Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Robert Gradwell

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 6
Robert Gradwell

by Charles Francis Wemyss Brown


Bishop; b. at Clifton-in-the-Fylde, Lancashire, 26 Jan., 1777; d. in London, 15 March, 1833; went to Douai in 1791. The college being suppressed by the French revolutionists, he was confined for some time, and was not allowed to return to England till 1795. With most of the Douai refugees, he went to Crook Hall, Durham, where he was ordained priest in 1802. He taught poetry and rhetoric for seven years at Crook Hall, and at the new college at Ushaw. About this time, Pius VII decided to reopen the English College at Rome, and on Dr. Lingard's recommendation, Gradwell was appointed rector (1818). Under his prudent administration the establishment flourished exceedingly. He also acted as Roman agent for the English vicars Apostolic, exhibiting tact and diplomacy in this office. In 1821 the pope made him a doctor of divinity. In 1828 he was consecrated Bishop of Lydda, as coadjutor to Bishop Bramston, the vicar Apostolic of the London district, and he came to London soon afterwards to take up his new duties. His engaging personality soon endeared him to both clergy and people. Had he lived longer, he might have been one of the most eminent of English bishops, but unfortunately his constitution, undermined by the Roman summers, was unable to withstand the rigours of the English climate. After some years of ill-health, he died of dropsy. His writings include: "A dissertation of the Fable of Papal Antichrists" (London, 1816); "A Winter Evening Dialogue . . . or, Thoughts on the Rule of Faith" (London, 1816); and various journals, letters, and MSS. in connexion with his residence in Rome; his notes on the old archives of the English College there are some of historical interest; all are in the Westminster archdiocesan archives.

C. F. Wemyss Brown.