A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

Catholic Priests in 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)



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

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



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