Fr. Cyril Brooks


I found JH a dynamic, but rather un peaceful society. I was put in the room at the end of hte classroom gallery on the first floor – it was the room which Fr Gabriel Gilbey had had when I was in the house – indeed one chair which was there was a chair that I had a photograph of myself in when I was in the house. It was very noisy being on the gallery and one could hear noises from the dormitory coming through. Fr. Cyril had replaced Fr. Peter in 1968 and he had a powerful dynamic way of treating the boys – full of enthusiasm and talent, but impatient of their misdemeanours. He ran the house with power, the power of his personality, and the terror of his rage. The boys were happy and did well, but some did not take to the style. He abolished the pet place which had been a great feature of Fr. Peter’s reign, where they learnt about sex ? but where also they went to smoke. Cyril was full of action and ideas and his energy and ability made most of them work but he did not make for a peaceful house – but the time I was there he was losing his energy and Abbot Ambrose appointed him novice master for two years. He had been able to get the dormitories bunked which released the first floor for a library and classroom space. On the ground floor was the bootroom at the west end of the house in the old St. Lawrence’s building. It also had three changing rooms which were always a frightful mess and problem. He had his room on the ground floor just inside the entrance, it was his office and boys did not go in there. It used to be the boot room with two doors one to enter dirty remove shoes and the other to exit. It had been a classroom in the 1950s. When Fr. Cyril left I organised a collection from parents and there were a good response with numerous notes of appreciation for what he did for the boys. Mrs Kirk in Helmsely organised this. When Fr. Henry left I did the same and with the money raised the library small room was furnished with shelves.