Briggs, John (1788-1861) (DNB00)

BRIGGS, JOHN, D.D. (1788–1861), catholic bishop, was born at Manchester on 20 May 1788. He was educated first at Sedgeley Park, and afterwards at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, which he entered 13 Oct. 1804. There he began his theological studies, and by 14 Dec. 1804 had received the tonsure and the four minor orders. He was ordained sub-deacon on 19 Dec. 1812, and deacon on 3 April 1813, being advanced to the priesthood on 9 July 1814. For several years he held his place at St. Cuthbert's College as one of the professors. In 1918 he was first sent on the mission to Chester. There he remained in charge for fourteen years until his nomination on 28 March 1832 as president of St. Cuthbert's, when he returned to Ushaw. In January 1833 he was raised to the episcopate as coadjutor of Bishop Penswick, and was consecrated on 29 Jan. 1833 as bishop of Trachis in Thessalia. On the death of Bishop Penswick, 28 Jan. 1836, Bishop Briggs succeeded him as vicar apostolic of the northern district. On 30 July 1840 the four vicariates, created in 1888 by Innocent XI, were newly portioned out into eight by Gregory XVI, Bishop Briggs's diocese being then restricted to Yorkshire, and his title thenceforth being vicar-apostolic of the Yorkshire district. Ten years afterwards, when Pius IX called the new catholic hierarchy into existence, Bishop Briggs was translated on 39 Sept. 1860 to Beverley. Having held that see for ten years, he at length, by reason of his increasing infirmities, resigned it on 7 Nov. 1860, and two months later, on 4 Jan. 1861, died in his seventy-third year at his house in York. On 10 Jan. he was buried in the old parochial church of St. Leonard at Hazlewood, Tadcaster, which among all the parish churches of England has the exceptional peculiarity of having remained uninterruptedly a catholic church ever since its foundation in 1286 by Sir William de Vavasour. The bishop was a count of the holy Roman empire, and a domestic prelate of his holiness, as well as assistant at the pontifical throne, He was remarkable for his lofty and commanding stature, and in his later years had a peculiarly noble and patriarchal presence. His chosen motto, which was justified by his years of episcopal rule, was characteristic, 'Non recuso laborem.'

[Brady's Episcopal Succession, 280. 341, 396-398; Annual Register for 1861, 407; Gent. Mag. January 1861, 232; Hull Advertiser, 12 Jan. 1861, 4-5; Tablet, 12 Jan. 1861, 17, 21.]

C. K.