Baines, Peter Augustine

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Titular bishop of Siga; b. Kirkby, Lancashire, Jan. 25, 1787; d. Prior Park, Bath, July 6, 1843. He was educated at the monastery in Lampspring, Germany (17981802) and at Ampleforth in England. After his profession in the benedictines (1804), he held many important offices at ampleforth abbey. He took charge of the Benedictine mission at Bath (1817) and was appointed (1823) coadjutor to Bishop Collingridge, vicar apostolic of the Western District of England, whom he succeeded (1829). Baines found that his district was the only one without a seminary, and in trying to remedy this, fell into acrimonious dispute with the Benedictines at downside abbey, because they were unwilling to agree to his plan, and resisted his coercive measures. Much bitterness ensued but the problem was eventually solved when four Ampleforth monks left the order, as did Baines, and put the seminary plan into effect at Prior Park, a magnificent mansion near Bath purchased by Baines. Lay students were also taught, and Baines indulged in dreams of a Catholic university. But the bishop was a man in advance of his times. Prior Park never achieved the success he had forecast.

Bibliography: j. s. roche, A History of Prior Park College and Its Founder Bishop Baines (London 1931). j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time 1:10510.

[v. a. mcclelland]