Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Weld, Thomas (1773-1837)

WELD, THOMAS (1773–1837), cardinal, born in London on 22 Jan. 1773, was the eldest son of Thomas Weld of Lullworth Castle, Dorset, by his wife Mary, eldest daughter of Sir John Stanley Massey Stanley of Hooton, who belonged to the elder and catholic branch of the Stanley family, now extinct. He was educated at home under Charles Plowden [q. v.], and at an early age he gave proof of his great piety and munificent charity, which was particularly displayed in favour of many religious communities that were driven into England by the fury of the French revolution. He concurred with his father in bestowing upon the banished members of the Society of Jesus the splendid mansion of Stonyhurst. The Trappist nuns were received at Lullworth; while the Poor Clares from Gravelines and the nuns of the Visitation were also special objects of his bounty. George III, in his sojourns at Weymouth, used to visit Lullworth, and always expressed the greatest regard for the family.

On 14 June 1796 Weld married, at Ugbrooke, Lucy Bridget, second daughter of Thomas Clifford of Tixall, fourth son of Hugh, third lord Clifford. Their only issue was Mary Lucy, born at Upway, near Weymouth, on 31 Jan. 1799. The loss of his wife at Clifton on 1 June 1815, and the subsequent marriage of his only child to her second cousin, Hugh Charles Clifford (afterwards seventh Baron Clifford), on 1 Sept. 1818, left him at liberty to embrace the ecclesiastical state, and to renounce the family property to his next brother, Joseph Weld. He placed himself under the direction of his old friend, the celebrated Abbé Carron, and Mgr. Quelen, archbishop of Paris, ordained him priest on 7 April 1821. On 20 June 1822 he began to assist the pastor of the Chelsea mission, and after some time he was removed to Hammersmith. The holy see having nominated him coadjutor to Alexander Macdonell (1762–1840) [q. v.], bishop of Kingston, the ceremony of Weld's consecration as bishop of Amycla, a town of the Morea, was performed at St. Edmund's College, near Ware, by Bishop William Poynter [q. v.] on 6 Aug. 1826. Circumstances, however, delayed his departure for Canada. His daughter being in failing health, he accompanied her and her husband to Italy, and shortly after his arrival at Rome Cardinal Alboni, on 19 Jan. 1830, announced to him that Pius VIII had decided to honour him with the purple. He was admitted into the College of Cardinals on 15 March 1830, and on this occasion a Latin ode was composed and published to Dominic Gregorj (Rome, 1830, 4to). His daughter died at Palo on 15 May 1831, and was buried on the 18th in the church of Marcellus at Rome, from which his eminence derived his title. On his elevation to the Sacred College he received assurances from persons of high influence and dignity in England that his nomination had excited no jealousy, but on the contrary had given general satisfaction. His apartments in the Odescalchi palace were splendidly furnished, and periodically filled by the aristocracy of Rome, native and foreign, and by large numbers of his fellow-countrymen (Wiseman, Recollections of the Four Last Popes, 2nd edit. p. 246). He died on 19 April 1837, and his remains were deposited in the church of S. Maria Aquiro. The funeral oration, delivered by Nicholas (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman, has been published (London, 1837, 8vo).

His brother, Joseph Weld (1777–1863), third son of Thomas Weld, was born on 27 Jan. 1777. He received the exiled royal family of France at Lullworth in August 1830, the king and his suite remaining there for some days, until their removal to Holyrood House. He was the owner of the Alarm, Arrow, and Lullworth yachts, which he navigated himself until very late in life, and, having a practical knowledge and a real liking for the sea, he was always very fortunate in the construction and sailing of his vessels. He died at Lullworth Castle on 19 Oct. 1863.

[Brady's Episcopal Succession, iii. 199, 345, 437; Catholic Directory, 1838, with portrait; Edinburgh Catholic Mag. new ser. London, 1837, i. 383, iii. frontispiece (portrait); Gent. Mag. 1864, i. 120; Gerard's Stonyhurst College Centenary (portrait); Gibson's Lydiate Hall, p. 148; Laity's Directory, 1838, with portrait; London and Dublin Orthodox Journal, 1837, iv. 276; Macdonell's Life of Bishop Macdonell, Toronto, 1888, p. 25; Oliver's Cornwall, pp. 50, 434; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 51; Rimmer's Stonyhurst Illustrated, 1884, with portrait; Ullathorne's Autobiography, pp. 122, 125.]

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