A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

Catholic Priests in Gloucestershire




(IV) Clergy entries in the Laity Directories and Catholic Directories for the County of Gloucestershire

Richard Barton (1989)

Various writers have offered lists of the clergy who served the Catholic households of the area, however, it is obvious that we still have many gaps. During the last few months I have tried to compile, from secondary sources, a list of known clergy and, where possible, I have included names that I have discovered from primary sources. Th is very much an on-going project and I hope that further names will come to light. Please let me know of any additions or corrections that may arise.



  1. Rev T.B. Snow M.A. – Necrology of the English Congregation of the Order of Saint Benedict from 1600 to 1883 – Burns and Oates 1883.
  2. Dom Geoffrey Scott – English Benedictine Missions in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Gloucestershire – Worcestershire Recusant, No 50, 1987
  • Godfrey Anstruther O.P. – The Seminary Priests 1558-1800. Volume 3 1660-1715 (1976) (c) and Volume 4 1716-1800 (1977) (d)
  1. Dom Dominic Aidan Bellenger O.S.B. – English and Welsh Priests 1558-1800 – Downside Abbey 1984
  2. Dom Dominic Aidan Bellenger O.S.B. – The French Exiled Clergy in the British Isles after 1789 – Downside Abbey 1986
  3. Geoffrey Holt S.J. – The English Jesuits 1650-1829 – Catholic Records Society Volume 70 1984
  • Walter Gumbley O.P., F.R. Hist. S. – Obituary Notices of the English Dominicans from 1555 to 1952 – Blackfriars Publication 1955
  • Fr. Thaddeus O.F.M. – The Franciscans in England 1600-1850, Art and Book Co. 1898
  1. John Kirk D.D. – Biographies of English Catholics in the Eighteenth Century – Burns and Oates 1909
  2. Very Rev. George Oliver – Collections relating to the History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire – Dolman 1857
  3. David Lunn – English Benedictines 1540-1688 – Burns and Oates 1980
  • S. Worrall (Edited) – Returns of Papists 1767. Volume 2 Dioceses of England and Wales, except Chester. Catholic Record Society 1989.
  • Quarter Session Book (1714-1724) – A List of the Papists and Reputed Papists in the County of Gloucester (1717c) Gloucestershire Archives
  • Letter Books of the Vicars-Apostolic of the Western District (Clifton Archives)
  1. Bernard W. Kelly – Historical Notes of the English Catholic Missions – Kegan Paul 1907
  • Diary of Dom John Birdsall O.S.B. (Downside Abbey)
  • Laity and Catholic Directories
  • The Broadway Catholic Register
  • Anthony Williams – Post Reformation Catholicism in Bath Volume 2 Registers 1780-1825. Catholic Record Society 1976
  1. Bryan Stapleton – A history of the Post-Reformation Catholic Missions in Oxfordshire. Henry Frowde 1906



1717: A Benedictine (II, X)

1717c: ? Mr Hinde (XIII – may read ‘Mr Hinde, his priest, IV)

1738: Isaac Gibson S.J. (X – death there, VI – no reference to Beckford)

1758: Lawrence Robinson O.S.F. (VIII)

1767: No resident priest recorded (XII)

1766-67: James Porter S.J. (VI)

1766-68: James or Charles Weldon alias Hunter S.J. (VI)

1772-73-: Hon Robert Dormer S.J. (VI, X – no dates given)

1777: John JosephKelly alias Stafford S.J. (VI)

1783-88-: John Placid Bennett O.S.B. (I – no dates, II, X)

1789: Edmund Harrison S.J. (XIV – letter 30.11.1789)

1795c: L’Abbe Louvelle (X – no dates, XV – see 1808 Louvel)

1804-07: Mr Fortin (XIV – letters9.7.1804, 16.4.1807, V – 5 x Fortin)

1807: Mr Lavacher (XIV – letter 16.4.1807)

1808-11-: Christopher Louvel (XIV – letters 26.4.1808, April 1811)

1813: Mr Duval (XIV – letter 25.2.1813)

1815: Mr Le Tellier (XVI)

1824-28: Jean Baptiste Jacques Jolly (bur 30.8.1828) (XV, XVII, XVIII, V)

1833-40: John Augustine Harrison O.S.B. (I, XVII – 1833)

1835-40: Thomas Anselm Kenyon O.S.B. (I, XVII – 1840)

1841: From Cheltenham mission (XVII – 1841)




1715-25: Edward Salisbury O.S.B. (I, II)



1707-35: Robert Bowes alias Lane (IIIc, IX)

1735-65: William Turville (IIId)

-1830: William Hull (IIId)

1836: Served by Reeve S.J. of Courtfield (XV)

Late 1830’s: From Prior Park (XVII)

1841: Served by John Mitchell of Chipping Norton (XVII, XX)

1844: Mission closed



1711c: Richard Placid Nelson O.S.B. (I, II)

1716-44: Simeon Benedict Rigmaiden alias Smythe O.S.B. (I, II)



1717c: Roger Hanslepp alias Norwood (XIII, IV)



1625-42: Thomas Mornington O.S.B. (I, XI)



1732-34: Edward Williams (IIId)

1757-58: Felix Englesfield O.S.F. (VIII)

1767: No resident priest (XII)

1772-1777: James Placid Duviviers alias Waters O.S.B. (I, II, X, XIX – conducted baptism

in 1772 only)

1774-1782: Baptisms were conducted at Horton by John Smyth in 1774, 1776 and 1787. By Peter Westby in 1775 and 1776. By James Jenison in 1774 and by Daniel Bernard Young O.S.B. in 1777, 1778 and 1779. (XIX)

1774: John Joseph Kelly alias Stafford S.J. (VI)

1795-1815: From Bath (X)

1815-1823: From Cheltenham (X)

!823-: From Bath (X)



1767: No resident priest (XII)

1777: Daniel Bernard Young O.S.B. (II, conducted baptism 1777 – XIX)

1781: William Combes (conducted baptism there 1782 – XIX)



1767-73: John Jerome Berry alias Butler O.S.B. (I, II, X)

1773-77c: Daniel Bernard Young O.S.B. (I, II, X)

1794-1827: Thomas Lewis Brittain O.P. (VII, X)

1825-1831: Vincent Robert Adamson O.P. (VII, X)

1831-1839: Charles Benedict Caestryck O.P. (VII, X)



 1726: Charles Hyde (IIIc)



1730-1733: David Edmund cox O.S.B. (II)

1733-1740: Anthony Cuthbert Hutchinson O.S.B. (I, II)



1634: John Mark Crowder alias Broughton O.S.B. (I, XI)



1717c: ? Bernard Baskerville O.F.M. (XIII – Mr Baskerville, IV)



1748-1770: Hon Francis Dormer S.J. (VI, XII – a resident priest)

1779: James Beeston alias Bourgeois S.J. (VI)



1799 and probably 1800 L’Abbe Rene Pierre Godelier came to Cheltenham for the season. (He registered the first chapel in 1799)

1801-1805 L’Abbe Duchemin supplied from Gloucester where he became the Missioner-Apostolic (and possibly supplied Cheltenham from as early as 1796 because he taught French there)

1805 Dom James Calderbank O.S.B. (1770-1821), Monk of St Laurence, Ampleforth, and Created Cathedral Prior of Peterborough in 1810.

1807-1809 L’Abbe Nicolas Alexander Cesar des Mignaux (alias Robin), B.Th. (Paris), Canon of Rouen, died 1811 at Cheltenham (Teacher of French in Cheltenham)


1809-1830 Dom John Augustine Birdsall O.S.B. (1775-1837), Monk of Ss Aidan and Denis, Lambspring, created Cathedral Prior of Winchester in 1826 and Abbot of Westminster in 1830.

1830-1831 Dom John Jerome Jenkins O.S.B. (1796-1878), Monk of St Gregory, Downside, created Cathedral Prior of Bath in 1850. Cathedral Prior of Durham in 1870 and Abbot of St Albans in 1870.

1831-1835 Dom James Ambrose Duck O.S.B. (1797-1848), Monk of St Gregory, Downside.

1835-1840 Dom Christopher Augustine Shann O.S.B. (1801-1860), Monk of St Laurence, Ampleforth and created Cathedral Prior of Norwich in 1854.

1840-1841 Dom Edward Bernard Paillet O.S.B. (1810-1870), Monk of St Gregory, Downside.

1841-1843 Dom John Jerome Jenkins O.S.B. (return)

1843-1849 Dom James Hilary Dowding O.S.B. (1793-1864), Monk of St Laurence, Ampleforth

1849-1851 Dom Edward Anselm Glassbrook O.S.B. (1806-1883), Monk of St Edmund, Douai.

1851-1852 Dom James Nicholas Kendal O.S.B. (1806-1883), Monk of St Gregory, Downside

1852-1873 Dom James Ambrose Cotham O.S.B. (1810-1883), Monk of St Edmund, Douai

1873-1905 Dom Robert Aloysius Wilkinson O.S.B. (1837-1907), Monk of St Edmund, Douai and created Cathedral Prior of Gloucester in 1901

1905-1916 Dom Bernard Romanus Thomas O.S.B. (1852-1936), Monk of St Edmund, Douai and created Cathedral Prior of Ely in 1909.


1916-1930 Dom David Bede Ryan O.S.B. (1862-1944), Monk of St Edmund, Douai and created Cathedral Prior of Gloucester in 1928.

1931-1959 Dom John Adrian Coughlin O.S.B. (1879-1964), Monk of St Edmund, Douai and created Cathedral Prior of Winchester in 1947.

1959-1961 Dom Valentine Ambrose Crowley O.S.B. (1912-1997), Monk of St Edmund, Douai.

1961-1984 Dom Daniel James Donovan O.S.B. (1917-2003), Monk of St Edmund, Douai and created Cathedral Prior of Winchester in 1984.

1984-1998 Dom Thomas Timothy Kelly O.S.B. (1934-2006), Monk of St Edmund, Douai

Explanatory Notes

Prior to  the arrival of Birdsall in 1809 the Cheltenham mission was served by the missioner from Gloucester or by French priests who visited the town during the Season. During the summer of 1805 the Benedictines attempted to establish a proper mission but the attempt failed after only a few months. In 1807 a French emigre priest settled in the town and looked after the small Catholic community there until Birdsall was appointed to commence a proper mission two years later.

Although Birdsall ceased to be missioner in 1830 he still resided in the Chapel house until 1834 and he owned the property until he made it over to the Benedictine province in 1836.

From 1850 assistant clergy were appointed to assist in the running of the Cheltenham Mission.

In 1890, as a result of the Papal bull ‘Religiosus Ordo’, Cheltenham Mission was transferred from the care of the Provincial of Canterbury and placed under the care of the Prior (later Abbot) of Douai.

In 1918 Cheltenham became a parish in the same way as other Catholic missions throughout the country. Previous to that the parish priest would have been known as the Missioner-Apostolic although the term ‘Missionary Rector’ was used in Cheltenham from as early as the 1870s. From 1890 the Rectors of St Gregory’s were also Priors of the Benedictine Community there until 1998 when the parish was handed over to the care of the Bishop of Clifton and his secular clergy.


Name  /  Benedictine Community  /  Dates

  • Served in Cheltenham again      + Died in Cheltenham

Dom Nicholas Kendal * St Gregory 1850-1851

Dom Patrick Aloysius Leavy * St Edmund 1851

Dom Edward Benedict Lynass St Laurence 1852

Dom James Basil Duck St Gregory 1852-1853

Dom Henry Joseph Benedict Blount BA St Gregory 1854-1860

Dom Nicholas Maurus Hodgson St Gregory 1860-1861

Dom William Benedict Scarisbrick St Edmund 1861-1866

Dom John Cuthbert Murphy St Edmund 1862-1863

Dom Thomas Anselm Cockshoot St Laurence 1862-1863

Dom George Joseph Davis St Gregory 1864

Dom Robert Aloysius Wilkinson * St Edmund 1866-1873 +

Dom John Alphonsus Morrall St Gregory 1868-1869

Dom John Wulstan Richards St Gregory 1873-1875

Dom John Dunstan Breen St Gregory 1875-1881

Dom Henry Ignatius Sutton St Laurence 1876-1884

Dom Alexander Maurus Wilson St Edmund 1881-1895 +

Dom Frederick Edward Roche St Edmund 1883-1886

Dom Bernard Romanus Thomas * St Edmund 1889-1890

Dom Edmund Ceolfrid Trehearne St Edmund 1896-1897 +

Dom Patrick Aloysius Leavy St Edmund 1896-1899 +

Dom Daniel Paul O’Hear St Edmund 1897-1905

Dom Francis Alphonsus Webb St Edmund 1905-1907

Dom James Boniface MacKinlay St Edmund 1907-1910

Dom Arthur Antony Jordan St Edmund 1908

Dom George Paul Rigby * St Edmund 1910-1911

Dom Arthur Augustine Egerton St Edmund 1911-1914

Dom James Oswald Furniss St Edmund 1914-1915

Dom George Paul Rigby St Edmund 1914-1916


Dom Richard Austin March St Edmund 1830-1833

Dom John Augustine Birdsall, President-General 1829-1834

Dom William Bernard Collier, Former Bishop of Port Louis (1840-1843) 1865-1870

Dom Thomas Cuthbert Smith, Provincial of Canterbury 1866

Dom Edward Anselm O’Gorman, Former President-General 1888-1892

Dom Robert Aloysius Wilkinson, Former Rector 1906-1907 +


1915: M. L’ Abbe Haereus, a refugee Belgian Priest, who was residing with Father Romanus Thomas at St Gregory’s Rectory was invited to become an Honorary Member of the New Club.




1687c-1688 Rev. Father Pius Gervase Westcote alias Littleton O.P.

1782 Rev. Father Andrew Weetman, O.S.F. (From Perthyre)

Extract from Rev. J Birdsall’s Memoirs of the Gloucester Mission – communicated to be by Miss Fanny Blount, Leamington. (Gloucester Mission Register)

‘The letter from Sir John Webb to Bp Walmesley, saying that Bp Talbot (V.A. of the London District) His successors were to nominate the Priest for Gloucester etc., is dated Aug. 9 1788. Seven or eight hundred pounds of the 1,000 guineas placed in Bp. Talbot’s hands by Sir John Webb’s daughter are said to have been left for the above purpose by Sir J. Webb’s daughter, who died at the Hotwells, Bristol in 1787.

Rev Mr Gildart left Gloucester May 15 1789. He was succeeded by Rev Mr Greenway, who purchased the house and garden. He died Nov 29 1800 much regretted – he was buried near the wall under the pillar between the two windows nearest the altar.’



1788-1789 Rev. George Thomas Gildart

1789 Rev. John Jones may have spent a brief time in Gloucester

1789-1800 Rev. John Greenway

1800-1804 Rev. John Jones

1804-1816 L’Abbe Duchemin who had previously assisted at Gloucester and Cheltenham from about 1796

1816-1825 L’Abbe Bernard Giraud

1825-1828 Rev. John Burke

1828-1841 L’Abbe Augustin Louis Josse

!841-1847 Rev. Peter Hartley

1847-1848 Rev. Henry Godwin

1848 Rev. Michael Carroll

1848-1850 Rev. Thomas Michael McDonnell

1850 Rev. Henry Jones

1850-1864 Rev. Leonard Calderbank

1864-1876 L’Abbe J. P. Bouvier

Briefly in 1878 Rev. John Archdeacon

1878-1894 Very Rev. Canon Eustace John Fitzgerald Barron

(Rev. Patrick Keefe served during Canon Barron’s absence in 1891)

1894 Rev. James Shaughnessy served briefly before Canon Chard arrived)


1894-1934 Very Rev. Canon Joseph Bernard Chard

1934-1983 Rt. Rev. Monsignor Canon Provost Matthew Roche Prot. Ap.

1983-1998 Very Rev Canon Michael English



(IV) Clergy entries in the Laity Directories and Catholic Directories for the County of Gloucestershire

Clergy Chart 1Clergy Chart 2


One comment on “Catholic Priests in Gloucestershire

  1. Richard Barton
    March 20, 2019


    From Yvonne:

    I wonder if you could help me please?

    I am doing some research on some of the Giffard family of Nercwys, Flintshire, Wales and a Monsieur Le Tellier visits them at irregular times and I just wonder whether he was a Catholic priest. The family had a Catholic chapel in their home and various priests lived with the family around the period of the French revolution. The years I think Monsieur Le Tellier was visiting the family were between 1807-1831. Could you please tell me where I could find more information about this priest please. He is in your list for Beckford in 1815. Thank you for your help.


    Hi Yvonne,

    Dom Aidan Bellenger wrote an article entitled ‘Exiled French Clergy in Glos & N. Avon’ for Issue 9 of the Journal of the Gloucestershire and North Avon Catholic History Society (Spring 1989)

    ‘Beckford, on the borders of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, had at least three resident French priests at the latter end of the emigration period which ran in its full flood from 1792-1815. One, mentioned by George Oliver in his Collections (1857), was Christophe Louvel of the Rouen Diocese. A second, an abbé Letellier is recorded as having conducted a baptism at Tewkesbury in October 1814 (Cheltenham Register). In 1815, the year of Waterloo, Father Birdsall, the Benedictine founding father of the Cheltenham mission, tells us that a ‘Revd Mr Le Tellier left Beckford and returned to France … he is the Pastor of Biennais, near Rouen’ (Birdsall’s Diary). Le Tellier was a common name among the Norman clergy and I have discovered eighteen of that name in English exile – (Bellenger, p 248). Three of them, Francois Joseph Robert (1760-1825), Jacques Antoine (1752-1819) and Jean Philibert we’re from the Archdiocese of Rouen. I tend to think it was the first of these, Francois Joseph, who was at Beckford. Jacques Antoine worked in the north and Jean Philibert is altogether too elusive a character. The third of the French priests at Beckford was …’

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