Vestments worn by Cardinal John Henry Newman are to be shown to the Pope during his visit to Edinburgh tomorrow.
The vestments, owned by the Abbotsford Trust, are on loan to the Archdiocese of Edinburgh and St Andrews for the occasion.
The objects have never previously been on public display and following Cardinal Newman’s beatification in Birmingham on 19 September, they will become second-class holy relics. Expert assessment of the artifacts is currently being sought, but one is believed to include 16th century tapestry panels mounted onto 18th century silk, and the second is understood to be a fine example of a 19th century vestment.
Abbotsford, the Scottish Borders home of novelist Sir Walter Scott, was visited by Cardinal Newman in 1852 and again in 1872. Following one of his visits, the Cardinal gifted two beautifully ornate vestments, worn by him when he conducted mass at the historic property, to Mary Monica the daughter of Abbotsford’s owners, the Hope Scott family.
A representative from the Archdiocese of Edinburgh recently visited Abbotsford to view the vestments and requested their loan for the Papal Visit next week. They will be made available for His Holiness to view and will then be shown at St Bennet’s in the Capital, after which they will be returned to Abbotsford and displayed in the chapel in which they would have been used.
Abbotsford was inherited by James Robert Hope Scott following his marriage to Sir Walter Scott’s grand-daughter Charlotte. Hope Scott had been a contemporary and friend of Cardinal Newman at Oxford and both he and his wife converted to Catholicism after their marriage. The Cardinal visited the family twice at Abbotsford, celebrating mass several times in Sir Walter Scott’s domestic chapel in the basement of Abbotsford during his visit in 1852, and then later in the property’s current chapel during his subsequent visit in 1872.
Cardinal Newman’s Abbotsford vestments will go on show for visitors to Abbotsford from Friday October 9. Abbotsford is currently open seven days a week until October 31. This year, for the first time, Abbotsford will offer winter weekend opening from October 31 until December 12 from 11am until 4pm, allowing additional opportunities to view both the Cardinal Newman vestments, and the rest of Sir Walter Scott’s historic property.