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Eyre, Thomas


First President of Ushaw College; b. Glossop, Derbyshire, 1748; d. Ushaw, May 8, 1810. His education for the priesthood began in 1758, when he and his brothers entered Esquerchin, the preparatory school for the English college at Douai. Following his ordination, Eyre stayed on at Douai as prefect and master of rhetoric and poetry until 1775, when he was assigned to the Stella Mission near Newcastle. Between 1775 and 1794 Eyre combined missionary work with scholarship, editing the works of John Gother and gathering materials for the purpose, unfulfilled, of continuing Dodd's Church History. In 1794 Bp. William Gibson, Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District, charged him with the care of the northern students who had been forced to leave Douai during the French Revolution, and were then temporarily installed at Tudhoe under John Lingard (later a great historian). After a few months at Pontop Hall, a new college was founded at Crook Hall, Durham, under Eyre's presidency. In 1803 Gibson obtained the freehold estate of Ushaw, four miles from Durham, and Eyre moved the college there in July 1808. He continued to serve as first president until his death two years later.

Bibliography: A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time 2:199202. The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 6:966967. r. c. laing, ed., Ushaw College Memorial (Newcastle 1895).

[h. f. gretsch]

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