Philip Michael Ellis
First Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, England b. in 1652; d. Nov. 16, 1726
Ellis, PHILIP MICHAEL, first Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, England, subsequently Bishop of Segni, Italy, b. in 1652; d. November 16, 1726. He was the son of the Rev. John Ellis, Rector of Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, a descendant of the Ellis family of Kiddall Hall, Yorkshire, and Susannah Welbore. Of six brothers, John, the eldest, became Under-Secretary of State to William III; William, a Jacobite Protestant, was Secretary of State to James II in exile; Philip became a Benedictine monk and Catholic bishop; Welbore became Protestant Bishop of Kildare and afterwards of Meath, Ireland; Samuel was Marshal of King’s Bench; and Charles an Anglican clergyman. Philip, while still a Westminster schoolboy, was converted to the Catholic Faith, and when eighteen years old went to St. Gregory’s, Douai, where he was professed, taking the name of Michael in religion (November 30, 1670). After ordination he returned in 1685 to the English mission where he became one of the royal chaplains. In 1688 he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of the newly created Western District and was consecrated by Msgr. d’Adda, the papal nuncio (May 6). At the revolution in 1688 he was imprisoned, but being soon liberated he retired to Saint-Germain and afterwards to Rome. In 1696 he was named assistant prelate at the pontifical throne; and in Rome his knowledge of English affairs made him so useful that his repeated petitions for leave to return to his vicariate were refused. In 1704 he resigned the vicariate, and in 1708 was made Bishop of Segni, being enthroned on October 28 His first care was to rebuild the ruined monastery of S. Chiara and open it as a diocesan seminary. This he enriched with many gifts and a large legacy. A curious survival of his English title survives in an inscription at Segni to “Ph. M. Mylord Ellis”. Eleven sermons preached in 1685 and 1686 before James II, Queen Mary of Modena, and Queen Henrietta Maria, were published in pamphlet form, some of which have been reprinted (London, 1741; 1772). The Acts of his synod at Segni in 1710 were also published by order of Clement XI.