Margaret Holness writes:
LOUIS Antill Lewis, who died on 17 December, aged 82, was one of
the best-known Anglo-Catholic laymen of his generation: Warden of
the Guild of All Souls, Treasurer General of the Guild of Servants
of the Sanctuary, and a generous benefactor to ecclesiastical and
Quite how, in the late 1940s, an unchurched young man of
part-Russian heritage came to Holy Cross, King's Cross, a church
founded in the Catholic Movement of the Church of England, is lost
in the mists of history. But he was captivated by the worship, was
encouraged by the parish priest, the Revd Napier Pitt Sturt, and by
1949 had become a member of the Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary.
He remained close to Holy Cross for the rest of his life, for many
years as churchwarden, more recently as churchwarden emeritus.
The Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, a former
Vicar of Holy Cross, said: "Holy Cross was Louis's 'home', where as
a young man he received the Catholic faith. He repaid this gift
with practical loyalty and wisdom, helping not only to ensure its
survival, but its service to the most vulnerable of the
Through the close association between Holy Cross and Walsingham,
Louis developed a profound devotion to our Lady. In later years, he
divided his time between homes in north London and Walsingham,
where he unfailingly attended daily mass at the Shrine.
Louis was born in Islington in 1932, to an English mother, and a
father from St Petersburg. He attended Felsted School, Essex. After
National Service, during which he was commissioned in the Royal
Army Ordnance Corps, he trained as a chartered surveyor.
He used his professional expertise to build up a
property-investment business, in paid posts that included running a
successful housing association, and to help the several charities
and trusts with which he was associated to increase their assets
through the acquisition and disposal of property.
Alongside his paid jobs, the last of which was chief executive
of Hornsey YMCA, an establishment that included a large
special-needs hostel for young people, Louis gave his time and
skills to several charities and trusts, including the St Pancras
Lands Trust, which makes grants to local organisations, including
In 2005, he helped to found, and remained a trustee of, the Holy
Cross Centre Trust, which provides a daily shelter for homeless men
and women in the crypt. He was for many years a JP and lay judge in
central London. He was a Liveryman of the Glovers' and Glaziers'
Companies, and a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Parish
Clerks. He had also served on committees of London University.
Through his various activities, he gave personal help, usually
anonymously, to innumerable individuals.
Louis was nationally known in Catholic Anglican circles,
particularly through his wardenship of the Guild of All Souls, the
Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary, membership of the Nikaean Club,
and, at one time, of the General Synod. As Warden of the Guild of
All Souls, he remained on its influential ap- pointments committee
up to his death.
A firm traditionalist, he was strongly opposed to the ordination
of women, and to the consecration of women bishops. Ironically, his
death occurred on the day the appointment of the first woman bishop
in England was announced.
Physically a large man, Louis had a personality to match. Poor
eyesight meant that he had never learned to drive, but his one
personal indulgence was nice cars, chauffeur-driven. He would
arrive at Anglo-Catholic events delivered to the door, often in a
Bentley. The car would re-appear the moment he was ready to leave.
The most recent trip of this kind was to Oxford in November, for
the mass to mark the centenary of the opening of the Chapel of the
Resurrection at Pusey House.
But perhaps Louis was happiest at home at Holy Cross, where,
until very recently, Sunday mass was followed by tea, toast, and
marmalade in the crypt. There, Louis would settle down with his
toast, catch up with the gossip, and perhaps offer an acerbic
comment if anything untraditional had slipped into the mass, or if
he had read something of which he disapproved in the Church
Times. There he was among people he loved, and who loved him
Unmarried, Louis had, since childhood, been devoted to his
younger sister, Daphne, and later to her family. Daphne died in
2013. He is survived by his nephew Marc Giraudon, his great-niece,
Sophie, and a brother, Eric.
His funeral at Holy Cross at noon tomorrow will include a
requiem mass. A memorial service will be held at a later date in