Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Robert Plowden
Elder brother of Charles, born 27 January, 1740; died at Wappenbury, 27 June, 1823. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1756, and was ordained in 1763. After some years spent at Hoogstraet in Belgium, as director of the Carmelite Nuns, he returned to England, and was stationed at Arlington, Devon, from 1777 to 1787. Appointed to Bristol, he had a wider field for his zeal and ability: at his coming, the Catholics had only one wretched room in a back alley for a chapel; Father Plowden's exertions resulted in the erection of St. Joseph's Church, together with a parochial residence and schools. His activity was extended to the mission of Swansea and South Wales District, of which he may be considered the principal founder. He remained at Bristol for nearly thirty years, beloved by his flock, and esteemed by all for his frank character, disinterested labours, and bounty to the poor. Removed from Bristol in 1815, he became chaplain to the Fitzherbert family at Swynnerton until 1820, when he retired to Wappendbury, where he died. He was a keen theologian, "a more solid divine than his brother Charles", according to Bishop Carroll — an unflinching defender of Catholic principles and practices, and a firm supporter of Bishop Milner in trying circumstances. The inscription on his tomb commemorates his candor, zeal, and learning. He translated from the French: "The Elevation of the Soul to God", which passed through several editions in England; American editions, Philadelphia, 1817, and New York, 1852.
Foley, Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus. IV, 554; Oliver Collections S.J.
E. I. Devitt.