Bridgett, Thomas Edward (DNB01)

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BRIDGETT, THOMAS EDWARD (1829–1899), Roman catholic priest and historical writer, third son of Joseph' Bridgett, a silk manufacturer of Colney Hatch, and his wife Mary (born Gregson), was born at Derby on 20 Jan. 1829. His parents were baptists, and Bridgett was educated first at Mill Hill school and then at Nottingham; but in 1848 he was admitted to Tunbridge School, and on 20 March 1845 was baptised into the church of England. He was in the sixth form at Tunbridge from 1845 to 1847, proceeding thence as Smythe exhibitioner to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted pensioner on 23 Feb. 1847. He intended taking orders in the Anglican church, but in 1850 he refused to take the oath of supremacy necessary before graduation, and was received into the Roman catholic church by Father Stanton at the Brompton Oratory. For six years he studied on the continent; he joined the Redemptorist Order, and in 1856 was ordained priest. Mission work is the chief function of the order, and as a missionary Bridgett was very successful. In 1868 he founded the Confraternity of the Holy Family attached to the Redemptorist church at Limerick.

Bridgett, however, found time for a good deal of literary and historical work, and produced several books of value, dealing mainly with the history of the Reformation. His earliest work was 'The Ritual of the New Testament,' 1873, 8vo. In 1875 he published 'Our Lady's Dowry,' which reached a third edition in 1890. His largest work was his 'History of the Holy Eucharist in Great Britain,' 1881, 2 vols. 8vo. In 1888 he published a 'Life of Blessed John Fisher' (2nd edit. 1890); in 1889 'The True Story of the Catholic Hierarchy deposed bv Queen Elizabeth;' and in 1891 'The Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More.' He also edited the 'Sermons' (1876) of Bishop Thomas Watson (1513–1584) [q. v.]; 'Lyra Hieratica. Poems on the Priesthood,' 1896; and wrote 'The Discipline of Drink; an historical inquiry into the principles and practice of the Catholic Church regarding the use, abuse, and disuse of alcoholic liquors,' 1876, 'Historical Notes on Adare,' Dublin, 1885, 8vo, and 'Sonnets and Epigrams on Sacred Subjects,' London, 1898, 8vo. He died of cancer at the monastery of St. Mary's, Clapham, on 17 Feb. 1899, and was buried on the 21st in the Roman catholic cemetery at Mortlake. His youngest brother, Ronald, for many years consul at Buenos Ayres, died the day before him.

[The Eagle, xx. 577-84; Times, 20 Feb. 1899; Tablet, 25 Feb. 1899; Hughes-Hughes's Reg. of Tunbridge School, 1820-93, p. 61 Bridgett's Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; information from R. F. Scott, esq., St. John's College, Cambridge.]

A. F. P.