George Dwyer

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The Most Reverend
George Patrick Dwyer
Archbishop of Birmingham
Archdiocese Birmingham
See Birmingham
Appointed 5 October 1965
Term ended 1 September 1981
Predecessor Francis Grimshaw
Successor Maurice Couve de Murville
Ordination 1 November 1932
Consecration 24 September 1957
by John Carmel Heenan
Personal details
Born (1908-09-25)25 September 1908
Manchester, England
Died 17 September 1987(1987-09-17) (aged 78)
Birmingham, England
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Bishop of Leeds (1957-1965)

George Patrick Dwyer (25 September 1908, Manchester – 17 September 1987) was Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham from 1965 to 1981.

Life and ministry[edit]

The son of John William Dwyer, a wholesale egg and potato merchant, and his wife Jemima, and also a cousin of Anthony Burgess,[1] he was educated at St Bede's College, Manchester (1919–26), then at the Venerable English College, Rome after being accepted by the Salford Diocese as a candidate for the priesthood. Dwyer proved an outstanding student, and was awarded doctorates in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained priest on 1 November 1932, and returned to England to study languages at Christ's College, Cambridge.[2]

Following postgraduate studies in Rome and Cambridge from 1932 to 1937, he returned to St Bede's as a member of the teaching staff before joining the Catholic Missionary Society as vice-superior in 1947. He also edited the Catholic Gazette for four years until his appointment as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society in 1951.

He was consecrated bishop on 24 September 1957 following his appointment as Bishop of Leeds, before his appointment as Archbishop of Birmingham in October 1965.

After the death of John Carmel Heenan (a close friend of Dwyer's) in 1975, Dwyer was seen by some as a natural successor as Archbishop of Westminster. However, Dwyer informed the Apostolic Delegate he felt that at sixty-seven his age was too great for him to be considered for the post. He was, however, elected president of the Bishops' Conference during the first three years of Basil Hume's episcopate, becoming the first bishop to hold that position who was not also Archbishop of Westminster.[2]

Dwyer is buried at Oscott College.

His coat of arms is blazoned, 'Argent on a saltire Gules a jousting spear Or' thus incorporating the names of St Patrick and St George. His motto was Spe Gaudentes (Rejoicing in Hope).


  1. ^ "Liana Burgess", Daily Telegraph, 6 December 2007 .
  2. ^ a b Worlock, Derek (2004). "Dwyer, George Patrick (1908–1987)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  • The Birmingham Post Year Book and Who's Who 1973-74, Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd, July 1973
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Carmel Heenan
Bishop of Leeds
Succeeded by
William Gordon Wheeler
Preceded by
Francis Joseph Grimshaw
Archbishop of Birmingham
Succeeded by
Maurice Noël Léon Couve de Murville