The Significance of Relics Podcast

Rebecca Somerset (British Jesuit Archives) conducts an interview with Dr Jan Graffius (Stonyhurst College Collections Curator) about Jan’s experience of researching and caring for relics. They discuss the skills needed to work with relics and how the stories of individual relics are discovered.

The podcast offers an understanding of why relics are important, and parallels are drawn between the relics of English and Welsh martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries and of the relics of St Oscar Romero and others, who were killed in the 1980s in El Salvador. Of course, they touch on the recent relic exhibition, How bleedeth burning love, which the Jesuit Province and Stonyhurst College jointly launched in March 2021.

The Holywell Bones Podcast

Rebecca Somerset (Archivist, British Jesuit Archives) conducts a discussion with Professor Maurice Whitehead (Research Fellow & Director of Heritage Collections, Venerable English College in Rome), Dr Jan Graffius (Curator, Stonyhurst College Collections) and Dr Hannah Thomas (Special Collections Manager and Research Fellow, Congregation of Jesus English Province at the Bar Convent in York) about the bones found at Holywell. They discuss the 17th century Welsh Catholic historical background before considering the bones themselves and why the conclusion was reached that these belonged to the martyrs Philip Evans and John Lloyd.

A copy of the Ortelius map mentioned by Maurice can be seen here: Angliae, Scotiae, et Hiberniae, sive Britannicar: Insularum Descriptio - Maps Project - Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections (oclc.org)

Listen to the podcast

Contact details for the speakers are as follows:
Dr Jan Graffius            J.Graffius@stonyhurst.ac.uk
Rebecca Somerset      rsomerset@jesuit.org.uk
Dr Hannah Thomas     hthomas@bar-convent.org.uk
Prof Maurice Whitehead        researchfellow@vecrome.org

Relic Cleaning

Watch Dr Jan Graffius (Stonyhurst College CollectionsCurator) talk about how we clean and look after relics.

Before and after:

Here are some examples of before and after cleaning.

Bone Fragment of Edmund



Fabric from the bag which held
the remains of Thomas Garnet



Fragment of Thomas More's
hair Shirt