Father Antony Hutchison

Father Antony Hutchison

A carte-de-visite portrait of the Reverend Father Antony Hutchison of the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Brompton, London. The reverse of the mount is printed as an In Memoriam card, asking the faithful to pray for his soul and giving the dates of his birth and death.

Born on 27 September 1822 in the City of London, William Antony Hutchison was the son of George Hutchison, cashier in the Bank of England, who died in 1833.

He was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 21 December 1845 and was ordained a priest on 15 August 1847, becoming a member of the Congregation of the Oratory in London’s Brompton Road. He was a close friend of Father Frederick William Faber and of John Henry Newman, later Cardinal Newman.

Father Antony Hutchison suffered from poor health from at least 1855, possibly resulting from a tumour at the base of his brain. His health later became the subject of national debate, and one source stated that ‘there was no doubt that [he] was affected with paralysis, and that his tongue was drawn on one side, from loss of muscular power, and that he was afflicted with a local disease which effected the spinal marrow’ though several friends contradicted this (Reynold’s Newspaper, 1 May 1864). He died, aged 40, on 12 July 1863, at the Oratory, Brompton.

During his lifetime Father Hutchison had spent the better part of £30,000 on works of charity, among them the establishment of ragged schools in Holborn and Drury Lane, which he had personally administered until 1855, and taken a part in their management until shortly before his death. When he died in 1863, however, he still possessed the sum of £5000 and this he left to Father Faber to use as he saw fit. His will, dated 24 July 1860, appointed Father Francis Knox as his executor. The terms of the will were contested by Hutchison’s relative, Alfred Smee, a surgeon, whose main grievance seems to have been that ‘his brother-in-law spent his money as he liked instead of leaving it as Mr Smee wished’ (The Tablet, 15 August 1863). Despite the virulent involvement of the fanatically anti-Catholic Conservative MP Charles Newdigate Newdegate, Hutchison’s will was upheld by the Court of Probate in 1864.

Photographed by T.R. Williams of Regent Street, London.

A very detailed report on the case in the Court of Probate mentions that a photograph of the deceased taken in 1860 was shown to the court. (The Londonderry Journal, 27 April 1864).


Code: 127452
© Paul Frecker 2022