Southampton Circle was established on 9th April 1913 as the 12th Circle of the Catenian Association. The Inaugural Ceremony was conducted by the Grand President Brother E Hogan and fourteen Brothers became Founder Members with Brother T C Fraser as the first President. The formation of the Circle was one day later than Portsmouth Circle (No 11) and these two Circles helped each other in the early days to become, as they are today, firmly fixed with the family of Catenians. Within five years of its formation three Brothers had died in combat in the Great War.
For a time from 1937 the Circle was known as Southampton and Winchester Circle but in 1952 Winchester formed their own Circle with several Southampton Brothers transferring as Founder Members of the new Circle.
In 1923 Province 11 was formed by Portsmouth and Southampton Circles and the late Brothers Tickle and Fraser, both of Southampton Circle, were the first to hold the office of Provincial President and Director respectively. The Circle has been an energetic ‘Father’ in its time by fathering Plymouth Circle (who in turn formed Torbay, Exeter Circles); Bournemouth Circle (who later formed Poole and Weymouth Circles); Winchester Circle (who later formed Basingstoke Circle); Reading and New Forest Circle.
A report in the Association’s magazine Catena that Southampton Brothers recited the De Profundis at each meeting quickly led to this being imitated by other Circles, and that his became, despite Grand Council’s opposition, part of the meeting ritual. The Circle is rightly proud of the fact that in spite of the heavy bombing sustained in the town, during WWII the Circle still carried on, supported by other Catenians serving in the area. In April 1945 the Circle’s correspondent reported to Catena that “the Circle bravely continues its wartime activities supported by its stalwarts through all the drawbacks which beset any Association in these trying times”.
The Circle in conjunction with Portsmouth and Winchester Circles was instrumental in 1962, in the formation of the Society of St. Dismas, which provides accommodation to former prisoners while they try to re-adjust to normal life and find work. Similarly, the Circle has always supported Catholic Education. In 1921 the Circle had to ‘force the local clergy to consider the question of a secondary school’ taking matters into their own hands by interviewing the Superiors of religious orders in an attempt to make progress. In 1943 the Circle answered the Bishop’s call in forming a branch of the Catholic Electors’ and Parents’ Association. The local Catholic schools have benefitted by having prizes donated annually, financing of pupils of less well off parents and by the voluntary actions of many Brothers as Managers and Governors. Throughout its existence the Circle has led a very active social life with particular interest in family activities and has always been a staunch supporter of Catenian charities such as the Benevolent Fund and the Bursary Fund but also local charities.
The Circle celebrated its Centenary in April 2013 the number of members at the end of that year stands at 45. The Circle has held over 1100 monthly meetings.