The Weld family, is an old English gentry family that claims descent from Eadric the Wild and has branches in several parts of the United Kingdom and America. The senior line descends from Sir Humphrey Weld, Lord Mayor of London, whose grandson of the same name purchased Lulworth Castle in Dorset, England in 1641. They were notable as a recusant family prior to Catholic Emancipation in the 19th century.
Members (19th century)
- Thomas Weld of Lulworth Castle (24 August 1750 – 1810) distinguished himself in relieving the misfortunes of the refugees of the French Revolution. He gave Stonyhurst College, with 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land, to the exiled Jesuits; he entirely supported the English Poor Clares who had fled from Gravelines; and he founded and maintained a Trappist monastery at Lulworth (now Mount Mellaray, Ireland). He is said to have given half his income in charity. Besides his conspicuous piety and great hospitality (he was one of the first English Catholics to entertain the king, 1789, 1791), he was also a steadfast supporter of Bishop John Milner. He died suddenly at Stonyhurst, where two of his sons also died, one of them, John, being its Rector. He married Dame Mary Teresa Vaughan and had nine sons and six daughters.
- Cardinal Thomas Weld, eldest son of Thomas Weld of Lulworth, continued his father's liberal agenda. "There is scarce a religious establishment in the West of England", said Nicholas Wiseman, "which has not some debt of gratitude recorded in his favour." He likewise befriended Milner, and stood almost alone on his side in the celebrated scene in 1813, when the whole of the Catholic committee turned upon the intrepid bishop. On the death of his wife and the marriage of his only daughter (1818) he became a priest (1821), and kept a poor orphanage in London. Appointed Bishop of Upper Canada, he was consecrated in 1826, but his failing health forced him to resign his vicariate. In 1830, while visiting Rome, he was raised to the cardinalate.
- Joseph Weld, third son of Thomas Weld of Lulworth, succeeded his brother Thomas in the Lulworth Castle estates, and is remembered as one of the first to build and handle fast-sailing yachts. His best known boat was "The Arrow", which was to take part in the first America's Cup race in 1851 under the ownership of Thomas Chamberlayne. Joseph was also founder of the Isle of Wight based Royal Yacht Squadron.
- Charles Weld, eldest son of Humphrey Weld of Chideock, was an artist of some note, to whom we owe the copies of several of the pictures of the English martyrs, the originals of which are now missing.
- James Weld of Cowsfield (30 April 1785 – 26 February 1855), seventh son of Thomas Weld of Lulworth.
- Mgr. Francis Weld (died 1898), son of James Weld, was the author of "Divine Love, and the Love of God's Most Blessed Mother" (London, 1873).
- George Weld of Leagram Park (28 September 1786 – 31 March 1866), eighth son of Thomas Weld of Lulworth.
- Rev. Alfred Weld (1823–1890), son of George Weld, was a leading English Jesuits. Father Alfred filled all the higher posts of trust in the province (provincial, 1864–70) and undertook the editorship of "Letters and Notices", "The Month", and "The Messenger". As English assistant during the critical years 1873-83, he carried out with credit several confidential commissions both for the pope and for his order. Eventually he went out to the Zambezi mission, South Africa, of which he had been the foster father, and died amid the hardships of the recent settlement. He was the author of "The Suppression of the Society of Jesus in the Portuguese Dominions" (London, 1877).
The senior Weld line became Weld-Blundell upon inheriting the Lancashire estates at Ince Blundell, who were previously seated at Ince Blundell Hall and were a cadet branch of the ancient Blundells of Crosby. The English Catholic Who's Who (1912) mentioned three Weld-Blundells and six Welds. The Lulworth branch died out by the 1920s, after two sons of Charles Joseph Weld-Blundell died young; Lulworth Castle devolved in 1924 upon Herbert Weld Blundell. His father was Thomas Weld-Blundell of Ince Blundell.
- Nicholas Wiseman, Funeral Oration on Thomas Cardinal Weld (London, 1837);
- ANON., A history of the Cistercian Order, with a life of Thomas Weld (London, 1852);
- Peter Gallwey, Funeral words on Mr. Charles Weld (Rockhampton, 1885);
- MARSHALL, Genealogist's Guide (London, 1893);
- BURKE, Landed Gentry;
- Henry Foley, Records S.J.;
- Letters and Notices, XX (Rochampton, 1890), 317-25;
- The Tablet, II (London, 1898), 822;
- GERARD, Stonyhurst College (Belfast, 1894);
- Weld of Lulworth Castle archive (ref: D/WLC), family and estate papers, 1261-1951, held at the Dorset History Centre
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.