in the North Wales Times of 26 March, 1898 in column 1 of page 8, she found the letter that follows from Frederick Rolfe (signed as F. Austin, a name he used a lot at this time)”
This hitherto addition to the writings of the Baron is, happily and unsurprisingly, a letter of complaint.
“A little context is necessary. Rolfe spent a number of years in Holywell on the North Wales coast, and during his time there he attached himself to the shrine of St Winefride which was a Catholic shrine administered by a Jesuit priest, Fr Beauclerk. Rolfe and Beauclerk were both big personalities and when they fell out, as Rolfe did eventually with most of those he came into contact with, the scale of their encounter was something quite epic, even for Rolfe.”
We shall but give a hint here of the letter itself, but Corvo’s opening lines should give enough of an indication:
“I yearn for enlightenment. I cannot reconcile the public utterances of the Reverend Father Beauclerk, of the Society of Jesus. They bewilder me, and confuse my mind.”
And as history tells us, confusing the mind of Baron Corvo is really, really, one of the last things you’d want to do.