Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Weedall, Henry

WEEDALL, HENRY (1788–1859), president of St. Mary's College, Oscott, born in London on 6 Sept. 1788, was son of a medical practitioner who had been at Douay College with John Milner [q. v.], bishop of Castabala. At the age of six years he was sent to the school at Sedgley Park, and there he remained for nine years and a half. Being destined for the priesthood, he continued his course at St. Mary's College, Oscott, and was ordained priest by Bishop Milner at Wolverhampton on 6 April 1814. He taught classics in the college for some years, and in 1818 he became its vice-president and professor of theology. Afterwards he was appointed acting president of the college, and he became absolute president in 1826. He was also chosen a canon of the English chapter, and made vicar-general to Bishop Thomas Walsh, vicar-apostolic of the midland district. He was created D.D. by Leo XII in January 1829. During his presidency the new buildings at Oscott were erected, and his name is intimately associated with that college and seminary, where he spent more than forty years of his life.

In 1840 he was nominated bishop of Abydos in partibus, and vicar-apostolic of the new northern district of England, but he went to Rome and obtained a release from the appointment. In June 1843 he took charge of the mission at Leamington. Being called to St. Chad's, Birmingham, he was made vicar-general and dean of the cathedral. Soon afterwards he retired to the convent at Handsworth, near Birmingham. He was appointed provost of Birmingham, and he assisted at the first council of Westminster. In July 1853 he was reinstated as president of Oscott College, and on 9 May 1854 he was named by Pius IX a monsignor of the second rank, as domestic prelate of his Holiness, being thus entitled to the style of ‘right reverend.’ He died at Oscott on 7 Nov. 1859. His funeral sermon, preached by Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Newman, was published under the title of ‘The Tree beside the Waters.’

Weedall was distinguished by his eloquence as a preacher. He was diminutive in stature, and suffered from ill-health throughout his life.

He was the author of:

  1. An edition of the ‘Douay Latin Grammar,’ 1821.
  2. ‘The Origin, Object, and Influence of Ecclesiastical Seminaries considered. … To which is added a short discourse explaining the Doctrine and Meaning of the Catholic Church in consecrating Bells,’ Birmingham, 1838, 8vo.

He also published several funeral sermons and addresses.

[Life by F. C. Husenbeth, D.D. Lond. 1860; London and Dublin Orthodox Journal, 1838, vii. 168; Oscotian, new ser. iv. 275 (with portrait), and the ‘History of Oscott’ in subsequent volumes of that periodical; Gent. Mag. 1859, ii. 653; Brady's Episcopal Succession, iii. 237, 242, 325, 342.]

T. C.