William Bernard Ullathorne

William Bernard Ullathorne

William Bernard Ullathorne (7 May 180621 March 1889) was an English Roman Catholic bishop and missionary in Australia.

Early life

William Ullathorne was the son of a prosperous grocer, draper and spirit merchant and was born at Pocklington, Yorkshire to an old Roman Catholic family. At about nine years of age his family moved to Scarborough where he started school. At 12 he was taken from school and placed in his father's office to learn the management of accounts. The intention was to send him to school again, but Ullathorne wished to go to sea, and at the age of 15,with his parents' permission, he made the first of several voyages to the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean. While attending mass at a chapel at Memel he experienced something in the nature of a conversion, and on his return asked the mate if he had any religious books. He was given a translation of Marsollier's Life of St Jane Frances Chantal, which deepened his experience. At the end of this voyage he left the sea, returned home, and in February 1823 was sent to the Benedictine Downside School, near Bath. There he was given as his director, John Bede Polding, afterwards the first archbishop of Sydney, who influenced him greatly.


In 1823 he entered the Benedictine monastery of Downside, near Bath, taking the vows in 1825. He was ordained priest in 1831, and in 1833 went to New South Wales, Australia, as vicar-general to Bishop William Morris (1794-1872), whose jurisdiction extended over the Australian missions. It was mainly Ullathorne who caused Pope Gregory XVI to establish the hierarchy in Australia.

He returned to the Britain in 1836, he met Francis Murphy and enlisted him for the Australian mission. After another visit to Australia, Ullathorne settled in England in 1841, taking charge of the Roman Catholic mission at Coventry. He was consecrated bishop in 1847 as Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, in succession to Bishop C. M. Baggs (1806-1845), but was transferred to theCentral District in the following year. Ullathorne helped found Saint Osburgs Church in Coventry.

Archbishop of Birmingham

On the re-establishment of the hierarchy in England, Ullathorne became the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham. During his thirty-eight years tenure of the see 67 new churches, 32 convents and nearly 200 mission schools were built. In 1888 he retired and received from Pope Leo XIII the honorary title of archbishop of Cabasa. He died at Oscott College. The Bishop Ullathorne RC School in Coventry is named after him.

Of his theological and philosophical works the best known are "The Endowments of Man" (1882); "The Groundwork of the Christian Virtues" (1883); "Christian Patience" (1886). For an account of his life see his "Autobiography", edited by A. T. Drane (London).


*Dictionary of Australian Biography|First=William Bernard|Last=Ullathorne

External links

* [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A020497b.htm W.B.Ullathorne] at The Australian Dictionary of Biography

ee also

* Our Lady of La Salette

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