Richard William Enraght

Infobox clergy
name = Richard William Enraght

image_size = 200px
caption = Fr. Richard Enraght SSC.reproduced by kind permission of the Principal & Chapter of Pusey House, Oxford.(Hall Collection 3/13, Pusey House Oxford)
birth_date = February 23 1837
birth_place = Moneymore, County Londonderry, Ireland
death_date = September 21, 1898
death_place = Bintree, Norfolk
church = Church of England
other_names =
education =
ordained = 1862
writings =
congregations =
offices_held =
title =
spouse =Dorothea
children =Mary, William, Ellen, Hawtrey, Grace, Dora and Alice
parents = Revd Matthew Enraght and ??
footnotes =

Richard William Enraght SSC (February 231837 – September 21, 1898) was an Irish-born Church of England priest of the late nineteenth century. He was influenced by the Oxford Movement and is amongst the priests commonly called “Second Generation” Anglo-Catholics.

Fr. Enraght ["Enquire Within upon Everything" (1939) 119th Edition. "Enraght" is pronounced as "en-rowt".] believed ritualism in worship was essential for adherence to the Church of England’s Catholic tradition.R.W. Enraght (1873) "Catholic Worship" ] His religious practices and publications on Catholic Worship and Church-State relationship led him into conflict with the Public Worship Regulation Act.R.W.Enraght (1870) "Who Are True Churchmen and Who Are Conspirators?"] R.W. Enraght (1877) "Not Law, But Unconstitutional Tyranny"]

Enraght's practices included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the use of eucharistic lights, chasuble and alb, the use of wafer bread in Holy Communion, the ceremonial mixing of water and communion wine, making the sign of the Cross towards the congregation during the Holy Communion service, bowing his head at the Gloria and allowing the Agnus Dei to be sung, all of which his Bishop forbade. These illegal practices resulted in Fr. Enraght having to face the full force of the Law from its defenders, the Church Association's lawyers and the presiding Judge, Lord Penzance.R.W. Enraght (1883) "My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act"] ["Showell’s Dictionary of Birmingham" (1885)]

Legal proceedings were instigated against Fr. Enraght, who refused to attend his own trial on grounds of conscience. He was found guilty in his absence and received the maximum penalty under the Act, of arrest, imprisonment and dismissal from his Parish.R.W. Enraght (1883) "My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act"] The "Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church" states, “This attempt at suppressing Ritualism so discredited the Act (in fact it created Anglo-Catholic martyrs) led to it being regarded as virtually obsolete”. In 2006, the Brighton & Hove City Council described Enraght as a “"Priest, fighter for religious freedom".”


Early life and work

Very little is known of Richard Enraght’s early life; he was born on the September 23 1837 [Modern English Biography by Federic Boase. (1912)] at Moneymore in County Londonderry, Ireland. At the age of 23, in 1860, he graduated with Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College, Dublin. The following year he was ordained a Deacon at Gloucester Cathedral by the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol (these two dioceses were combined between 1836-1897). He served as a Curate at St Bartholomew Church, Corsham, Wiltshire, and was ordained into the priesthood in 1862. After spending three years at Corsham he continued his ministry at St Luke the Evangelist, Sheffield in 1864. Here he revealed his commitment to the Catholic cause in the pamphlets,"“To The Poor The Gospel is Preached”" [R.W. Enraght (1865) "To The Poor The Gospel is Preached"." Sheffield] in which he criticised the “pew-rent” system for barring the poor from Churches throughout the Country and "“Bible-Ritualism”" [R.W. Enraght (1866) "Bible-Ritualism Indispensably Necessary for Puposes of Instruction and of Worship". Sheffield] demonstrating scriptural authority for ceremonial worship. From Sheffield he moved to Brigg in Lincolnshire for one year in 1866 to continue his ministry. In 1867 Fr. Enraght travelled to the south coast of England to take up a curacy under Fr. Arthur Wagner, the nationally known Tractarian Vicar of St Paul's Church, Brighton and "Father" of the Catholic Revival in Brighton."Crockford's Clerical Directory" (1897)] A. Dale, A.R. Wagner. (1983) "The Wagners of Brighton"]

Brighton and "the South Coast Religion"

The Anglican Church in Brighton was heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement to an extent unparalleled elsewhere in the country apart from London. [John Hawes (1995) "Ritual and Riot"] In Anglo-Catholic circles Brighton would become known under the collective title of "London-Brighton and South Coast Religion"," [ W. N. Yates (1983) ‘Bells and Smells: London, Brighton and South Coast Religion Reconsidered’ "Southern History", pp 146-151 ] which was a play on an actual railway company’s name “London, Brighton and South Coast Railway”, this coincidently or otherwise, linked all the large and growing centres of Anglo-Catholic worship spreading from London to Brighton and then east and west along coast of Sussex to the neighbouring counties of Kent and Hampshire.

Fr. Wagner, whom Fr. Enraght served under as curate at St Paul's Church, Brighton, held Tractarian opinions since his time at Cambridge University and was the leading light of the Catholic Revival in Brighton with his prolific church and school building and generous charitable works of building 400 houses for the poor, all at his own expense.The Catholic Literature Association, (1933). "Arthur Douglas Wagner" ] A. Dale, A.R. Wagner. (1983) "The Wagners of Brighton"] Fr. Wagner was the subject of critical debates in the House of Commons for his ritualistic practices. Legislation was proposed to halt the Catholic Revival in Brighton by taking away Fr. Wagner’s authority to install Anglo Catholic priests as Vicars in the 5 churches that he had financed.

The atmosphere in Brighton, created by the local press and the Brighton Protestant Defence Association (the forerunner of the Church Association), was very hostile to ritualistic priests. The Brighton Gazette was highly vitriolic towards any clergy that adhered to the English Catholic Tradition.The same newspaper in 1873 reported in a critical article that Fr. Wagner had refused in court to answer questions that would “involve him to breach the confessional”. Following this article, Fr. Wagner was brutally assaulted on the streets of Brighton. His assailants went to prison but Fr. Wagner characteristically supported their wives and families at his own expense.

In another parish in Brighton, at St James Church, Fr. John Purchas was prosecuted for using vestments and the eastward position. His trial at the Court of Arches took three years to conclude, which Fr. Purchas refused to attend, and resulted in the Church of England paying £7,661 in total costs [ S.L.Ollard (1912) "Dictionary of English Church History" ] (Fr. Purchas had placed all his property into his wife's name so he was unable to pay the costs of £2,096 the Court awarded against him). [James Bentley (1978). "Ritualism & Politics in Victorian Britain". Pages 39 & 81.] To appreciate the scale of these costs, a house in Portslade could be rented for £13 a year in 1872. ["Brighton Gazette", (April 1872)] While serving under Fr. Wagner and sharing his Anglo-Catholic views, Fr. Enraght wrote the pamphlet, which was published nationally on the subject "Who are True Churchmen and Who are Conspirators" (his exposition on "The Last Settlement of English Reformation in 1662"), he stated in his conclusion he had proved that the English Church was both Catholic and Reformed. Fr. Enraght's pamphlet was clearly aimed at the Church Association to counter their campaign against Anglo-Catholic priests:-"I have now, then, I think, sufficiently demonstrated what I undertook to prove. I have proved that the last Revision and Settlement in 1662 of the Formularies of the English Church, by which the Bishops and Clergy are bound, both by their Ordination promises and by Act of Parliament, was distinctly Catholic. I have proved, therefore, that the Catholic-minded clergy of the English Church alone are in the right, that the charge of “Romanizing” and unfaithfulness to their Church, so persistently brought against them because of their faithful adherence to Catholic truth and practice, is a grievous slander, and that the only consistent course for their opponents to adopt—in order, if they can, to put themselves in the right—is to endeavour to get the Formularies of the Church altered in a “Protestant” direction, and so to alter the basis on which we now stand. Until this be accomplished, which God forbid! Catholic-minded Churchmen, and they only, truly represent the mind of the English Church. All others are simply, more or less, conspirators against “the principles of the” English “Reformation” in its latest, and therefore most carefully considered, development. Consequently, it is obvious that the efforts so strenuously made in the present day by nominal Churchmen of Puritan sentiments to persecute and, if possible, put down the Catholic-minded clergy of the English Church, under a pretended zeal for the principles of the English Reformation, wear an appearance of gross hypocrisy. Puritans ever since the first dawn of “the Reformation,” have been in the Church of England only on sufferance. If any are to be restrained, it must not be those clergy who loyally carry out the principles of the Church which the Revisers of 1662 so strenuously maintained against all attacks, but any who (although many of them holding position and preferment within the Church) use their position and influence, contrary to their Ordination promises, to carry out the work of the Nonconformists of 1662, and undermine the Reformation principles for which the Revisers of 1662 contended, and which they have preserved in the Formularies of the Church."R.W.Enraght (1870) "Who Are True Churchmen and Who Are Conspirators?"]

Fr. Enraght received critical acclaim in the reviews for his "Who are True Churchmen and Who are Conspirators", from the "Union Review", "Literary Churchman", "Church Review" and "Church Times".R.W. Enraght (1877) "Not Law, But Unconstitutional Tyranny"]

Priest in charge of Portslade by Sea

In 1871, after previously serving as a Curate to Fr. Arthur Wagner the Vicar of St Paul's Brighton, Reverend Richard William Enraght continued his ministry at [ St Andrew Church Portslade by Sea] . He was appointed Priest in Charge of the District Church of St Andrew Portslade by Sea by the Vicar of St Nicolas Church Portslade who, at that time, held the patronage of St Andrews. [J.Middleton (1984). "St Nicolas Church Portslade, A History". page 19 ] Fr. Enraght’s appointment was not without controversy. There was an unsuccessful appeal to the Bishop of Chichester by the Vicar of the neighboring Parish of Southwick who questioned the authority of the Vicar of Portslade to make the appointment of a priest to Portslade by Sea."Surrey Standard", October 1864] Portslade is only three miles from Brighton with very good railway links, so therefore Fr. Enraght SSC was able to continue as an officer of the Brighton Branch of the Society of the Holy Cross, the Branch was spoken of by its national leadership “as one of the most promising and was carrying on a vigorous campaign in Brighton.” [J. Embry. (1931) The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross. Chapter 2] While living in Brighton and Portslade, Fr. Enraght also served as the Organising Secretary for the National Association for the Promotion of Freedom of Worship and campaigned for the abolition of "pew-rents." ["Brighton Observer", (December 1871)] St Andrew Church Portslade (built in 1864), where Fr. Enraght served as its priest, was one of the first churches in Sussex never to have had "pew-rents" in its history.

In Portslade, Fr. Enraght continued to be very active in his defence of ritualism in published pamphlets and letters to "The Brighton Gazette" promoting adherence to the English Catholic Tradition within the Church of England. As priest in charge of Portslade by Sea, Fr. Enraght published the pamphlets "Catholic Worship" that promoted the importance and necessity of ritual in worship and the "The Real Presence and Holy Scripture" of which the "Church Times" described as "A masterly exposition of the texts which more directly relate to the Blessed Eucharist".

These writings put him on a collision course with the pro Public Worship Regulation Act local newspaper the "Brighton Gazette", who were sensitive to any hint of ritualism in worship. The "Brighton Gazette"’s editorial 8 January 1874 was titled "Protestant Reaction" and sub titled ‘a warning to polemics’ from which these quotes are taken;"True Protestants can scarcely desire the loss of power and influence this would involve and the great help it would be to the Papists to re-establish their supremacy in Britain, through the Ritualists"From the pages of the same newspaper Fr. Enraght was accused of Puseyism (used here as a term of abuse) and of trying to turn the local St Nicolas Church School in Portslade into a Puseyite school. The letter column of the "Brighton Gazette" carried this personal attack on Fr. Enraght made by a Mr. Gossett, a Portslade anti-ritualist, "The Revd Mr. Enraght, whose doctrines, if they were not doctrines of the Church of Rome, he (Mr. Gossett) was ignorant to what Church they belonged".

In reply to this personal attack, Fr. Enraght sent the following statement to the "Brighton Gazette", "My attention has only just been drawn to an attack made upon me, in my absence, by Mr. Gossett, of Portslade. I only noticed Mr. Gossett’s slander for the sake of the people to whom I lately ministered. I beg to inform all who care to know that “my doctrines” are those of the “one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”, in which Mr. Gossett has professed to, but does not, I suppose “believe”." ["The Late School Board Meeting at Portslade" Letter to the editor of "Brighton Gazette", 3 June 1875]

Another example of the Gazette's biased reporting, for Thursday 21 May 1874::"The Revd R. W. Enraght of Portslade has given notice of his intentions to hold a “Retreat”-our readers will not have forgotten what sort of things these “retreats” are - at Lancing College in August next. The rev. gentleman’s name appears in the roll of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament for 1872, so that here we get another peep into the interior economy of those notorious “Woodard Schools”, of which Lancing College is the headquarters."

In 1874 the Government, under the leadership of Disraeli, with the backing of both Primates and many Bishops, decided to crush ritualism in the Church of England by passing the Public Worship Regulation Act to control religious belief.

Fr. Wagner, Fr. Purchas, Fr. Enraght and the many other Brighton Anglo-Catholic priests all carried out their ministries to large sympathetic congregations. ["Brighton Gazette"] Against the backdrop of public support for Anglo-Catholic priests the local press continued in their campaign to use the Public Worship Regulation Act to rid ritualism from the churches of Brighton. From the "Brighton Gazette's" editorial for 23 April 1874 on the topic of the Public Worship Regulation Act, quote, "Let us have the law obeyed and let there be an easy mode of redress from offending clergyman".

In the winter of 1874 Fr. Enraght left Portslade to take on a new challenge in the City of Birmingham as Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, an area much like Brighton where the Church Association were very active. Portslade was a good stepping stone in Fr. Enraght's ministry as this was his first Parish where he had sole responsibility for the parishioners and being so close to Brighton he was able to maintain his links with the Brighton Branch of the SSC and with his former Vicar, Fr. Wagner.

Bordesley, Birmingham and London

In 1865 Fr. James Pollock was invited by Dr. Oldknow, the well-known Tractarian Vicar of the Parish of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, to start a Mission among the newcomers in a part of his parish. Eventually, to ensure continuity of the Mission it was necessary to set up a separate District for St Alban the Martyr, Fr. James Pollock was soon joined by his brother Fr. Tom Pollock to assist him in this new parish. After Dr Oldknow died in 1874, and partly through Fr. Tom Pollock of St Alban’s private influence, Dr Oldknow’s successor at Holy Trinity, Bordesley, was the Rev. Richard William Enraght, a priest in every way in sympathy with the aims of his Tractarian predecessor. The two Birmingham parishes enjoyed close connections with their Anglo-Catholic traditions and the friendship of the three priests. The Pollock brothers and Fr. Enraght were also all former graduates of Trinity College, Dublin.A & P Robinson. (2000) "Outline of The Ministry of Fr. Enraght (Church of St Alban the Martyr, Highgate, Birmingham)" ] [The Catholic Literature Association (1933). "James Pollock and His Brother"]

An indication of Fr. Enraght’s popularity and support of his use of ritualism in worship at Holy Trinity, was the attendances of Sunday morning Holy Communion services which would attract a congregation of between 400 to 500 while the Sunday Evensong (with sermon) would attract even more at 700 to 800 parishioners. With his parish’s support he was even able to introduce weekday celebrations of Holy Communion. Fr. Enraght brought an increase of life and beauty to the services at Holy Trinity, together with a hearty loving kindness and helpfulness that made the vicarage and its residents most deeply loved. No one could say that Fr. Enraght did not do his utmost; there were no aggrieved parishioners, not one of these parishioners complained of the services or wished them altered.G. Wakelin (1895) "The Oxford Movement, Sketches and Recollections". ]

Birmingham was the equal to Brighton in hostilities to Anglo-Catholics from the Church Association, a radical group of Protestants, who had unlimited funds to mount prosecutions. The Church Association sort to separate Priests from their congregations by registering its members in these parishes, so as to become “aggrieved parishioners” and therefore the clergy could be prosecuted under the new PWR Act. In one parish in the north of England they resorted to bribing parishioners to speak out against their priest, in one instance a churchwarden was offered £10,000 to give evidence, (a fortune in the Victorian era). [James Bentley (1978). "Ritualism & Politics in Victorian Britain". Pages 97 & 117] [L.E.Ellsworth (1982). Charles Lowder page 150] The Church Association was essentially aggressive. Its avowed object was ‘to uphold the Principles and Order of the United Church of England and Ireland’, which meant, in practice, fighting Ritualism by legal action wherever it occurred in the Country. The Church Association earned the nickname, given by Bishop Magee (a non-ritualistic Bishop and future Archbishop of York) as the ‘Persecution Company Limited’, because they employed special agents to seek out ritualist priest, [ William Gifford (1899) The Quarterly Review ] while many other opponents of The Church Association simply labelled it as, ‘ The Church Ass’. [Michael Reynolds (1965) "Martyr of Ritualism" (Fr. Mackonochie) pages 124-125]

In London, the situation was no better. Fr. Lowder, the founder of the Society of the Holy Cross, was threatened with prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act but escaped legal action by the intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury who feared the consequences of such a high profile Anglo-Catholic being put on trial.

On 1 August 1880, Fr. Richard Enraght was invited to London to preach at the Church of St Peter’s, London Docks, by Fr. Charles Fuge Lowder, for High Celebration to mark the 4th anniversary of The Church of England Working Men’s Society. Sadly this was the last major service at St. Peters that Fr. Lowder would attend, as he died a few weeks later while on holiday for health reasons in Austria. [L.E.Ellsworth (1982). Charles Lowder page 164]


Fr. Enraght practices at Holy Trinity, Bordesley included, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the use of eucharistic lights, chasuble and alb, the use of wafer bread in Holy Communion, the ceremonial mixing of water and communion wine, making the sign of the Cross towards the congregation during the Holy Communion service, bowing his head at the Gloria and allowing the Agnus Dei to be sung, all of which his Bishop, Dr. Philpott forbade. These illegal practices resulted in Fr. Enraght having to face the full force of the Law from its defenders, the Church Association's lawyers and the presiding Judge, Lord Penzance.R.W. Enraght (1883) "My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act"] ["Showell’s Dictionary of Birmingham" (1885)] "If the English Church be true portion of the one Catholic Church of Christ", argued Fr. Enraght, "is it not only reasonable that her Church buildings and services should resemble those of other branches of the Church Catholic"."R.W. Enraght (1873) "Catholic Worship"]

Fr. Enraght refused to attend his own trial on 12 July 1879 on the grounds, "“as I could not recognize Lord Penzance or his court, which derives its authority - not from "this Church and Realm", but solely from an Act of Parliament, as having any spiritual jurisdiction over me, I was unable conscientiously to defend myself before it.”" He was convicted on 9 August 1879 in his absence under the Public Worship Regulation Act by Judge Lord Penzance at the Arches Court on 16 counts of breaking the Law.

Fr. Enraght's prosecution became known nationally as the “ Bordesley Wafer Case”, the collection of one of the pieces of evidence used in Court is documented here in a narration from “The History of the English Church Union”,:"On August 31, 1879, Mr. Enraght denounced from the altar the conduct of a person who, on February 9, had carried off from the altar a Consecrated Wafer, obtained under the pretence of communicating, in order to file It as an exhibit in the law courts as evidence of the use of wafer-bread. A feeling of intense horror and indignation was excited when the fact of this fearful sacrilege became known. It was difficult to credit the fact that a Consecrated Wafer, after having been sacrilegiously secreted by a pretended communicant, had actually been delivered to Mr. Churchwarden Perkins, the prosecutor, produced in Court as evidence, marked with pen and ink and filed as an exhibit! Thanks to some members of the Council of English Church Union, the Consecrated Wafer was obtained from the court and given over to the care of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who reverently consumed It in his private chapel at Addington on Friday December 12, 1879." It may be added that the indignant parishioners at the next ensuing vestry rejected Mr. Perkins when nominated as, churchwarden. [G. Bayfield Roberts (1895). "The History of the English Church Union 1859-1894"]


After several preliminary failures by Lord Penzance over the course of the following year to imprisoned Fr. Enraght, the Prosecutor at last succeeded on 27 November 1880 and Fr. Enraght was finally arrested at his vicarage and taken to Warwick Prison to serve his sentence.

The following are extracts from a letter by a Mr. W. Perrins to the "London Church Review", giving an account of the arrest of Fr. Enraght. It is as follows, viz.:

"SIR,—Will you kindly permit me to send you a short account of the wonderful scenes that took place at the arrest of our dear friend Mr. R. W. Enraght?I arrived upon the scene a few minutes before the Vicar left the house, and such a scene I never saw before, and perhaps may never see such a one again. Ladies, with tears in their eyes and quivering lips and anxious faces, thronged around the door; and one grey-haired old man I spoke to burst into tears and said, "Ah, Sir, this is religious liberty in England." There were many working men of the congregation, with their dirty, but sympathetic faces, who had rushed from their work to bid a farewell to one they so loved and venerated, and all looked as though each heart was full.Fr. Enraght, walking to his gate, paused on the step and indicated that he wished to speak to the vast crowd, and then he gave the memorable address, which those who heard will not in a hurry forget. The emotion of the people was intense. We could hardly imagine we were in the nineteenth century, for as we stood after the address to sing the doxology, it seemed like an early Christian going to his martyrdom".

On arrival at Warwick Prison after the train journey:-

"As we drew near the prison gate the vicar let down his cassock so that he might enter as a Priest. At the gate he shook hands with us all, Dr. Nicholson saying, "Let us give him the blessing before he enters", and there, upon the damp stones, the prisoner knelt, and the white-haired doctor, with uplifted hand, pronounced the most solemn benediction I think I ever heard.So ended the arrest of one of the best men who ever suffered for his Master, and the impression it has left upon our minds seems to be "disestablishment", for it is too great a price to pay for the advantages of being united to the State."F.C.Ewer (1880) Sermon on the Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake (Preached in St. Ignatius Church, New York., on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 1880) ]

A Mr. G. Wakelin’s recollections of the events surrounding Fr. Enraght’s imprisonment where such, “To describe his leaving the vicarage where his people had ever found in himself and Mrs. Enraght helpers in all times of need and trouble, is beyond my power; most pathetic and touching was the going to Warwick Prison. His friends and even those who had to carry out the sentence, were far more touched and overcome than was the vicar himself, who went through it with a calm fixed patience, with thorough cheerfulness and resignation. The Governor of Warwick Prison, who was no High Churchman, said of Fr. Enraght to one of his visitors: "The sooner that gentleman is out, sir, the better, for he is altogether in the wrong place". For nearly two months he was kept in Warwick Prison, and during that time a great meeting was held, when Birmingham Town Hall was filled from end to end, and so many came from far and near to protest against the imprisonment; the singing of the " Church's one Foundation " at the end was something impressive and touching.”

Fr. Enraght’s imprisonment became widely known in the United States. On 19 December 1880 a sermon was preached in St. Ignatius Church in New York, on "The Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake" by Revd Dr. Ewer, S.T.D., who praised the English priests stand, "as simply a determined resistance to a violation of Magna Charta" "and was proud to make common cause with them, so far as is possible, from this distance, and feeling that when one member of the Catholic Church suffers, all the members suffer with him". the text of this sermon was printed in full in the "New York Herald" and "New York Tribune" the following morning, (there were also four other priests who served prison sentences in England, Arthur Tooth, T. Pelham Dale, Sidney Faithorn Green and James Bell Cox).

While in prison Fr. Enraght received a letter of support from the Conference of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the USA, "to express the sympathy of the Conference for Fr. R.W.Enraght in his incarceration for conscience’s sake"." [William Pitt McCune. (1964) "History of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the United States of America"]

In England, the Revd Prof. Edward Bouverie Pusey wrote a letter to the editor of The Times defending both Fr. Richard Enraght and Fr. Alexander Heriot Mackonochie saying, "they have not been struggling for themselves but for their people. The Ritualists do not ask to interfere with devotion of others ….only to be allowed, in their worship of God, to use a Ritual which a few years ago no one disputed." [H.P.Liddon (1894) "Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey". Chapter 17] Over the Christmas period of his imprisonment Fr. Enraght also received many letters of support and goodwill from his own and former parishioners around the Country as well as Christmas Cards from children in Bordesley. [Hall Collection 3/13, Pusey House Oxford]

1880 protest poster in support of Tooth, Dale and Enraght

:A copy of this poster was also fixed to a wall close to Lambeth Palace,:which greatly annoyed Archbishop Tait). [R.T.Davidson (1891). "Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury" Vol.2 page 422]



:533 Three Jews cast into a Fiery Furnace for conscience’ sake.

:583 Daniel cast into the Den of Lions for conscience’ sake.


:28 S. John the Baptist cast into prison for conscience’ sake.

:32 Our Blessed Lord Crucified to vindicate “the Law.”

:51 SS. Peter and John cast into Prison for Preaching Christ.

:55 S. Stephen stoned to death for conscience’ sake.

:68 SS. Peter and Paul put to death for conscience’ sake.

:1555 Hooper, Ridley and Latimer burned for conscience’ sake.

:1556 Cranmer burnt for conscience’ sake.

:1876 Arthur Tooth imprisoned for conscience’ sake.

:1880 T. Pelham Dale, R.W. Enraght, for conscience’ sake, and.

:They are in Gaol now, in this year 1880 of Our Lord, and 43rd of Victoria, and, by

:God’s Grace, may they light such a candle as shall never be put out

Released from Warwick Prison

As Fr. Enraght's prison sentence progressed, the English Church Union took steps to quash the proceedings that had been taken against him. Their case seemed unanswerable to an unprejudiced mind, but it was soon clear that the judges meant at all costs to stand by Lord Penzance. Fr. Enraght was, however, released on 17 January 1881 after 49 days in prison by the Court of Appeal upon the grounds of a technical informality in the writ for committal. The Prosecutor, by the advice of the Church Association, at once endeavoured to have Fr. Enraght re-committed, but the English Church Union, by taking further legal proceedings, frustrated his attempts. ["The Heslopian Magazine" (2003) No.1 page 19]

On the Revd Enraght’s release from Warwick Prison he was met at the New Street Railway Station Birmingham, by Mr. Jacob Kowlands, his solicitor ; the Revd. Warwick Elwin, his curate at Holy Trinity (later to become the Vicar of St. Andrew's, Worthing, who was also the son of Whitwell Elwin) and many friends and well-wishers. In the evening an enthusiastic crowded meeting welcomed him back to Bordesley. The Yorkshire Post reporting on Fr. Enraght's return to Holy Trinity did not mention his welcomed return, but merely emphasised the comments of one bystander at New Street Railway Station who called out “No Popery; I hope they will soon have you in again” to which Fr. Enraght simply remarked to his companions, “I should not have liked that man to have been the Governor of Warwick Prison”.

It appears that through the failure of an appeal to the House of Lords in May 1882 by Fr. Enraght, he became liable to another term of imprisonment. Three months later, under the provisions of the PWR Act, the benefice of Holy Trinity, Bordesley became vacant, although still canonically held by Fr. Enraght. In March 1883 Bishop Philpott revoked Fr. Enraght's Licence and appointed another clergyman to the benefice against the wishes of the congregation.Following Fr. Enraght’s dismissal and his family's eviction from Holy Trinity vicarage by order of Bishop Philpott, a crowded meeting of the Congregation and Parishioners of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, was held in the Highgate Board School, on March 28, to say good-bye to Fr. Enraght and Mrs. Enraght. Churchwarden Thomas Harris read the following testimonial on behalf of the Parish: -

"To the Rev. Richard William Enraght, B.A., on leaving Holy Trinity, Bordesley, Easter, 1883. - Our Dear Vicar, - The parting of friends is always sad, but the parting is made unspeakably painful by the grievous injustice which has robbed us of your ministry, together with the church and worship which we loved so well. For your ready sacrifice of yourself in submitting to persecution, imprisonment, and now casting out from your home and your work, in the cause of the Church, we may be allowed to express our unfeigned admiration; for the ungrudging labour, the great ability, and the unwearied affection with which you have for eight years and a half exercised your office as vicar of our church and parish, we can offer you no adequate thanks. We believe that we shall show our gratitude best by bearing your many lessons in our hearts and proving them in our lives, when you are no longer here to help us. We feel that we owe Mrs. Enraght our sincerest thanks for the uniform zeal and the genial kindness with which she has always been eager to throw herself into every good work which concerned our welfare. In parting with you we ask her to accept a purse of 150 guineas which has been subscribed by us, the under mentioned members of the congregation, as a slight outward token of our love and our appreciation of the many benefits which have been conferred on us. We pray that God may comfort you both in your suffering, and may grant you a congenial and peaceful sphere of labour, where the enemies of truth will not molest you. In reluctantly bidding you good-bye as our Pastor, we ask you still to remember us who have been bound to you by the strong tie of this common sorrow.“We are, yours most faithfully and affectionately, the Congregation and Parishioners of Holy Trinity, Bordesley”. ["Midland Echo" of Thursday, March 29, 1883 ]

Two months later Bishop Philpott preached at Holy Trinity on 6 May 1883, the churchwardens handed him a formal protest condemning the removal of Enraght and stating that ‘"we, the truly aggrieved, have been left as sheep without a shepherd’", and implying that the Rev. Watt’s (Fr. Enraght’s replacement) actions in toning down ritual had led to a significant reduction in size of congregation.Nigel Yates (1999). "Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910". page 262 ]

The Royal Commission of 1881 and its report in 1883 marked a historic turning point for the Church of England. The sustained effort to repress ritualism in order to keep the Church in harmony with popular tastes and prejudices was abandoned. Ritualists’ policy of civil disobedience and its consequence of imprisonment had both embarrassed Evangelicals and cemented an alliance with the moderate High Church, thus posing a threat to the unity of the Church if the attempt to crush ritualism was kept up. Archbishop Tait was therefore obliged to subordinate his concern for National opinion and devote himself to mending his ecclesiastical bridges. [P. T. Marsh (1969). "The Victorian Church in Decline" page 258]

Later life and legacy

After Fr. Enraght's eviction from Holy Trinity, Bordesley, and spending time in Brighton to convalesce, ["Crockford's Clerical Directory" (1884)] he continued the next 9 years of his ministry in East London, at St Michael Church Bromley by Bow from 1884-1888 and St Gabriel Church Poplar from 1888-1895. This priest of conscience and conviction arrived at his final Parish of St Swithun Church Bintree in 1895, after being presented to the benefice by Lord Hastings, to end his ministry and life in a quiet country parish in Norfolk. [Nigel Yates (1999). "Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910", page 262> ]

Fr. Enraght died on St Matthew’s Day, September 21, 1898 and is buried at the south east end of St Swithun’s churchyard, Bintree. His grave is that of a “Confessor” (someone who suffered for the faith, while not dying for it). The two windows of the Lady chapel, depicting the Annunciation of Our Lady are dedicated to Fr. Enraght as well as a statue of St. Swithun above the porch, inscribed: “It is placed as a memorial to a great and good priest Richard William Enraght”.

Those who knew the Revd Richard Enraght at Brighton, Portslade and Birmingham could bear witness to his kind and helpful life as priest and friend to all his people, and those who were witnesses of his arrest and imprisonment would never forget the solemnity and pathos of that event.

Throughout Fr. Enraght’s ministry his wife Dorothea played an active part in church life wherever he served, and stood by him through the times of prosecution, imprisonment and the family’s eviction from their Bordesley vicarage. In this period of hardship of losing his living in Birmingham and the next stage of his ministry in finding a new parish, The Church Union’s Sustentation Fund generously supported Fr. Enraght and his Family, while they spent a short time to convalesce in Brighton after a most traumatic period of his and his Family’s lives. [G. Bayfield Roberts (1895). "The History of the English Church Union 1859-1894"> ] ["Crockford's Clerical Directory" (1897)> ]

During Fr. Enraght and Dorothea’s married life they had seven children: Mary (born and died 1866, Lincolnshire), William (b.1868, Brighton), Ellen (b. 1870, Brighton), Hawtrey (b.1871, Brighton), Grace (b.1873, Portslade), Dora (b.1875, Birmingham) and Alice (b.1879, Birmingham). [UK Census for 1881 & 1901, birth registers and family records)] In 1896 Fr. Enraght had the joy of seeing his son Hawtrey ordained a priest in Norfolk. Shortly after Fr. Richard Enraght’s death his widow Dorothea and daughter Grace moved to Walsingham, where Grace eventually married the Revd Edgar Reeves the Vicar of Walsingham. [Information supplied by Fr. Richard Enraght’s great grandson Mr. David Wood.] Fr. Hawtrey Enraght served as Vicar of St Helen’s Ranworth where the altar in the north parclose was dedicated to his father. In later life his ministry took him to St Margaret’s Lowestoft. For his long and dedicated service to his Diocese of Norwich the Revd Hawtrey Enraght was awarded the honorary title of Canon in 1928. ["Crockfords Clerical Directory"]

In 1933, the Catholic Literature Association issued the following tribute to Fr. Richard Enraght and the four other priests that had been imprisoned:

:"The names of those who suffered the indignity of imprisonment were Arthur Tooth, Vicar of St. James', Hatcham; R. W. Enraght, Rector of Holy Trinity, Bordesley; T. Pelham Dale, Rector of St. Vedast, Foster Lane, in the City of London; Sidney Faithorn Green, Rector of St John's, Miles Platting; and James Bell Cox, Vicar of St. Margaret's, Liverpool. . . . To these brave priests and many others who suffered we owe a great tribute of thankfulness and praise, for it was through their determination to stand by the Church in her hour of peril that we have won the tolerance and liberty we have today. The Act of Parliament under which these priests suffered is still on the Statute Book, but for all practical purposes it is dead." [Catholic Literature Association 1933 "Arthur Tooth"]

Again in 1933 Marcus Donovan wrote,"These ‘Five Confessors’, in obeying the laws of the Church, suffered deprivation and imprisonment under the P.W.R. Act, and by their witness and steadfastness may be said to have brought to an end the policy of legal persecution"." [Marcus Donovan (1933) "After the Tractarians", from the Recollections of Athelstan Riley.]

A modern day commentary on the events that surrounded the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 comes from the "Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church", “This attempt at suppressing Ritualism so discredited the Act (in fact it created Anglo-Catholic martyrs) led to it being regarded as virtually obsolete”.

The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 was kept on the statute books for 89 years until it was finally repealed in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963. [UK-SLD|1696610|the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963]

February 2006, The Brighton newspaper, "The Argus", reported that Brighton & Hove City Council had accepted the name of Fr. Richard Enraght, whom they described as a “"Priest, fighter for religious freedom"”, as a candidate for a blue plaque to be erected in his memory on his former home in Station Road, Portslade. The date of its installation is yet to be announced.

September 2006, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company honoured Fr. Richard Enraght’s memory by naming one of their new fleet buses after this former Priest of [ St. Andrew Church Portslade] and the St Paul's Church, Brighton. His name appears in the List of Brighton and Hove buses named after famous people.



Works cited

*G. Bayfield Roberts. [ "The History of the English Church Union 1859-1894"] . London: Church Printing, 1895. (online at Project Canterbury)
*James Bentley."Ritualism & Politics in Victorian Britain": Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1978: ISBN 0-19-826714-2
*R.T.Davidson."Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury" :Macmillan, 1891.
*Marcus Donovan. [ After the Tractarians, from the Recollections of Athelstan Riley] : Philip Allan, 1933. (online at Project Canterbury)
*L.E.Ellsworth."Charles Lowder" :London: Darlton, Longman and Todd: 1982: ISBN 0-232-51535-2
*J. Embry. [ "The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross."] :London: The Faith Press, 1931. (online at Project Canterbury)
*F. C. Ewer. [ "Sermon on the Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake (Preached in St. Ignatius Church, New York., on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 1880)"] :New York: E & J.B. Young & Co.,Cooper Union, Fourth Avenue. 1881 (online at Project Canterbury)
*H.P.Liddon and J. O. Johnston. [ Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey] London: Longmans. Four volumes. 1894. (online at Project Canterbury)
*P. T. Marsh."The Victorian Church in Decline (Archbishop Tait & The Church of England 1868-1882)" :Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969.
*William Pitt McCune. [ "History of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the United States of America"] :Holy Cross Publications, 1964. (online at Project Canterbury)
*Michael Reynolds."Martyr of Ritualism (Fr. Mackonochie of St Alban's Holborn)" :London, Faber and Faber, 1965
*Nigel Yates."Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910" :Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999: ISBN 0-19-826989-7

Further reading

*Richard William Enraght (1837-1898), Rector of Bintry, Controversialist 1879-81: correspondence and papers on his prosecution for ritualistic practices held at Lambeth Palace Library, Reference - Archibald Campbell Tait, NRA 8476 Tait
*William Ewart Gladstone - letters to Revd. R. W. Enraght, "Gladstone's Diaries", (18 March 1880, Midlothian Campaigns).
*The United States Supreme Court's opinion in [ "Smith v. Whitney, et al.", 116 U.S. 167 (1886)] , cited the judgment in "Enraght v. Penzance", 7 App. Cas. 240, while ultimately declining to issue a writ of prohibition to the Secretary of the Navy of a General Court-martial of naval officers:

::There may indeed be cases in which two matters before the inferior court are so distinct that a writ of prohibition may go as to the one and not as to the other. But when the leading charge is within its jurisdiction, and the other charge, though varying in form, is for the same or similar acts, like a second count in an indictment, and the same sentence may be awarded on the first charge as upon both, a writ of prohibition should not issue.

*Brian Douglas. [ "Ways of Knowing the Anglican Eucharistic Tradition: Ramifications for Theological Education, Case Study 3.5, Richard Enraght."] :University of Newcastle, Australia 2006

Publications by Fr. Enraght

(Links to Fr. Enraght's publications that can be read online at "Project Canterbury")
* [ "To The Poor The Gospel is Preached"] (1865)- a sermon (with a preface) advocating the right of the people to freedom of public worship in "The Church of the People", - written while a Curate at St Luke Church Sheffield.
* [ "Bible-Ritualism Indispensably Necessary for Purposes of Instruction & of Worship"] (1866) - a sermon, - written while a Curate at St Luke Church Sheffield.
* [ "Who Are True Churchmen, and Who Are Conspirators?"] (1870) - an appeal to the Last Settlement of the English Reformation in 1662 - written while a Curate at St Paul's Church Brighton.
*"Free and Open Churches and the Weekly Offertory" (1871) - a lecture for the National Association for Promoting Freedom of Worship - written while a Curate at St Paul's Church Brighton.
* [ "The Real Presence and Holy Scripture"] (1872) - written while Priest in Charge of St Andrew Church Portslade.
* [ "Catholic Worship not Pharisaic-Judaism"] (1873) - written while Priest in Charge of St Andrew Church Portslade.
* [ "Not Law, But Unconstitutional Tyranny"] (1877) - a lecture on the "Present Unconstitutional Exercise of the Royal Supremacy in Matters Spiritual", - Holy Trinity Bordesley.
*"A Pastoral to the Faithful Worshipping at Holy Trinity, Bordesley" - Birmingham, (July 20, 1879).
*The Ridsdale judgement on vestments: Was it an intentional miscarriage of justice? : Holy Trinity Schools, Bordesley, (November 17, 1880).
*"My Ordination Oaths and other Declarations: am I Keeping Them?" (1880) - Holy Trinity, Bordesley.
*"An Aggrieved Parish, or The Minutes of the Easter vestries in the Parish of Holy Trinity, Birmingham", from 1878 to 1881, with an address delivered in 1881.
* [ "My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act"] (1883) - a statement laid before the most Rev. the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, - Holy Trinity, Bordesley.

External links

* [ The Parish of St Nicolas & St Andrew Portslade]
* [ St Andrew Church Portslade]
* [ Project Canterbury] Online home of Anglican texts, with emphasis on classical Anglican documents expressing the Catholic identity of Anglicanism.
* [ Pusey House Chapel & Library, Oxford]
* [ St Paul Church Brighton]
* [ Brighton & Hove Buses] photographs of the Revd Richard Enraght bus

NAME= Enraght, Richard William
PLACE OF DEATH=Bintree, Norfolk

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