Grant, Thomas (1816-1870) (DNB00)

GRANT, THOMAS, D.D. (1816–1870), bishop of Southwark, was born at Ligny-les-Aires in the diocese of Arras, France, on 25 Nov. 1816, being the son of Sergeant (afterwards Captain) Bernard Grant, an Irishman and an officer in the British army. Under the auspices of Dr. Briggs, afterwards bishop of Beverley, he was sent to St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, near Durham, and in 1836 to the English College at Rome, of which he became rector in 1844, in succession to Dr. Baggs. He was secretary to Cardinal Acton, and was agent at Rome for the English bishops who were petitioning for the restoration of the hierarchy. He translated into Italian, for the use of Propaganda, the numerous English documents sent to the holy see during the progress of those negotiations, and he furnished Mgr. Palma with the materials for his historical preface to the apostolic decree of 1850, re-establishing the Roman catholic hierarchy in this country. He was nominated by Pope Pius IX the first bishop of the new see of Southwark, and was consecrated at Rome by Cardinal Franzoni 6 July 1851. He was eminent for the simplicity and self-denial of his life, and for his extreme modesty. His opinion was frequently sought by the government on points where the canon law and the law of the land appeared to be in conflict, and, according to Bishop Ullathorne, he was very successful in negotiations respecting the appointment of catholic chaplains in the public services. Although suffering from cancer in the stomach, he went to Rome in November 1869 to attend the œcumenical council of the Vatican. He was appointed latinist to the council, and member of the congregation for the oriental rite and the apostolic missions. Ill-health incapacitated him from taking any active duty after 14 Feb. 1870. He died at Rome, 1 June 1870, and was buried in the cemetery attached to the convent at Norwood, Surrey.

A biography of him was published by 'Grace Ramsay' (i.e. Miss Kathleen O'Meara), London, 1874, 8vo, with two photographic portraits. A monument with bust was erected to his memory in St. George's Cathedral, Southwark.

[Life by O'Meara; Brady's Episcopal Succession, vol. iii.; Catholic Directory, 1888, p. 241; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Month, new ser. ii. 24; Ornsby's Life of J. R. Hope-Scott; Tablet, 11 June 1870, pp. 741, 746; Ullathorne's Hist. of the Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in England; Weekly Register, 4 June 1870.]

T. C.