Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Antiquary and scientist, b. 1752; d. 21 March, 1822. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Englefield, sixth baronet, by his second wife, Catherine, daughter of Sir Charles Bucke, Bart. His father, who was the son of Henry Englefield, of White Knights near Reading, had in 1728 succeeded to the title and the Engelfield estates at Wooton Basset, Wilts; so that Henry Charles inherited both White Knights and Wooton Basset on the death of his father, 25 May, 1780. He was never married and devoted his entire life to study. In 1778 at the early age of twenty-six he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in the following year Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. For many years he was vice-president of the latter, and succeeded the Marquess Townshend as president. Owing, however, to his being a Catholic, objection was taken to his re-election, and he was replaced by the Earl of Aberdeen. Under his direction the society produced between 1797 and 1813 the series of engravings of English cathedrals, to which series he contributed the dissertations on Durham, Gloucester, and Exeter. In 1781 Englefield joined the Dilettanti Society and acted as its secretary for fourteen years. Besides his antiquarian studies, which resulted in many contributions to "Archaeologia", he carried on research in chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, and geology. His "Discovery of a Lake from Madder" won for him the gold medal of the Society of Arts. He took no part in public life, owing to Catholic disabilities, but was intimate with Charles James Fox, and his cheerful temperament and vivacious conversation won him many friends. His portrait was painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and two bronze medals were struck bearing his likeness.

In Catholic affairs Englefield took a prominent part, being elected in 1782 a member of the Catholic Committee, formed by the laity for the promotion of Catholic interests, a body which subsequently found itself in conflict with the vicars Apostolic. In the early stages of this dispute he was one of the moving spirits and contributed the pamphlet, mentioned below, in answer to Dr. Horsley, the Anglican prelate. The latter afterwards became the friend of the Catholics, and it was through his influence that the Catholic Relief Bill of 1791 was modified to suit the requirements of the bishops. Throughout the dispute Englefield took an independent line, and at times went rather far in his opposition to the vicars Apostolic, as in 1792, when he was prepared to move a strong resolution at the general meeting of English Catholics. He was dissuaded at the last moment by the three who undertook to act as "Gentlemen Mediators" between the two parties. During his latter years his eyesight failed; he died at his house, Tilney St., London, the baronetcy thereupon becoming extinct. His works are: "tables of the Apparent Places of the Comet of 1661" (London, 1788); "Letter to the Author of 'The Review of the Case of the Protestant Dissenters'" (London, 1790); "On the Determination of the Orbits of Comets" (London, 1793); "A Walk Through Southampton" (Southampton, 1801); "Description of a New Transit Instrument, Improved by Sir H. Englefield" (London, 1814); "The Andrian, a Verse Translation from Terrence" (London, 1814); Description of the Principal Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight", with engravings from his own drawings, and a portrait (London, 1816); "Observations on the Probable Consequences of the Demolition of London Bridge" (London, 1821). Gillow has printed (op. cit. inf.) a list of papers contributed to the transactions of the Society of Antiquaries, Royal Society, Royal Institution, Society of Arts, and the Linnaean Society, as well as to "Nicholson's Journal" and "Tillock's Philosophical Magazine".


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter