FEW miles south of the little Hampshire town of Alton, a traveller on the Winchester road would have seen, a few years ago, a somewhat dilapidated shanty that had been, in its time, a snack-bar. What he would see w-day, on the same site and composed of the same material but completely transformed in appearance, Is u building which boldly proclaims itself in artistically designed loitering a Catholic Chapel. Elsewhere be would find that it is dedi cated to St. Thomas More. Extern); changes, however, are less than those that . would be found inside. Where stood a bat stands now a line altar, and everywhere you look are evidences of artistic taste and personal interest. Some of the many gifts which adorn the place arc of historic interest. It is a real sanctuary and is one in which you feel at once tete atmosphere of a , r u I y devotional and cultured Catholicism.
WITH the Bishop
of Portsmouth's approval. Di Denis Gwynn. who lives nearby And who had discovered the site and seen its possibilities while socking land for additional poultry runs (he is in the way of being a farmer), bought the place and set about the process of adaptation. Since its opening for worship it has been enlarged. From humble beginnings there has grown tap a little Catholic community. including such well-known figures as those of Dr. Gwynn himself. Mrs Rickard, the novelist. and Lord Clonmore, now in chaige, as recently stated in this paper, of a newly-formed subsidiary company of Messrs. Burns, Oates and Co All this in she course of three or four years.
You would scarcely imagine that the quiet, unassuming, 53-year-old man chiefly responsible had behind him such a varied and distingu.shed career as, in fact, he can claim. . His father. Di. Stephen Gwynn, formerly a Nationalist M.P., is son of a Regius Professor of D vinity in Dublin University. Denis Gwynn's mother, of English origin, became a Catholic and the young Gwynns (one of whom is the Jesuit Edits): of Studies) were sent to Clongowes school. Later. Denis attended St. Endes, founded by Patrick Name, executed for participation in the Easter rising of 1916. Then came the National University of Ireland, London University, and, then again. the National University, where he graduated in economics and history. and from Which. twenty yeors.aftcr, he received the degree of D.Litt. lot his published week on enodern Irish hies tory. he principal LLCM of which was his official biography of John Redmond, containing a mass of previously unpublished political papers. In the 1914-18 we, he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and, after being " over-the-top " in several actions on the Somme. was invalided out following a long spell in hospital. Subsequently he worked in the Ministry of Information and in that way graduated into Fleet Street, in which he has held various appointments, Including assistant editorship of Everyman and of the Review of Reviews, and editorship of the National Press Agency. Back in Fleet Street, he became London Correspondent of the now defunct Freeman's Journal of Dublin, and later, a leader writer on is c Westminster Gazette.
T It U G II he A talks to you in that quiet, friendly way he has, as though he had nothing else to do, It'ts easy to see that he has been, through the years, a .-2,usy mail, Alter publishing a string of books on Irish and Catholic subjects, be became literary director of Burns, Oates and Washboumc t 1933 until the war. During those years he contributed considerably to the revival of the firm's prestige and was largely instrumental in negotiatine the transter of the company from its former ownership to Catholic control. He likes to think that his position enabled him not only to bring to notice several Catholic audio's but also to save from threatened extinction both the Dublin Review, and the Clergy Review. Finding that London meant ceaseless overwork, he retired from publishing. to live quietly in rural Hampshire and return to book writing. But this ant) meant another kind of busyness The outbreak of war set him to work reclaiming land, ploughing up derelict poultry farms and worn. out pastures with an old tractor and odds and ends of machinery which he transformed. as subsequently he was to transform the snack-bar. Then he bought a poultry farm and kept oyes, lending a hand in making farm buildings out of tumble-down sheds. There must be some streak in his make-up which gives him a special aptitude in putting base or derelict things to noble use. (Continued on page 5)