[1] "Less than a dozen people came to the meeting". A scrap of paper survives, on which names were written that night, names of those present and of those likely to join. From this, it seems that those present for certain were, Conrad Noel, Miriam Noel and Barbara Noel, Harold Mason, Jack Putterill, George Harvey, Lily Patient and Connie Dennis.

[2] "There were never very many". A list of members and novices compiled during the period 1924-25 shows a total of 73 names. Membership never reached 200.

[3] "During its eighteen years existence". From 1929 onwards, the poison of Stalinism was being injected into all left-wing groups; and members of the Crusade were infected, some of them incurably. Factional disputes disrupted the Crusade in the thirties, as they disrupted all other left-wing groups. After prolonged and bitter discussion, John and Mary Groser and the group at Christ Church, Watney Street, Stepney, were driven out of the Crusade in March, 1932.

[4] For Noel's statements in this period, see his Socialism and Church Tradition (A Clarion 'Pass On' Pamphlet', n.d. London) p. 3 and, for his statements on the Church and economic socialism, his Socialism in Church History (Palmer, 1910, London) p. 8.

[5] "A few months before becoming Vicar of Thaxted" ... see Socialism in Church History, completed some months before Noel was appointed to the Thaxted living by Lady Warwick, in April, 1910, but published in that year.

[6] For a fuller account of Noel's work at Thaxted, see his Autobiography, (Dent, London, 1945) pp. 86-119; and Conrad Noel and the Thaxted Movement, by Reg Groves (Merlin Press, London, 1967).

[7] "Discussion on the theology of Social Democratic Catholicism. .." The Thaxted discussion took place in September 1912, and January and June 1913. No account of them was published, though cyclostyled copies of some of the papers there have survived. Discussion in the Church Socialist League opened at the League's Bristol Conference in 1912, Charles Marson's paper being published in the June Church Socialist, and Noel's in the July number. Robert Woodifield gave his own account of Noel's theology in his Catholicism Humanist and Democratic, (Carter, London, 1954) and in his essay on Conrad Noel in For Christ and the People, ed. Maurice Reckitt (S.P.C.K., London, 1968).

[8] "The Irish Rebellion of 1916" ...At the outbreak of war in 1914, Noel placed the Allied flags in Thaxted Church, among them the flags of Ireland and of England. In 1916 he added the Red Flag as symbol of internationalism and social justice. Some time after the Easter Rebellion of 1916, he replaced the traditional flag of Ireland by the Sinn Fein flag, as, he said "the people of Ireland were doing". Noel's views on the flags and on the differences between internationalism and cosmopolitanism are set out in his The Battle of the Flags (London, 1922) written while the struggle over the flags in Thaxted Church was at its height; and in his Jesus the Heretic (Religious Book Club edition, London, 1940) pp. 179-196.

[9] "A Company of the Redemption" ...Church Socialist, October 1916, p. 188. Some Articles of the Faith, was printed as a leaflet some time afterwards, and appeared also in the Catholic Crusader, No. 27, July, 1933.

[10] "A centuries-old native rebel and socialist tradition". This tradition was expressed most profoundly by William Morris, in the work of his hands and imagination. The Manifesto, it should be noted, disregarded vital parts of that tradition, most notably the contribution made to it by the dissident and 'heretical' groups driven from or breaking away from the established church. Noel, Marson, and other Church Socialists undervalued "the multitude of true professors" from Lollard times onwards.

[11] "But livings were not to be had by Crusade priests". John Groser, ordained in 1914, did not get his own church until 1928; Jack Bucknall, ordained in 1912, until 1937; Harold Mason, ordained in 1915, until 1929; Etienne Watts, ordained in 1914, until 1928; George Chambers, ordained in 1906, until 1927. Younger men like Hugh Benson and Hugh Cuthbertson also waited many years before being appointed to a living.

[12] "Only where exceptional circumstances made prolonged stay possible" ...As at St. Michael's, Poplar, where Groser and Bucknall were both curates, from 1922 to 1925, when Bucknall was sacked, Groser staying on until 1928. At St. John's, Delabole, Cornwall, Bucknall, though curate and supposedly controlled by the hostile Vicar of St. Teath's, was saved from dismissal by Walter Frere, Bishop of Truro, and survived amid continual excitement until 1931. A personal account of Bucknall's earlier curacy at St. Austell, is given in A Cornish Childhood, by A. L. Rowse (Reader's Union edition, London, 1944) pp. 160-162.

[13] "A compulsory League of Capitalist States based on fear" ...The victorious Allies were just then promoting the formation of a League of Nations, as part of the 'new world' promised during the war.

[14] Noel writes on the Trinity in Jesus the Heretic, pp. 1-6. l.

[15] "Not as a senseless dogma for Sundays only". This unfortunate formulation was due to an abridgement of an earlier draft, which read, "Not as a meaningless dogma to be held like a pistol at people's heads on Sunday by heresy hunters who deny it all week in their homes, their commerce and their politics. .."

[16] "Authority in Church and State" ...This more fully discussed in Creative Democracy and Natural Leadership, by A Servant of the Catholic Crusade (Thaxted, 1920). ,

[17] For the opinions of the church fathers, and democracy in the early church, see Charles Marson's essay in Vox Clamantium (Innes, London, 1894), and Noel's Socialism in Church History, pp. 103-114.

[18] "With St. Thomas Aquinas," Noel, ibid, pp. 171-183. Reference is to the Seventh Article, Summa Theologica, "Whether it is lawful to steal through stress of need", where Aquinas says, "In cases of need all things are common property, so that there would be no sin in taking another's property, for need has made it .common.. ."

[19] St. Cyprian. "Such conduct is that of the true sons and ,imitators of God; God's gifts are given to all mankind, the day : enlightens all, the sun shines upon all, the rain falls and the wind blows upon all. To all men comes sleep, and splendour of the stars and the moon are common to all. Man is truly imitator of God when he follows the common beneficence of God by imparting to all the brotherhood the good things which he possesses." (Socialism in Church History, p. 104).

[20] St. Ambrose. "We have lost common property by the claims of private property. ..The land was made for all; why do you rich men claim it as your private property? Nature knows nothing of rich men; she bore us all poor. ..Nature then produced common property. Robbery made private property." (Noel, Ibid, p. 106).

[21] St. Gregory. "The land which yields them (the wealthy) income is the common property of all men, and for this reason the fruits of it, which are brought forth, are for the common welfare. It is therefore absurd for people to think they do no harm when they claim God's common gift of food as their private property, or that they are not robbers when they do not pass on what they have received to their neighbours. Absurd! because almost as many folk die daily as they have rations locked up for at home. Really, when we administer any necessities to the poor, we give them their own; we do not bestow our goods upon them, we give them their own. We do not fulfil the works of mercy; we discharge the debt of Justice. .." Noel, Ibid, p. 108.

[22] "The Catholic clergy who led the 1381 rebellion" -- see G. M. Trevelyan's, England in the Age of Wycliffe, (Longman's, London, 1929 edition); The Peasants' Revolt of 1381, by Philip Lindsay and Reg Groves, Hutchinson, 1949. The immediate reference is to a speech of John Ball's, as reported by the chronicler Froissart; Trevelyan, Ibid, p. 197. See also Historic Anglicana, Rolls Series 28, Vol. II, 1869. "My good friends, things cannot go well in England, nor ever will until everything shall be in common; when there shall be neither vassal nor lord, and all distinctions levelled, when the lords shall be no more masters than ourselves".

[23] "The Catholics who led the 1450 rebellion". See Joseph Clayton's The True Story of Jack Cade (Palmer, London, 1909). "We will rather take arms" is from 'The Rebel's Complaynt', a statement by the Norfolk rebels of 1549. See Clayton's, Robert Kett and the Norfolk Rising (London, 1911) and Rebels' Oak, by Reg Groves (London, 1946) p. 101.

[24] "The Sacraments as foretaste" see The Sacraments, by Conrad Noel, (Thaxted, nd.) and Socialism in Church History, pp. 141-160.

[25] "The paralysing dreariness of the 'materialist misconception of history" was, in later editions altered to, "the paralysing dreariness of the 'exclusively economic conception of history' ".

[26] The manifesto was issued from the Rectory, Elland, where [H. O.] Mason, who was honorary secretary of the Crusade, was priest-in-charge. Scotland Yard's Special Branch began investigating the activities of the Crusade, and subsequently informed the Bishop. The Bishop demanded, and secured, Mason's dismissal.

The Crusade was ended at the Chapter held at Burslem in 1936. Noel, Mason, Jim Wilson, Jack Bucknall and others then formed the Order of the Church Militant.

Some Thaxted and Catholic Crusade Publications:
(Note: where it was dated, the date is given. In some other cases, a possible date is given in brackets).

THE THAXTED TRACTS: All except one, were published between 1911 and 1914. Church and Chapel (1912): Work and Wealth: The Keys: The Holy Scriptures: Sins and Their Cure, 1916 and 1917 (abridged version):

CATHOLIC CRUSADE publications: The Catholic Crusade, a manifesto, 1918: Uplifting the Son of Man as the God of Justice in our Midst, 1919: Creative Democracy, 1920: The Christian Religion, Dope or Dynamite, by Robert Woodifield (1921): The Sacraments, by Conrad Noel, (1923): Has the Church Forgotten?, by Stewart Purkis (1922-3): A Guide to Church Services: (n.d.) Devotions of the Catholic Crusade (1922-3): Is Jesus the Revolutionary Leader?, by Jack Bucknall and others (1922-3), revised ed. 1932: Sins and Their Cure, revised edition, 1925 and 1933: The Law and the Prophets, by Conrad Noel, 1929: The Kernal of Christ's Teaching, by Conrad Noel, 1930: Render to Caesar, by Conrad Noel, 1933: The Truth About Jesus (1932-3): The Oxford Movement, by Jim Wilson, 1933: The Catholic Crusade. A Statement of Principles and Constitution and Rules, 1933. A journal The New World, ran from 1928 to 1930; and was followed by The Catholic Crusader, December, 1930 to December, 1934, when it was replaced by The Challenge.

Published in memory of Stewart Purkis, 1885-1969, a member of the Catholic Crusade, and a lifelong revolutionary socialist. Should resources and response permit, other documents will be published.

Published by ARCHIVE, at 7 Heathfield Road, London, S.W.18, and printed by Hitchings & Mason, Plymouth.

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