Dr Ray Winch reinvented

It was quite a while ago when I wrote about Dr Raymond Winch in Oxford. Simply, I was browsing through Blackwell’s Bookshop in the early days of Holy Week 1988 and came across The Canonical Mass of the English Orthodox. The booklet had his address on the back, at which he based his Gregorian Club, 41 Essex Street. I simply went and knocked on his door, and discussion began immediately.

As mentioned a few days ago, I have been clearing out my stuff and arranging for myself an “Oratorian nest” in our house. My wife can, of course, come into the room if she wants, but I have clearly done it as I wanted. Going through so many old papers, I came across this grubby little photo, perhaps from some official ID card, and have enlarged it on Photoshop. He was obviously not photogenic, but this is all I have. I share it with my readers, a few of whom might at least have heard of this name. David Llewellyn Dodds is my one reader who actually knew him and was interested in his work.

I have also found some handwritten correspondence in a folder from my time with the monks at Triors in 1996, and I will go through it and offer some transcriptions. It will take time, since handwriting can only be typed out by hand. I am informed by one of the commenters on my earlier posting that Dr Winch left his books and papers to Magdalen College School. I hope someone will have the diligence to publish something of lasting value.

Reinvented? I mean of course the Latin meaning of the word invenire – “to find”, as in the Invention of the Holy Cross.

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10 Responses to Dr Ray Winch reinvented

  1. J.D. says:

    It’s nice to put a face to a name. Thanks to you I got to read this man’s work.

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Many thanks! That is vividly him, though indeed probably in official ID mode. Cracking a smile, with pince-nez reading glasses in hand, in his full, warm cape, he would probably seem more photogenic – but at a distance, with that haircut, this might seem a mediaeval polychrome stone bust.

    • I above all remember Ray identifying with the medieval ethos, whether or not by way of Romanticism. He once explained to me how his home was to be strictly functional and should have as little decoration as possible – because decorating one’s home is a characteristic of the Renaissance onwards. The haircut with the fringe somewhat reminds me of the Beatles! Long hair needs to be looked after! It’s a pity no one got a photo corresponding with the description you gave. Perhaps someone did, but I don’t imagine I would ever get a copy. He was a character! I loved his fanciful tales about the Canonry that survived the Reformation and had immunity from the encroachments of Counter-Reformation Roman Catholicism. He was totally disillusioned with Western Rite Orthodoxy well before the end of his life. He was not “re-converted” to Roman Catholicism, but simply attended their Masses.

  3. Robert Stevens says:

    I too first encountered him by finding the book in Blackwells; I wrote him a stern letter regarding his footnote that perhaps formal modern English might do. He suggested we meet up at a pub in Oxford and so a great friendship began.

  4. Robert Stevens says:

    Yes indeed.

    Thanks for these interesting reminiscences of Ray. Have just bought a secondhand copy of his Assumption book written in 1950.

    • That reminds me. Dr William Tighe sent me a copy some years ago. I haven’t finished reorganising my library, so it might take a bit of time to find!

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Wow – I don’t think I ever heard of that before! – or had the sense to search for him, e.g,, at Amazon…

        Doing so, now, it is interesting to see British Empirical Philosophers was reissued in 2013 (apparently 61 years after the first edition!), and I suppose it is he mentioned in the descriptive title: Is the Roman Catholic Church a secret society? A correspondence with the late Cardinal Hinsley & others about parental rights. With a foreword by G. G. Coulton and reports of speeches by Warren Sandell and Raymond Winch before the Catholic Society of University College, London (1946).

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