Doyle, Thomas (DNB00)


DOYLE, THOMAS, D.D. (1793–1879), catholic divine, born on 21 Dec. 1793, was prosecuting his studies at St. Edmund's College, Ware, where he had acted as organist, when a sudden dearth of priests obliged the bishop, Dr. Poynter, to confer on him the priesthood in 1819 before he had finished his theological curriculum. He was sent to St. George's, then the Royal Belgian Chapel, in the London Road, Southwark, in 1820, and nine years later he became senior priest there. It was owing to his exertions that the large cathedral, dedicated to St. George, was built, from designs by Arthur Welby Pugin, in St. George's Fields, on the spot where in 1780 Lord George Gordon assembled his followers to march to the houses of parliament in order to protest against any concessions to the catholics. The works were begun in September 1840, and the building was consecrated on 4 July 1848. The Protestant Association issued a special tract on the occasion entitled ‘The Opening of the new Popish Mass House in St. George's Fields.’ The opening was attended by all the English, and several Irish, Scotch, and foreign bishops, and also 260 priests, together with members of the orders of Passionists, Dominicans, Cistercians, Benedictines, Franciscans, Oratorians, and Brothers of Charity. The church was the finest Roman catholic edifice built in England in post-reformation times. When the papal hierarchy was re-established in 1850, Doyle was constituted provost of the cathedral chapter of the newly erected see of Southwark. He was a great friend of Cardinal Wiseman, and of John, earl of Shrewsbury, who employed him in several matters of trust and confidence. His frequent letters to the ‘Tablet,’ under the signature of ‘Father Thomas,’ were full of a quaint humour peculiar to himself. He died at St. George's on 6 June 1879, and was buried in the cathedral.

[Tablet, 14 June 1879, p. 756; Weekly Register, 14 June 1879, p. 373; Times, 9 June 1879, p. 13 a; Annual Register (1848) Chron. p. 84.]

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