Open main menu


HAYDOCK, GEORGE LEO (1774–1849), biblical scholar, born on 11 April 1774, was youngest son of George Haydock of the Tagg, Cottam, near Wood Plumpton, Lancashire, by his second wife, Anne, daughter of William Cottam, gentleman, of Bilsborrow. He received his early education in a school kept by the Rev. Robert Banister at Mowbreck Hall, near Kirkham, and in 1785 was sent to the English College of Douay. At the beginning of the French revolution he effected his escape from Douay in August 1793, in company with his brother, Thomas Haydock [q. v.], and the Rev. William Davis, one of the minor professors. After a brief sojourn at Old Hall Green, near Ware, Hertfordshire, he went home on 3 Nov. 1794, remaining at the Tagg till January 1796, when he rejoined many of his old Douay companions in the college at Crook Hall, Durham. He was ordained priest on 22 Sept. 1798, and appointed general prefect and master of all the schools under poetry. These offices he held till 26 Jan. 1803, receiving only 5l. for his five years' work. On leaving the college he took charge of the poor mission of Ugthorpe, Yorkshire. In 1808 he began to write the notes for the new edition of the Douay Bible and Rheims Testament which was projected by his brother Thomas, and was completed in 1814. In July 1816 he was officially appointed to the mission of Whitby, but was still under the obligation of attending Ugthorpe. Quarrels with his superiors led to his removal on 22 Sept. 1830 to the mission at Westby Hall, Lancashire, where he remained eleven months. As soon as Bishop Smith died, his successor in the northern vicariate, Bishop Penswick, without previous admonition, interdicted Haydock from saying mass in his district, by letter dated 19 Aug. 1831. Thereupon he quietly retired to his estate, the Tagg, where for over eight years he devoted himself to study, with books all around him lining the walls, and piled in heaps on the floors. He appealed to Propaganda twice in 1832 against Bishop Penswick's interdict, but his letters were intercepted and sent to the bishop against whom he appealed. In 1838 he appealed to Propaganda for the third time, and this resulted in his faculties being restored by Bishop Briggs's vicar-general on 18 Nov. 1839, without any explanation offered, or any retractation required. He was then appointed to the poor mission at Penrith, Cumberland, where he arrived four days later. He died at Penrith on 29 Nov. 1849. His library was sold by auction at Preston in 1851.

In the opinion of Archdeacon Cotton, Haydock did not possess ‘high scholarship, but was a pious and warm-hearted man, a most industrious reader, and liberal annotator,’ often covering his books with manuscript notes (Rhemes and Doway, p. 85).

Haydock's chief publication was ‘The Holy Bible, translated from the Latin Vulgate; diligently compared with the Hebrew, Greek, and other editions in divers languages. The Old Testament, first published by the English College at Douay A.D. 1609, and the New Testament, first published by the English College at Rheims A.D. 1582. With Notes selected from the most eminent commentators, and the most able and judicious critics,’ 2 vols. Manchester, 1812–14, fol.; 2nd edit., Dublin, 1812–13, fol. This work, in which he received assistance from other divines, was published in shilling numbers. It was mainly based on the text of Bishop Challoner, published in 1750, but in the New Testament the text of Dr. Troy's edition of 1794 is largely followed. All Challoner's notes are inserted with his signature attached. Other notes are adapted from Bristow, Calmet, Du Hamel, Estius, Menochius, Pastorini (i.e. Bishop Charles Walmesley), Tirinus, Worthington, and Witham. The editor's original observations are marked with the letter H. Archdeacon Cotton credits him with unwearied diligence, but with an occasional want of judgment in the selection of his notes, due to the rapidity with which the work was prepared for press. The notes to the New Testament were compiled by the Rev. Benedict Rayment, Thomas Gregory Robinson, O.S.B., and some of the monks of Ampleforth; those written by Rayment being designated by the letter A. Haydock's Bible was republished at Edinburgh and Dublin in 1845–8. Dr. Husenbeth prepared a new edition in 2 vols. 1850–3, 4to. A New York edition appeared in 1852–6. Of Haydock's other works the principal are: 1. ‘Douay Dictates,’ manuscript, 5 vols., 1796–8, in the possession of Mr. Joseph Gillow. 2. ‘The Psalms and Canticles in the Roman Office, paraphrased and illustrated, with some choice Observations of F. de Carrieres, Calmet, Rondet, &c.,’ manuscript, 4 vols., 1805–6; formerly in the possession of Archdeacon Cotton. 3. ‘The Tree of Life; or the one Church of God from Adam until the 19th or 58th Century,’ Manchester, 1809. A chart presenting at one view an epitome of church history chronologically arranged. It is a version of the ‘Tree of Life’ published by Thomas Ward. 4. ‘Biblical Disquisitions,’ manuscript, intended as a supplement to the Bible. 5. ‘A Key to the Roman Catholic Office,’ Whitby, 1823, 12mo. 6. ‘A Collection of Catholic Hymns,’ York, 1823, 12mo. Portraits of him in oil and in silhouette are in the possession of Mr. Joseph Gillow.

[Memoirs in Gillow's Dict. of English Catholics, and in Gillow's Haydock Papers; Cotton's Rhemes and Doway, p. 406; Whittle's Preston, ii. 336; Hardwick's Preston, p. 656; Sutton's Lancashire Authors, p. 51.]

T. C.