John Joseph Hornyold
Titular Bishop of Philomelia, England; b. February 19, 1706; d. at Longbirch, Staffordshire, December 26, 1778
Hornyold, JOHN JOSEPH, titular Bishop of Philomelia, Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, England; b. February 19, 1706; d. at Longbirch, Stafford-shire, December 26, 1778. He was descended from two ancient Catholic farnilies, his father being John Hornyold, of Blackmore Park and Hanley Castle, Worcestershire; his mother, Mary, daughter of Sir Pyers Mostyn, Baronet, of Talacre, Flintshire. At the age of twenty-two, on August 7, 1758, he entered the English College at Douai to study for the priesthood. After his ordination he returned to England and served the mission at Grantham for some time, meeting with much persecution and more than once narrowly escaping arrest as a priest. In 1739 he went as chaplain to Longbirch near Wolverhampton, the seat of “the good Madam Giffard”, a widow remarkable for piety and charity. While there he published his first work, “The Decalogue Explained”, published in London in 1744, and afterwards running through many editions. Bishop Milner, in a Memoir of him in the “Laity’s Directory” (1818), says: “This was so generally approved of, that he received something like official thanks from Oxford for the publication. It was not to be expected, however, that he should be thanked from that quarter for his other works, which appeared in succession, on the Sacraments and on the Creed.” In the former of these, “The Sacraments Explained” (London, 1747), he included several discourses written by his predecessor at Longbirch, the Rev. John Johnson. The book on the Creed was called “The Real Principles of Catholicks or a Catechism for the Adult” (London, 1749). One of the later editions appeared as “Grounds of the Christian Belief or the (Apostles’) Creed Explained” (Birmingham, 1771). In this book, according to Charles Butler, he made large use of Corker’s “Roman Catholic Principles in Reference to God and the King”, but this was denied by Milner.
In 1751 the aged Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, Bishop Stonor, applied for a coadjutor and Hornyold was selected. He was consecrated February 10, 1752, but continued to act as Mrs. Giffard’s chaplain until her death, February 13, 1753. Her house was then rented for the use of the vicar Apostolic and Dr. Hornyold resided there for the rest of his life. On Bishop Stonor’s death, March 29, 1756, he succeeded as Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District and ruled zealously for twenty-two years. In 1766, as his health was failing, he obtained the Hon. and Rev. Thomas Talbot as his coadjutor, and consecrated him in 1767 (not in 1776 as has been erroneously asserted, in consequence of a misprint in Milner’s “Memoir”). In 1768 he undertook the responsibility of carrying on Sedgley Park School, which had been founded, on the initiative of his intimate friend Bishop Challoner, six years previously, and thus preserved it for the Church. He lived just long enough to see the first Catholic Relief Act of 1778, and on his death was buried in Brewood Churchyard, Staffordshire. There is an oil painting of the bishop at the family seat, Blackmore Park, Worcestershire.