Born in 1875, Leo Andrew Arendzen was a late ordination. He is listed in the census of 1901, when he was 26, as an ‘Artist.’ The census also reveals that he was born in Germany and naturalised British – the only Arendzen not born in the Netherlands and not listed as foreign.
He studied fine art at the Slade School and practised mainly as a portrait painter. Leo went on to study theology and, after some setbacks including the expulsion from a seminary for keeping chickens on the roof and other misdemeanors, he was ordained after being interviewed by the Pope, who apparently instructed him to get his hair cut.
After more than six years at Glossop, he became parish priest at St. Mary’s, Grantham in 1914, where he remained for thirty nine years. Whilst there, he painted several portraits including those of Bishops Dunn and McNulty and Mgr. Charles Payne. The latter portrait hangs in Bishop’s House, Nottingham.
My thanks to Sophie Harrington for pointing out that Charles Moore, in his biography of Margaret Thatcher, mentions that Leo taught her Latin privately during her school years.
In 1953, Leo retired to 14 Quex Road, where he had a small chapel in an upstairs room in which he would say mass daily. In the Latin service, there is a line near the beginning which appears again near the end. On occasion, in his later life, Leo would reach this point at the end of the mass and, confused, start all over again. This could be quite tiresome if you were in the congregation.
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