Knox, Thomas Francis (DNB00)


KNOX, THOMAS FRANCIS, D.D. (1822–1882), superior of the London Oratory, born on 24 Dec. 1822, was the eldest son of John Henry Knox, M.P., third son of Thomas Knox, first earl of Ranfurly. His father died on 27 Aug. 1872. His mother was Lady Mabella Josephine, eighth daughter of Francis Jack Needham [q. v.], first earl of Kilmorey. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1845, coming out in the first class of the classical tripos and as second chancellor's medallist. On 16 Nov. in the same year he and Frederick William Faber [q. v.] were received into the Roman catholic church at Northampton. At the beginning of 1848 he was admitted a member of the congregation of the Oratory by Father Newman at Maryvale, and in the following year he went with Father Faber to found the London Oratory, in which he remained till his death. He was created D.D. by Pope Pius IX in 1875, at which time he held the office of superior of the London Oratory. His learning and prudence were highly valued by Cardinal Manning. He held for several years the office of ‘Defensor Matrimoniorum’ in the archdiocese of Westminster, and he took a leading part in promoting the canonisation of the English martyrs. He died at the Oratory, South Kensington, on 20 March 1882, and was buried in the private cemetery of the Oratorian fathers at Sydenham.

His works are: 1. ‘Life of Blessed Henry Suso, by himself. Translated from the German,’ London, 1865, 8vo. 2. ‘When does the Church speak infallibly? or the Nature and Scope of the Church's Teaching Office,’ London, 1867, 8vo; 2nd edit., enlarged, London, 1870, 8vo; also translated into German and Italian. 3. ‘The last Survivor of the ancient English Hierarchy, Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St. Asaph’ [London, 1876, 8vo]. Reprinted from the ‘Month and Catholic Review,’ January and February 1876, and republished by the Rev. T. E. Bridgett, in his ‘True Story of the Catholic Hierarchy deposed by Queen Elizabeth,’ London [1889], 8vo. Knox prefixed ‘Historical Introductions’ to the ‘Diaries’ of the English College, Douay (1878), and Cardinal Allen's ‘Letters’ (1882), which form respectively vols. i. and ii. of ‘Records of the English Catholics under the Penal Laws.’ He also edited the Rev. Thomas Whytehead's ‘College Life. Letters to an Undergraduate,’ Cambridge, 1845, 8vo.

[Bowden's Life of Faber, pp. 238, 363, 424; Browne's Annals of the Tractarian Movement, 3rd edit. p. 101; Graduati Cantabr.; Tablet, 25 March 1882, p. 471, 1 April, p. 511; Times, 25 March 1882, p. 12, col. 1; Weekly Reg, 25 March 1882, pp. 365, 369, 1 April, p. 386.]

T. C.