Errington, George (DNB00)

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ERRINGTON, GEORGE (1804–1886), catholic archbishop, the second of the three sons of Thomas Errington, esq., by Katherine, daughter of Walter Dowdall of Dublin, was born on 14 Sept. 1804, on his father's property at Clintz, near Richmond in Yorkshire. He was entered at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, near Durham, 16 Aug. 1814, where he remained until August 1821. In October he started for Rome, where on 21 Nov. 1821 he was enrolled as an ecclesiastical student at the English College. In 1824 he received a ‘proxime accessit’ in dogmatic, and the second prize in scholastic theology. On 17 Dec. 1825 he was ordained subdeacon, and on 23 Dec. 1826 deacon, having in that year obtained a ‘proxime accessit e schola locorum Theologicorum.’ In 1827 he took his degree as doctor of divinity, and on 22 Dec. he was ordained priest in St. John Lateran. On Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman assuming the rectorship of the English College at Rome, Errington, on 29 May 1832, was appointed vice-rector. His health broke down and he travelled for eight years through France and Spain in company with his eldest brother, Michael, adding to his intimate knowledge of Italian a mastery of the French and Spanish languages. In 1840 he accompanied Mgr. Wiseman, then recently consecrated bishop of Melipotamus, to England. There they settled at St. Mary's College, Oscott, over which Errington presided from August 1843 to June 1847, Wiseman being then removed from the midland district to go as pro-vicar-apostolic to London. Errington went as a missionary priest in February 1848 to Liverpool, where he took charge of St. Nicholas's Chapel. Thence in July 1849 he was sent to St. John's Chapel in Salford, on the site of which he built the present St. John's Cathedral. On the establishment of the new catholic hierarchy in England, Errington, in September 1850, was nominated the first bishop of Plymouth. He received episcopal consecration in St. John's, Salford, on 25 July 1851 at the hands of Cardinal Wiseman. On 7 Aug. he took possession of his see in the chapel of St. Mary's, Plymouth. He left the diocese upon his nomination in March 1855 as coadjutor to Cardinal Wiseman, with the right of succession to the archdiocese of Westminster. In April 1855 Errington was translated to the archbishopric of Trebizond in partibus, and in June went to London to reside with Cardinal Wiseman. In October 1855 he was appointed administrator of the diocese of Clifton, and held the position for sixteen months. Prior Park was sold under Errington's direction, and the financial embarrassments of the diocese cleared up. On 5 Dec. 1856 he was made assistant at the pontifical throne, and in that capacity, on 15 Feb. 1857, was chosen by Pius IX to assist that pontiff in the consecration in the Sistine chapel of Dr. Clifford as bishop of Clifton. On 2 July 1862, in obedience to the decision of the sovereign pontiff, Errington was relieved from any further connection with the archdiocese of Westminster, it being deemed expedient that his association with Cardinal Wiseman in its governance should cease. Errington had long won to himself the title of the ‘Iron Archbishop,’ and Wiseman was made of less rigid materials. Twice after his removal from Westminster Errington was offered important sees by Pius IX, but he preferred to remain in retirement. In September 1865, however, he accepted, and held for more than three years, from Bishop Goss of Liverpool, charge of the missions in the Isle of Man. In 1868 he was elected by propaganda to be the apostolic delegate for the missions in Scotland, an appointment which he first accepted, but immediately afterwards resigned. From December 1869 to July 1870 he assisted as Archbishop of Trebizond at the Œcumenical Council of the Vatican. He returned home with Bishop Clifford, who had meanwhile repurchased Prior Park for the diocese of Clifton. Clifford induced him to undertake the tuition of the young theological students at St. Paul's College. He settled there in October 1870, and passed the happiest years of his life at Prior Park. He died at Prior Park on 19 Jan. 1886, and was buried on the 26th in the college church. He was a man of inflexible integrity and profound erudition.

[See Bishop Clifford's Discourse at Archbishop Errington's Funeral, 8vo, pp. 23; Times, 20 Jan. 1886; Maziere Brady's Episcopal Succession in England, &c., pp. 376, 436, 437, 473; Shepherd's Reminiscences of Prior Park College, p. 20; Dr. Oliver's Collections illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in Cornwall, &c., pp. 297–299.]

C. K.