Brother Denis Tootell

born 31 July 1817 in Brindle
died 29 October 1897 at Fort Augustus aged 80
clothed 1834 at SS. Adrian and Denis, Broadway by Augustine Birdsall
professed 4 January 1836
ordained sub deacon 1845

Baptised William Tootell and educated at Ampleforth

Missions: Broadway 1835

Educated at Ampleforth 1831-25

He was a subdeacon in 1845 (but never deacon or priest) and went to the Benedictine mission,  New Norcia, Western Australia.

He sailed with Dom Rudeshind Salvado and 27 missionaries on 17 September 1845 from England to Australia about the frigate Elizabeth. They seemed to live a very hard life, living off what little food they could kill themselves (in many cases lizards!) and get from the local aborigines. There was always the threat of separation or lack of water. Ill health forced him to return when he went to Fort Augustus at its foundation and is a direct link with Lamspringe, and was the last member of D to die.

From Abbey Boys by Mike Turnbull

Fr Alban Boultwood OSB (himself a former pupil of the Abbey School), points out that the proposal for restoring monasticism to Scotland came from that extraordinary visionary patron, intellectual and connoisseur, the third Marquess of Bute. Bute was the driving force and investor behind so many initiatives aimed at reclaiming the Roman Catholic tradition in Scotland. The Marquess, a man of wide-ranging connoisseurship and great wealth, held a uniquely-privileged position in nineteenth century Scottish affairs, holding, for example, the post of Rector at the University of St Andrews. For this reason he was able to promote his personal semi-mystical and romantic programmes aimed at recreating a pre-Reformation Roman Catholic utopia.

The Marquess presented his idea to the General Chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation in 1874. It was felt that this would be a good opportunity to revive the English abbey of Saints Adrian and Denis, at Lamspring near Hildesheim in Hanover, Germany (founded by the English Benedictines in 1644) which had been suppressed in 1803 and the Scoto-Irish abbey of St James, Ratisbon at Regensburg in Bavaria, dissolved in 1862 (but which still retained the compensation money from the Bavarian government).

Following the dissolution, a few survivors of Lamspring (including Dom Augustine Birdsall), had set up a small community at Broadway in Worcestershire, supported by the Lamspring funds. Fr Boultwood takes up the story

‘The last surviving monk of this community, Fr Anselm Robertson, had made his way to Scotland, and even managed to bring some valuable manuscripts and books from his monastic library.

Brother Denis was not buried in the monk’s cemetery

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