The London Exile

Dr Dominic Aidan BELLENGER
Senior Research Associate at the Von Hugel Institute, University of Cambridge, England

Associate member of the Faculty of History . His PhD (1978) was on the French Exiled Clergy in Great Britain and he has published widely on the emigration including two books : The French Exiled Clergy in the British Isles after 1789 (1986) and Fearless Resting Place (2015). His most recent publications in this field are contributions , published in 2019, to J. Reboul and L. Philip , ed French Emigrants in Revolutionised Europe and in Exiles , Emigres and Expatriates in Romantic‐Era Paris and London . The first of these is on the French clergy in Britain and the Concordat . He was for many years a Benedictine monk . He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London .

The London Exile : Bishop Colbert de Castlehill and the French Bishops in London,1791‐1814.

Content : The most numerous group of bishops exiled by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy were resident in Great Britain and lived principally in London . Great Britain had a disproportionately high number of clerics among its emigrants . All received pensions from the state despite their Catholicism and the fact they were enemy aliens in a time of war . The bishops were a diffuse group and represented dioceses across France while the lower clergy were mainly from Normandy and Brittany

They differed , too , in their political and theological views . Their de facto leader was La Marche , the bishop of St Pol de Leon , a Breton noted for his piety and business sense . The senior in rank was Arthur Dillon , archbishop of Narbonne and primate of Languedoc , not noted for his piety . Dillon , with his Anglo‐Irish background , was unusual in his strong British connections , shared perhaps only with Colbert de Castlehill .

The contribution would look at the life of the London bishops with particular attention to their response to the Concordat which witnessed them coming together in the face of their dismissal from episcopal office and the growth of a reinvigorated ultramontane ecclesiology . Their joint Memoire represented a Gallican response to a new Church order . Colbert de Castlehill’s role in this and in the subsequent creation of the Petite Eglise will be assessed.

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