William Joseph Hendren

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William Joseph Hendren, Vicar-Apostolic, 1848 to 1850, First Bishop of Clifton, 1850 to 1851

The future Bishop was born in Birmingham on 19 October 1791. He joined the Franciscan Novitiate at Abergavenny in June 1802, and was ordained priest on 28 September 1815. He taught at the Franciscan Novitiate at Perthyr in the Monnow Valley until 1818 when he was moved to the Novitiate at Aston. In 1826, he was appointed missioner at Abergavenny and he served there until he was sent to the Franciscan Convent at Taunton where he was Chaplain from 1839 until 1848, when he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Western District in succession to Bishop William Ullathorne. He was consecrated Bishop at the church of St Mary-on-the Quay in Bristol on 10 September 1848.

When the English Hierarchy was restored in 1850, he was appointed the first Bishop of Clifton and was consecrated on 29 September 1850 at the Pro-Cathedral at Clifton. In June 1851, Bishop Hendren was transferred to the new Diocese of Nottingham, but ill-health forced him to resign and he retired on 23 February 1853. He returned to the Franciscan Convent at Taunton where he died on 14 November 1866.

He is remembered at Clifton for his efforts in completing the Pro-Cathedral building, establishing the parish school, having the presbytery built and purchasing the site of the Catholic cemetery at Arno’s Vale and the adjacent Catholic Reformatory for Girls. These were not inconsiderable achievements in his three years of office.