Mark Elvins

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Mark Turnham Elvins, OFMCap, (26 November 1939 - 1 May 2014) was Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford until its closure in 2008.


Mark Turnham Elvins was born on 26 November 1939 at Whitstable, the son of an Anglican clergyman who had been Rector of St Mary in the Castle, Dover and died of cancer at Oxford on 1 May 2014.[1]

He was educated at Dover College, St Stephen's House, Oxford, Beda College at Rome, the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Heythrop College, where he received a Master of Arts from the University of London. He also was awarded a Graduate Diploma in Spirituality at Milltown Institute, Dublin, Ireland.

At the beginning of his career, Elvins passed into Sandhurst but opted for the Territorial Army serving with the Honourable Artillery Company eventually reaching the rank of Captain in the Royal Army Chaplains' Department. In civilian life he began by working as a gallery manager at St James's Gallery in Jermyn Street, central London, and as Assistant Editor of Debrett's Peerage.

Following his theological studies at St. Stephen's House, Oxford he was ordained an Anglican deacon.On Christmas Eve 1968 he was received into the Catholic Church. He was ordained a priest at Arundel on Easter Sunday 1973 and was Assistant Curate at Arundel Cathedral and Chantry Priest to the Duke of Norfolk from 1973 to 1979. From 1980 until 1990 he served at St Mary Magdalene's parish church in Brighton, holding additionally the post of Chaplain to the Master of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners of the City of London. From 1990 until 1993 he was parish priest of Henfield.

In 1999, he was professed in the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and was a Provincial Definitor from 2006 to 2011.

During the academic year 2005-2007, he was the Roman Catholic Chaplain to the University of Central Lancashire.

Following the retirement of Dr Nicholas James Richardson in 2007, Elvins was appointed Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford and upon the dissolution of the permanent private hall was appointed Guardian of the friary (Greyfriars) from 2008 t0 2011.

Throughout his life he was particularly concerned for the homeless and was the founder of Simon House in Oxford (1967), St Thomas Fund for the Homeless in Brighton (1980), and Becket Homes in Canterbury (1997), as well as being a co-founder of the Thomas More Legal Centre. In 2011, he founded Regina Palestinae (Our Lady of Palestine), a charity for the support of poor families in Palestine.

In 1982, Elvins was appointed an Ecclesiastical Knight of Grace of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and Chaplain and Council Member of the British and Irish Delegation of the Order.[2] In 2003, the Order awarded him the Gold Benemerenti Medal. He was also a Chaplain of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta.

In 2007, he led a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of Henry Benedict Stuart at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.

He wrote as both Mark Turnham Elvins and Mark of Whitstable.

The Heraldry Society holds an annual Mark Elvins Lecture. On 16 April 2008, The Rt Revd Dom Geoffrey Scott, OSB, MA, PhD, FSA, FRHistS, Abbot of Douai, spoke on The heraldry of James II and his cult.

Mark Turnham Elvins passed away on 1 May 2014.


  • Mark Turnham Elvins (Mark of Whitstable), A Eucharistic vision and the spirituality of St Francis of Assisi (Leominster: Gracewing, 2007)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins (Mark of Whitstable), Gospel chivalry: Franciscan Romanticism (Leominster: Gracewing, 2006)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, Catholic trivia: our forgotten heritage, illustrated by John Ryan (Leominster: Gracewing, 2002; previously published London: HarperCollins Religious, 1992)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, Our Lady and the Ecumenical movement in the light of her maternal patronage: a paper given to members of the Canterbury branch of the Society on 27 September 1997 (Wallington: Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2000)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, St. Thomas Becket and the homeless (London: Buckland, 1994)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, "St." Thomas of Dover: monk and martyr (London: Buckland, 1994)
  • Mark Twinham [i.e. Turnham] Elvins, Towards a people's liturgy: the importance of language (Leominster: Gracewing, 1994)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, Cardinals and heraldry, illustrated by Anselm Baker, foreword by the Archbishop of Birmingham (Maurice Noël Léon Couve de Murville), preface by John Brooke-Little (Norroy and Ulster King of Arms) (London: Buckland Publications, 1988)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins and Teresa Searle, Drugs: how the Church can help (Great Wakering: McCrimmons, 1987)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, The Church's response to the homeless (Great Wakering: Mayhew McCrimmon, 1985)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, Arundel Priory, 1380-1980: the College of the Holy Trinity (London: Phillimore, 1981)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, Bayham Abbey 1182-1982: its founder and his family (Hove: Chichester Diocesan Fund and Board of Finance, 1981)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, 'Oxford University Heraldry Society', The Coat of Arms NS 4.119 (1981)
  • Mark Turnham Elvins, Old Catholic England (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1978)


  1. ^ "Obituary: Father Mark Elvins, author and priest". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Delegation of Great Britain and Ireland". The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George. 4 December 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Richardson
Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford
Succeeded by