George Witham

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The Right Reverend
George Witham
Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District
Church Roman Catholic Church
Appointed 6 April 1716
Term ended 16 April 1725
Predecessor James Smith
Successor Thomas Dominic Williams
Other posts Titular Bishop of Marcopolis
Orders
Consecration 15 April 1703
by Cardinal Marcantonio Barbarigo
Personal details
Born 16 May 1655
Cliffe Hall, Cliffe, near Darlington
Died 16 April 1725 (aged 69)
Cliffe Hall, Cliffe, near Darlington
Buried All Saints' Church, Manfield, near Darlington
Nationality English
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents George Witham and Grace (or Catherine) Witham (née Wyvill)
Previous post Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District

George Witham (1655–1725) was an English Roman Catholic bishop who served firstly as the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, then the Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born at Cliffe Hall, Cliffe, near Darlington on 16 May 1655,[1] the second of the six sons of George Witham of Cliffe and Grace (or Catherine) Wyvill, daughter of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, 2nd Bt., of Constable Burton Hall, Yorkshire.

His elder brother, John, succeeded to Cliffe Hall, while three of his other brothers were also ordained to the priesthood: Thomas was Superior of the English Seminary in Paris, Robert was President of English College, Douai, and Anthony was a Douai priest, who fell into ill heath and retired to serve the convent of the Poor Clares in Rouen.[2]

From 1692 to 1694, he was safely harboured by his brother-in-law, George Palmes, of the Palmes family, at Naburn Hall along with several other Catholic priests.[3] In 1694, Witham was sent to Rome by bishops Leyburn, Giffard and Smith. In their letter to the Propaganda Fide, dated 20 October 1694, they commissioned Witham to serve as their agent for English matters with the authorities in Rome. He was also recommended to the Propaganda Fide by a letter from James II & VII, the exiled king of England and Scotland. Witham remained in his post in Rome until nominated to a Vicariate in 1702.[4]

Vicar Apostolic[edit]

It had been intended for Witham to succeed as the Vicar Apostolic of the London District,[5] following the death of John Leyburn in 1702.[6] He was consecrated the Titular Bishop of Marcopolis on 15 April 1703 by Cardinal Marcantonio Barbarigo, Bishop of Montefiascone.[1][7] On his return to England, it had been determined instead for Bonaventure Giffard to transfer from the Midland District to the London District on 14 March 1703.[8] Leaving Witham appointed in charge of the Midland District on 12 August 1702.[1]

After fourteen years, he transferred to the Northern District on 6 April 1716. Due to his increasing age and various infirmities he wrote to Rome on 26 March 1723 to request for a coadjutor. He suggested Edward Dicconson for the post, however, the Holy See did not comply to the request.[9]

He died in office at Cliffe Hall on 16 April 1725, aged 69,[1] and was buried at All Saints' Church, Manfield, near Darlington.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Bishop George Witham at Catholic-Hierarchy Retrieved on 20 June 2011.
  2. ^ Brady 1876, The Episcopal Succession volume 3, p. 204.
  3. ^ Papers of the Palmes Family of Naburn in the National Archives
  4. ^ Brady 1876, The Episcopal Succession volume 3, p. 205.
  5. ^ Brady 1876, The Episcopal Succession volume 3, p. 149.
  6. ^ Bishop John Leyburn at Catholic-Hierarchy Retrieved on 20 June 2011.
  7. ^ Marcantonio "Cardinal" Barbarigo at Catholic-Hierarchy Retrieved on 20 June 2011.
  8. ^ Bishop Bonaventure Giffard at Catholic-Hierarchy Retrieved on 20 June 2011.
  9. ^ a b Brady 1876, The Episcopal Succession volume 3, p. 250.

Bibliography[edit]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bonaventure Giffard
Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District
1702–1716
Succeeded by
John Talbot Stonor
Preceded by
James Smith
Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District
1716–1725
Succeeded by
Thomas Dominic Williams