The name of an ancient English family
(branches of which are found in several parts of England and
America) which has been conspicuous for its zeal for the Church,
and whose main stem has been for many generations settled at
Lulworth in Dorsetshire, England.
Thomas Weld of Lulworth (b.
1750; d. 1810) distinguished himself in relieving the misfortunes
of the refugees of the French Revolution. He gave Stonyhurst
College, with thirty acres of land, to the exiled Jesuits; he
entirely supported the English Poor Clares who had fled from
Gravelines; and he founded and maintained a Trappist monastery at
Lulworth (now Mount Mellaray, Ireland). Indeed he is said to have
given half his income in charity. Besides his conspicuous piety
and great hospitality (he was one of the first English Catholics
to entertain the king, 1789, 1791), he was also from the first a
steady supporter of Bishop Milner. He died suddenly at
Stonyhurst, where two of his sons also died, one of them, John,
being its rector. He had nine sons, and six daughters.
Thomas, eldest son of the above,
cardinal (b. in London, 22 Jan., 1773; d. 1837), continued all
his father's liberalities. "There is scarce a religious
establishment in the West of England", said Cardinal
Wiseman, "which has not some debt of gratitude recorded in
his favour." He likewise befriended Milner, and stood almost
alone on his side in the celebrated scene in 1813, when the whole
of the Catholic committee turned upon the intrepid bishop. On the
death of his wife and the marriage of his only daughter (1818) he
became a priest (1821), and kept a poor orphanage in London.
Asked for as Bishop of Upper Canada, he was consecrated in 1826,
but his failing health forced him to resign his vicariate. In
1830, while visiting Rome, he was raised to the cardinalate.
Joseph, third son of Thomas (b.
27 Jan., 1777; d. at Lulworth Castle, 19 Oct., 1863). He
succeeded his brother, Cardinal Weld, at Lulworth, and is
remembered as one of the first to build and handle fast-sailing
yachts. His best known boat was "The Arrow".
Humphrey, sixth son, settled at
Chidcock Manor, Dorset; and his eldest son,
Charles, was an artist of some
note, to whom we owe the copies of several of the pictures of the
English martyrs, the originals of which are now missing.
James, the seventh son, was
father of Mgr. Francis Weld, author of "Divine Love, and the
Love of God's Most Blessed Mother" (London, 1873).
Alfred Weld (b. 1823; d. 1890),
a conspicuous member of the English Jesuits. Alfred filled all
the higher posts of trust in the province (provincial, 1864-70)
and undertook the editorship of "Letters and Notices",
"The Month", and "The Messenger". As English
assistant during the critical years 1873-83, he carried out with
credit several confidential commissions both for the pope and for
his order. Eventually he went out to the Zambesi mission, South
Africa, of which he had been the foster father, and died amid the
hardships of the recent settlement. He was the author of "The
Suppression of the Society of Jesus in the Portuguese Dominions"
The main stem of the family has now
assumed the additional name of Blundell. The English "Catholic
Who's Who (1912) mentions three Weld-Blundells and six Welds.
WISEMAN, Funeral Oration on Thomas Cardinal Weld
(London, 1837); ANON., A history of the Cistercian Order, with a
life of Thomas Weld (London, 1852); GALLWEY, Funeral words on Mr.
Charles Weld (Rochampton, 1885); MARSHALL, Genealogist's Guide
(London, 1893); BURKE, Landed Gentry; FOLEY, Records S.J.; Letters
and Notices, XX (Rochampton, 1890), 317-25; The Tablet, II
(London, 1898), 822; GERARD, Stonyhurst College (Belfast, 1894).