RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/14
TitleFr Ralph Baines SJ (1885-1959)
DescriptionThis collection contains Baines' historical notes on Spinkhill, Mount St Mary's and other subjects, as well as two letters to Baines from the Catholic historian Philip Hughes.
Admin_HistoryRalph Baines was born in Brixton, London, 23 October 1885. He was a nephew of Fr William Roche SJ who died in 1945. At the age of 12, Baines went to Mount St Mary's College and in 1903 entered the noviciate. Soon after his first vows he was sent to teach at Leeds. He taught at Hodder 1906-1908 and at Stonyhurst College 1908-1911. He then did a 2 years' course of philosophy at St Mary's Hall, after which he returned to the College for another two years' teaching. In 1915 he went to St Beuno's for theology and was ordained there 25 April 1918. Teaching at Stonyhurst occupied the years 1919-1924, with the exception of his tertianship year at Tullabeg in 1921. In 1924 Baines went to Roehampton for a 2 years' course under Fr John Driscoll SJ in preparation for preaching, but the needs of the Province prevented him from completing it, and he was sent first to preach at St Francis Xavier's and then at Blackpool. In 1926 he was appointed Superior at Boscombe, a post he held for 10 years.There he decided to enlarge the Church of Corpus Christie by rebuilding the Lady Chapel and sacristies, then by extending the north aisle, and finally adding 2 bays to the nave and building the tower at the west end. In 1936 Baines was appointed Rector of Mount St Mary's College. During his time there he secured Barlborough Hall to be used as a preparatory school, the Mount obtained representation on the Headmasters' Conference, and became a Public School. After leaving the Mount in October 1942 Baines went to Wimbledon on the church staff, but due to ill-health was appointed Spiritual Father at Beaumont the following year. In October 1945 he became Minister at Mount St though in June the following year ill-health again made it necessary for him to give up the job. He remained on the church staff until October 1946 when he retired to Heythrop. When his health was sufficiently restored, he went to Yately Hall, the preparatory school for Farnborough Convent. Not satisfied with the mere duties of a convent chaplaincy, he set about making contact with the Catholics in the neighbourhood and soon worked up a sizeable parish.

One of Fr Baines' hobbies was to collect information from records about Jesuit priests in the College of the Immaculate Conception during penal times. His aim was to form a volume of 'Spinkhill Papers' which might be accepted by the Catholic record Society.

On 3 July 1958, after being ill for a time at Yately, Baines was taken to St Anthony's Hospital, North Cheam, where he died 5 August 1959. Fr John Coventry SJ, Provincial, celebrated the Solemn Requiem at St Joseph's, Roehampton, and the interment followed in the College cemetery.
Related Material - For letters from Fr Baines while Superior at Boscombe to Fr Joseph Blackett SJ, Procurator of the Provice, regarding financial matters between 1931 and 1935 and a postcard addressed to Fr Edward King SJ showing the church at Boscombe postmarked 20 May 1934, see file of Boscombe archives at XV/8.
- For individual photographs, see SJ/PH/26.
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.
DS/UK/35Baines; Ralph (1885-1959); Jesuit Priest1885-1959

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