Thomas Weld (cardinal)

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His Eminence

Thomas Weld
Cardinal-priest of San Marcello al Corso
Cardinal Thomas Weld
Ordination 3 April 1821
by Hyacinthe-Louis de Quélen
Consecration 6 August 1826
by William Poynter
Created Cardinal 15 March 1830
Rank Cardinal-priest
Personal details
Born 22 January 1773
Died 10 April 1837 (aged 64)
Buried Santa Maria in Aquiro, Rome
Nationality English
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Thomas and Mary Weld
Spouse Lucy Bridget Clifford
Children Mary Lucy Weld
Previous post Coadjutor Bishop of Kingston and Titular Bishop of Amyclae

Thomas Weld (22 January 1773 – 10 April 1837) was an English Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.


A member of the Weld-Blundell family, Weld was born in London on 22 January 1773, the eldest son of Thomas Weld of Lulworth Castle, Dorset, by his wife Mary, eldest daughter of Sir John Stanley Massey Stanley of Hooton, who belonged to the elder and Catholic branch of the Stanley family, now extinct.

He was educated at home under Charles Plowden. He supported religious communities that were driven into England by the French Revolution. He agreed with his father in giving the banished Jesuits the mansion of Stonyhurst. The Trappist nuns were received at Lulworth; while the Poor Clares of Gravelines and the Visitandines were also special objects of his bounty. George III, in his sojourns at Weymouth, used to visit Lulworth, and always expressed the greatest regard for the family.

On 14 June 1796 Weld married, at Ugbrooke, Lucy Bridget, second daughter of Thomas Clifford of Tixall, fourth son of Hugh, third Lord Clifford. Their only issue was Mary Lucy, born at Upwey, near Weymouth, on 31 January 1799. The loss of his wife at Clifton on 1 June 1815, and the subsequent marriage of his only child to her second cousin, Hugh Charles Clifford (afterwards seventh Baron Clifford), on 1 September 1818, left him at liberty to embrace the clerical state, and to renounce the family property to his next brother, Joseph Weld (see below). He placed himself under the direction of his old friend, the celebrated Abbé Carron, and Mgr Hyacinthe-Louis de Quélen, Archbishop of Paris, ordained him priest on 7 April 1821.

On 20 June 1822 he began to assist the pastor of the Chelsea mission, and after some time he was removed to Hammersmith. The Holy See having nominated him coadjutor to Alexander Macdonell (1762–1840), Bishop of Kingston, Ontario, the ceremony of Weld's consecration as titular Bishop of Amyclae, a town in the Peloponnese, was performed at St Edmund's College, Ware, by Bishop William Poynter on 6 August 1826.

Circumstances, however, delayed his departure for Canada. His daughter being in failing health, he accompanied her and her husband to Italy, and shortly after his arrival at Rome, Cardinal Albani, on 19 January 1830, announced to him that Pope Pius VIII had decided to honour him with the purple. He was admitted into the College of Cardinals on 15 March 1830, and on this occasion a Latin ode was composed and published to Dominic Gregorj.[1]

His daughter died at Palo on 15 May 1831, and was buried on 18 May in the church of San Marcello al Corso at Rome, from which he derived his title. On his elevation to the Sacred College he received assurances from persons of high influence and dignity in England that his nomination had excited no jealousy, but on the contrary had given general satisfaction. His apartments in the Odescalchi Palace were splendidly furnished, and periodically filled by the aristocracy of Rome, native and foreign, and by large numbers of his fellow-countrymen[2]

He died on 10 April 1837,[3] and his remains were deposited in the church of Santa Maria in Aquiro. The funeral oration, delivered by Nicholas (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman, has been published.[4]


His uncle, Edward Weld (c.1740–1775), married Maria Smythe in July 1775, but he died just three months later after a fall from his horse. His widow later married Thomas Fitzherbert in 1778, but he died in 1781. The widowed Mrs Fitzherbert was introduced to George, Prince of Wales (later King George IV) in spring 1784, and they went through a form of marriage on 15 December 1785. The marriage was considered invalid under the Royal Marriages Act 1772 because it had not been approved by King George III and the Privy Council.[5]

His brother, Joseph Weld (1777–1863), third son of Thomas Weld, was born on 27 January 1777. He received the exiled Royal family of France at Lulworth in August 1830, the king and his suite remaining there for some days, until their removal to Holyrood House. He was the owner of the "Alarm", "Arrow" and "Lulworth" yachts, which he navigated himself until very late in life, and, having a practical knowledge and a real liking for the sea, he was always very fortunate in the construction and sailing of his vessels. He died at Lulworth Castle on 19 October 1863. Joseph was also founder of the Isle of Wight based Royal Yacht Squadron.[6]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Rome, 1830, 4to
  2. ^ Wiseman, Recollections of the Four Last Popes, 2nd edn., p. 246
  3. ^ Bernard Ward, The Sequel to Catholic Emancipation, Longmans, Green and Co. (London, 1915) vol.1, p.126
  4. ^ London, 1837, 8vo
  5. ^ Martin J. Levy, "Maria Fitzherbert," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004 Oxford University Press
  6. ^ Duke, Gerald (2003). "Joseph Weld – to the America's Cup 2003". Retrieved 19 September 2009. 


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Weld, Thomas (1773-1837)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.