'Middle-England diocese, Middle-England Catholicism' : the development of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nottingham 1850-1915
Foster, Graham Paul
The thesis aims to chart the development of the Diocese of Nottingham from 1850 to 1915, and through a comparison with the historiography of the period, to show how far it correlates with the accepted norms of nineteenth and early twentieth century Catholic development. Methodologically, the thesis aims to pioneer an in-depth integrated study on the development of the Diocese of Nottingham from 1850 to 1915, a largely unstudied area as far as Catholics and Catholicism is concerned. The period studied commences with the Restoration of the Hierarchy, (1850), and terminates with the resignation of Bishop Brindle in 1915. There is a unity in the period chosen as it encompasses the Episcopacies of one Diocesan Administrator, Bishop William Bernard Ullathorne (1850-1, who was concurrently Bishop of Birmingham), and Bishop Joseph William Hendren, (1851-3), Bishop Richard Roskell (1853-74), Bishop Edward Bagshawe (1874-1901), and Bishop Robert Brindle (1901-15). While the thesis addresses the way the Bishops tackled the problems they faced on taking up their appointments, as well as the ways in which they dealt with the demands placed upon them by Westminster, the emphasis is on the broader Catholic community and the way it evolved. This is dealt with through a wide-ranging analysis which locates local developments within a national framework. While each chapter has a dominant focus for organisational reasons, the thesis aims is to show how matters inter-related, and subsequently affected the Diocese's developmental path. The overall outline of the Diocese's historical background between 1850 and 1915, is described through a study of the characteristics, aims and methods used by Bishop Ullathorne, and the Bishops of Nottingham, in their attempts to turn the Diocese of Nottingham from a 2 concept on paper in 1850, to being an important part of the cultural, social and religious landscape of the East Midlands by 1915. Succeeding chapters deal with ultramontanism and how it was uniquely interpreted locally, defining who comprised the local Catholic community, the evolution of a Diocesan political ethos, education, and anti-Catholicism: the latter may be seen as perhaps the example par excellence of the need for integrated studies. The primary sources used in this thesis bring new perspectives to the study of nineteenth century Catholicism, and their use greatly extends our knowledge and understanding of the period. This is especially true as they have not been applied before to an understanding of the Nottingham Diocese. Use has been made of around 80 newspapers (daily, twice weekly and weekly) and monthly magazines, both Catholic and Protestant, published across the Diocese, as well as national publications. In several cases, as in Nottingham and Leicester, their attitudes varied from being anti- to pro- Catholic, which meant a greater degree of balance in the understanding of events. Use was also made of newly available papers from the De Lisle, Gainsborough, and Howard families that have not been used before. Other material was personally collected from the descendants of nineteenth century families. In addition to papers from the Orders' Archives, the Westminster and Birmingham Arch-Diocesan Archives, the Vatican and other Diocesan Archives have been consulted, such as those at Northampton, Salford and Leeds. The Nottingham Archives provided material that has not been used before, including the extant papers of Bishops Ullathorne, Hendren, Roskell, Bagshawe, Brindle, and Dunn. Access was given to extracts from the Chapter Minutes and newly deposited material from priests who were active in the period. As well as explaining how the Nottingham Diocese developed between 1850 and 1915, the thesis deals with the differences noted locally between `Catholicism' and 3 `Catholic'. Attempts are made to explain the dichotomy noted; namely that while `Catholicism' entailed hatred and led to anti-Catholicism, individual `Catholics' were frequently admired and respected. The thesis will make an important contribution to our knowledge in a number of ways. Fundamentally, it is the only macro-diocesan study of its type. The newly available content will provide an increased data base for studies of nineteenth-century Catholicism. By synthesising the information, localised trends have been established which are compared to, or used to correct, generalisations portrayed in the historiography of secondary literature that currently exists. The newly available information can also be used to test some of the hypotheses used regarding Catholics. The structure of the thesis will hopefully lay down a model for further Diocesan studies.