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fawleycourt Documents of Treason

Documents of Treason

Nowy Czas 15.03.11.

Krzysztof Jastrz?bski

The sale of Fawley Court raises more questions than answers. The activities of Fawley Court Old Boys over the last six months have brought to light a number of unclear and controversial matters. We present the readers of “Nowy Czas” with the most important one – how the trustees of Divine Mercy College, from 1953, become its owners.

In the fifties there arose a project to establish a school for Polish boys in England, to be led by Father Josef Jarzembowski, a well known and renowned Marian. Former Polish soldiers and pilots, the émigrés and the Polish Government in Exile supported this action with enthusiasm. The appeals for money to purchase Fawley Court are well documented in the press at that time.

The first stage of the purchase (the building) took place on 7 October 1953, with an approximate investment of less than 14% by the Marian Fathers. Their Declaration of Trust, recently obtained from the Office of the Attorney General is dated 8 October 1953. In this document the Marians declare that the property, Fawley Court, will be an integral part of a charitative and educational foundation managed by them and quote a sum of £5000 from “their joint account” and a mortgage loan of £5700 from the Temperance Permanent Building Society (paid off by civilians and Polish organisations, also investing £30 000 in the sixties for the School). The existing documentation confirms that at least £3000 (of the £5000) came from émigré sources. We assume, from the statements of people who played an active role in setting up the School, which began to accept pupils in 1954, that the investment of the community was in fact larger. There is a further document of the same date, 8 October 1953 of the purchase of Fawley Court by one William Nichols for £9000, who most probably sold Fawley Court to the Marians for £10700; however there is no document confirming this sale signed by him and the Marian Fathers. In summary, there is no document of purchase but there is an undertaking to create a trust for the School, signed, among others, by Fr.Jarzembowski.

A year later (3 May 1954) the Fathers signed a document which refers to the purchase from William Nichols and confirms the mortgage from the Temperance Permanent Building Society. From the analysis of this document it follows that The Temperance Permanent Building Society forced the Fathers to sign it to safeguard their mortgage. The Office of the Attorney General considers these two documents to be inconsistent, adding that no one questioned it at the time and that the Charity Commission’s determination rests on the 1954 document (as they did not have the 1953). The 1954 document also refers to an undertaking to create a trust for the School.

In our voluminous correspondence with the Charity Commission, Jackie Joyce agrees with us that further documents are missing, however she writes about one missing document, and we about five. The caseworker who took over from her started everything from the beginning and stated that that she only accepts the 1954 document, terminating our correspondence. There remains the question where is the document confirming the actual purchase, and also the trust document of Divine Mercy College which contains records of land (purchased in further transactions), of the Museum named after Fr.Joseph Jarzembowski and money from appeals? Many letters to the Charity Commission (written by the founders of the School, e.g. Otton Hulacki, Kazimierz Fedorowicz RAF, the former Chair of the School Council and the Save Fawley Court Heritage Committee as well as Fawley Court Old Boys Association) have not led to a clarification of these inconsistencies, as pointed out by the Attorney General in reply to our complaints about the position taken by the Charity Commission.

Our list of protests is a long one. In the winter of 2009 we appealed to the Pope Benedict XVI. Mr.Kazimierz Fedorowicz wrote to Queen Elizabeth II about St.Anne’s Church at Fawley Court. Her Majesty’s office referred this matter to John Denham (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government). We sent two further letters there raising current issues: planning permission for security gates, which curtails the rights of way through Fawley Court, the matter of St.Anne’s Church and the exhumation of the remains of Fr.Jarzembowski. After many attempts we found out that the letters have been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice, as they deal with licences for exhumation. This Ministry confirmed receipt of our letters, and they were redirected to John Denham, with a note that the matter of security gates falls under his jurisdiction. Eventually a brief reply arrived to the effect that the decision to grant planning permission was a local matter in which the Ministry will not be involved.

Despite letters of protests regarding the exhumation (1300 according to the officials, our estimate being 2000), The Ministry of Justice granted a licence on 1 March 2010. This licence was frozen a week later by the intervention of a family member in the High Court.

Other matters were raised in the official correspondence both with the Charity Commission and the Office of the Attorney General, for instance financial irregularities as in the appeal for a new building for the Apostolate at Fawley Court which was never built, falsified accounts and the statement that planning permission was obtained (which was not). In the letters from the Charity Commission, the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice, there were indications to refer any matters of a criminal nature to the Police. We first referred there the matter of the removal of the Museum and the transfer of remains of the deceased from the crypt of St.Anne’s Church without permission. After apparent investigations the Police’s answer can be summarised as follows: The Museum was removed with permission of the Ministry of Culture – the Ministry wrote to us that they know nothing about it.2.The ashes of the deceased in the crypt of the church were “above ground” and in this case no permission was necessary. By way of answer we sent to the Police photos of the tomb in the crypt of Baron du Puget Puszet and his wife, made from bricks and with a headstone, taken in November 2009. The Police wrote to us that the Marians moved “the urns with the ashes of the Baron and his wife over a year ago” 3.There were no financial irregularities (The Police determined this after 48 hours of so-called investigation).They did not wish to talk about the matter of Fr.Wladyslaw Duda, maintaining that they follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Justice, who replied in turn that it is the Police who determine current issues.

The matter of Wladyslaw Duda (The Marians state that he is no longer a priest) is a key issue in the history of Fawley Court. To understand it we must go back to the eighties. At that time there arose alleged problems with the management of Divine Mercy College. There exist statements of two fatal accidents, and, for reasons unknown, the expulsion of a whole class from the school. At the start of the eighties the Marians hired a lawyer, Mr.Richard Parkes, to tidy up the title documents. Mr.Parkes informed us that after tedious work he registered complex documents at the Land Registry in 1985, which referred to the School and to the additional purchases of parts of the property in the early stage. Fawley Court was registered since 1967 as a charitable institution no.251717. A year after registration at the Land Registry (1986) suddenly and without warning the Marians closed the school, giving as reason lack of interest, despite statements from other sources which refer to the protests of the families and the community. At the beginning of that year the Marians registered a new trustee, Fr.Walter Gurgul, as his predecessors (e.g. Fr.A.Janicki) had been removed from Fawley Court and moved to Ealing. In this new document they add on the right to sell the land, despite a stated condition that it is only for the School. There arose rumours at the same time about the sale of Fawley Court to pay off a huge debt which the Marian denied. A new era began of the Pilgrim’s House and broadened educational activities, that is retreats, and the intake of young new arrivals, mostly from Poland, to help with the monastery and to learn English.

Fr.Wladyslaw Duda arrived from Poland in 1998. In a short time he became the Director of the Apostolate and with other trustees he registered a new Marian charity with the Charity Commission, number 1075608 (Marian Fathers Charitable Trust). He furnished the Charity Commission with a new document, over 20 pages long which changed their mission statement from educational to the advancement of Roman Catholic faith worldwide. A year later he deleted the previous charity, registered there as the Congregation of Marian Fathers BVM Mother of Mercy, V Province in Great Britain. The old documents were destroyed. A new history of a new institution began. At the time, no one knew about this.

Fr.Duda collected some £200 000 for the erection of a new Apostolate building, but after five years the Marians announced that they were refused planning permission, despite the fact that at the start of the appeal in 2000 they wrote in their publication, “Divine Mercy Messenger” that they had just received this permission. Wladyslaw Duda, a trustee, suddenly disappeared. There is no document confirming his resignation. People wrote to him and to the other trustees at Fawley Court. A representative of Fawley Court Old Boys was informed in a telephone conversation by the Marians that Wladyslaw Duda is no longer a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers. After long deliberation and written suggestions by the Ministries we referred the matter of Wladyslaw Duda to Thames Valley Police. We informed them of breach of law in the production of new documents to facilitate sale of Fawley Court and offered to supply substantial documentation. Inspector Andy Taylor replied within two days, declining our offer of documentation, that after careful investigation he considers the accusations unfounded.

What happened to the money collected for the Apostolate? The Charity Commission has published the accounts, beginning from the end of the appeal and not from the start of registration. They also published the trustees’ reports. The 2006 report states that due to high costs of maintenance and low income of the Museum of Fr.Jarzembowski, they have decided to get rid of it. However from the appended accounts at the Charity Commission it can be seen that the income from the new charges for the Museum grows rapidly from about £1000 to £12 000 by 2006.

The Marian accounts in the period 2005-08 show an annual income of £1million approx, and the value of the property is shown around £8 million. In 2007 the Marians stated their intention to sell Fawley Court, asserting shortage of money – despite an annual income of £1 million – for the upkeep of the property. The 2008 accounts show a sudden increase in the value of the fixed assets, from £8 million to nearly £20M.
In the notes to the accounts there is a mention of revaluation “to reflect the rebuild cost for insurance purposes”, a statement that has been found questionable by an independent accountant.

This sudden jump from 8 to 20 million is of some interest. The report to the Charity Commission of 2007 states their intention to sell Fawley Court, later announced publicly. The following year, Marriotts Estate Agents announced Fawley Court for sale for £22 million. Earlier, the Polish Catholic Mission made them an offer to purchase Fawley Court for the Polish Community for £8M. At that time the value of the assets was shown as £8M (the increase to £20M in the 2008 accounts was lodged with the Charity Commission only in October 2009). From January 2009 the Marians maintained publicly that Fawley Court is sold, as contradicted by their private correspondence. The Catholic Herald first announced Urs Schwarcenbach as the buyer but retracted this a week later. Then the Telegraph stated Aida Hersham as the buyer.

The document registered in 1985 by Richard Parkes, no. BM82000 refers to “Divine Mercy College, Fawley Court”, which means that the School, Divine Mercy College, was put up for sale, and not the Marians’ property. It is to the School that the community contributed at the start and maintained it through difficult years, buying extra land and creating the Museum which belonged to it. It is self-evident that the Poles in the UK did not buy Fawley Court to provide splendour for three priests, but for the use of the School with 200 boarders. It was for the use of the students and the arriving faithful that Prince Radziwill built the St. Anne’s Church in the seventies. Next to this church, Father Jarzembowski lies buried, whose remains the Marians wish to remove.

What is known about the buyer of Fawley Court? Aida Hersham took part, as a trustee, in the attempted sale of St.John and St. Elizabeth Catholic Hospital in London, and after the intervention of the Charity Commission, had to resign. She officially represents(is that so?) Cherrilow Ltd, a firm which operated in England, now resurrected in Jersey. In the Henley Standard she is presented as a philanthropist and admits that she made a mistake in not considering the importance of the lawful owners of Fawley Court. Did she really pay £13 million for our School? It is £9M lower than the stated market price, which the regulations of the Charity Commission do not allow, as quoted by the Marians in their negotiations with the Polish Catholic Mission. Where is the Trust Deed for the School that was undertaken to be executed after 1953? We demand that these scandalous matters are explained and that the transaction is set aside. The Marians – to everyone’s joy – have at last left Fawley Court. They should now return the keys to the proper owners and explain what happened to the missing £13 Million.

Krzysztof Jastrzembski
Fawley Court Old Boys

 Komitet Obrony Dziedzictwa Narodowego Fawley Court, , e-mail:
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