Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eyre, Thomas (1748-1810)

EYRE, THOMAS (1748–1810), catholic divine, son of Nathaniel Eyre, esq., was born in 1748 and educated in the school established at Esquerchin in connection with the English College at Douay. After being ordained priest he was retained in the college as a professor. In 1775 he returned to England and was placed in charge of the congregation on the Stella estate in the parish of Ryton, Durham. He began in 1791 to collect materials for a continuation of Dodd's ‘Church History of England,’ but the destruction of the English catholic establishments abroad called him to a more active life and prevented him from proceeding with the work. About 1792 he was appointed to the mission of Pontop Hall, near Lanchester, Durham. In 1794 a number of the students who had been driven from Douay were established in the new college at Crook Hall, Durham, which was temporarily placed under Eyre's direction. The Rev. John Daniel [q. v.], president of Douay College, arrived at Crook Hall in the following year, and by virtue of his office assumed the charge of the students. A few days afterwards, however, Daniel resigned, and Eyre was appointed president of Crook Hall. The institution flourished under his management, and in 1808 the professors and students removed to the larger college which had been built for them at Ushaw, four miles from Durham. There Eyre died on 8 May 1810.

He published: 1. ‘The Instruction of Youth in Christian Piety,’ Newcastle, 1783, 2 vols. 8vo, a translation from the French of Charles Gobinet. 2. An edition of John Goter's ‘Spiritual Works,’ Newcastle, 1790, 16 vols. 12mo.

His manuscript collections, in 2 vols. 4to, for a continuation of Dodd's ‘Church History’ are preserved at Ushaw College.

[Gillow's Bibl. Dict. i. pref. p. vi, ii. 199; Brady's Episcopal Succession, iii. 218.]

T. C.