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Fr Enraght- Prisoner of Conscience

Fr Enraght  -  St Andrew Portslade -'Prisoner of Conscience'


The Revd Richard Enraght SSC [1] former Curate in Charge (1871-1874) of St Andrew Church, Portslade with St Helen Church, Hangleton, was an Irish born Church of England priest of the late nineteenth century. He was heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement and is amongst the number of priests commonly called “Second Generation” Anglo-Catholics.

Fr. Enraght’s belief in the Church of England's Catholic Tradition, his promotion of ritualism in worship, and his writings on Catholic Worship and Church-State relationships, led him into conflict with the Disraeli Government's Public Worship Regulation Act, for which he paid the maximum penalty under the Law, of prosecution, imprisonment and eviction with his family from the Holy Trinity Parish in Birmingham, for conscience sake.

Brighton and "the South Coast Religion"

The Anglican Church in Brighton was heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement to an extent unparalleled elsewhere in the country apart from London.[2] In Anglo-Catholic circles Brighton would become known under the collective title of "London-Brighton and South Coast Religion", which was a play on an actual railway company’s name “London, Brighton and South Coast Railway”, this coincidently or otherwise, linked all the large and growing centres of Anglo-Catholic worship spreading from London to Brighton and then east and west along coast of Sussex to the neighbouring counties of Kent and Hampshire.[3]

Fr Richard Enraght SSC. 
This photograph was reproduced by kind permission of the Principal & Chapter of Pusey House, Oxford (Hall Collection 3/13, Pusey House Oxford)

Fr Wagner whom Fr Enraght served under as curate at the Church of St. Paul, Brighton, held Tractarian opinions since his time at Cambridge University and was the leading light of the Catholic Revival in Brighton with his prolific church and school building and generous charitable works of building 400 houses for the poor, all at his own expense. Fr Wagner was the subject of critical debates in the House of Commons for his ritualist practices. Legislation was proposed to halt the Catholic Revival in Brighton by taking away Fr Wagner’s authority to install Anglo Catholic priests as Vicars in the 5 churches that he had financed.[4]
The atmosphere in Brighton, created by the local press and the Brighton Protestant Defence Association (the forerunner of the Church Association) was very hostile to ritualist priests. The Brighton Gazette was highly vitriolic towards any clergy that adhered to the English Catholic Tradition. The same newspaper in 1873 published a bias report that Fr.Wagner had refused in court to answer questions that would “involve him to breach the confessional”. As a result of this article, Fr. Wagner was brutally assaulted on the streets of Brighton. His assailants went to prison but Fr. Wagner characteristically supported their wives and families at his own expense [5]. Fr Wagner was not the only priest to suffer violence in Brighton.
Fr Thomas Perry, from the most advanced ritualist Church in Brighton, St Michael & All Angels, stood alone at a Brighton public meeting and defended Fr Wagner’s cause. He too was to suffer at the hands of the mob by being beaten-up for his courageous stance.
In another Parish in Brighton, at St James Church, Fr. John Purchas was prosecuted for using vestments and the eastward position. The case took three years to conclude and resulted in the Church of England paying £7,661 in costs (Fr Purchas had placed his property in his wife's name so unable to pay the costs) [6]. To appreciate the scale of these costs, a house in Portslade could be rented for £13 a year in 1872 [7].  Fr. Purchas was removed from his Parish and some commentators believe his persecution led to his early death.

The former Brighton home of Fr Richard Enraght at 36 Russell Square.
He lived here from 1867 to 1871

While serving under Fr Wagner and sharing his Anglo-Catholic views, Fr Enraght wrote the pamphlet, which was published nationally on the subject "Who are True Churchmen and Who are Conspirators" (his exposition on The Last Settlement of English Reformation in 1662), he stated in his conclusion he had proved that the English Church was both Catholic and Reformed. Fr Enraght's pamphlet was clearly aimed at the Church Association to counter their campaign of miss-information to the general public:-
"I have now, then, I think, sufficiently demonstrated what I undertook to prove. I have proved that the last Revision and Settlement in 1662 of the Formularies of the English Church, by which the Bishops and Clergy are bound, both by their Ordination promises and by Act of Parliament, was distinctly Catholic. I have proved, therefore, that the Catholic-minded clergy of the English Church alone are in the right, that the charge of “Romanizing” and unfaithfulness to their Church, so persistently brought against them because of their faithful adherence to Catholic truth and practice, is a grievous slander, and that the only consistent course for their opponents to adopt—in order, if they can, to put themselves in the right—is to endeavour to get the Formularies of the Church altered in a “Protestant” direction, and so to alter the basis on which we now stand."
Until this be accomplished, which God forbid! Catholic-minded Churchmen, and they only, truly represent the mind of the English Church. All others are simply, more or less, conspirators against “the principles of the” English “Reformation” in its latest, and therefore most carefully considered, development. Consequently, it is obvious that the efforts so strenuously made in the present day by nominal Churchmen of Puritan sentiments to persecute and, if possible, put down the Catholic-minded clergy of the English Church, under a pretended zeal for the principles of the English Reformation, wear an appearance of gross hypocrisy. Puritans ever since the first dawn of “the Reformation,” have been in the Church of England only on sufferance. If any are to be restrained, it must not be those clergy who loyally carry out the principles of the Church which the Revisers of 1662 so strenuously maintained against all attacks, but any who (although many of them holding position and preferment within the Church) use their position and influence, contrary to their Ordination promises, to carry out the work of the Nonconformists of 1662, and undermine the Reformation principles for which the Revisers of 1662 contended, and which they have preserved in the Formularies of the Church." [8]
Fr Enraght received critical acclaim in the reviews for his "Who are True Churchmen and Who are Conspirators" “Really learned and closely reasoned, its well- marshalled arguments are powerful and conclusive.” – Union Review. “It is a clear, concise, and vigorous summary at once of the work of our last Prayer Book revisers, in reference to certain points now in dispute among us, It should be in everybody’s hands”Literary Churchman. “Most useful, for turning the tables upon our accusers, and opening the eyes of ‘aggrieved parishioners’.” – Church Review. “Those who wish to see the disputed questions of the day on Church matters fairly and honestly submitted to the test of the Reformation, should read Rev. R. W. Enraght’s clever little Pamphlet”,– Church Times. [9].
Fr Enraght's fearless writings of confronting the architects of the forthcoming Public Worship Regulation Act by using the Book of Common Prayer to  prove that the Church of England has an unbroken Catholic Tradition no doubt marked him out as a future target for the attentions of the Church Association and its lawyers

Portslade and Hangleton ministry

St Andrew Church, Portslade


In 1871, after previously serving as a Curate to Fr Arthur Wagner the Vicar of St Paul's Brighton, Revd Richard William Enraght continued his ministry at Portslade by Sea and Hangleton. He was appointed Curate in Charge of the new District Church of St Andrew’s Portslade by Sea with St Helen's Hangleton by the Vicar of St Nicolas Church Portslade who at that time held the patronage of St Andrews [10].  Fr Enraght’s appointment was not without controversy. There was an unsuccessful appeal to the Bishop of Chichester by the Vicar of the neighbouring Parish of Southwick who questioned the authority of the Vicar of Portslade to make the appointment of a priest to this new District Church of  Portslade by Sea which did not have a permanent priest [11].  Portslade is only 3 miles from Brighton with very good railway links, so therefore Fr. Enraght SSC was able to continue as an officer of the Brighton Branch of the Society of the Holy Cross, the Branch was spoken of by its national leadership, “as one of the most promising and was carrying on a vigorous campaign in Brighton” [12]. While living in Brighton and Portslade, Fr Enraght also served as the Organising Secretary for the National Association for the Promotion of Freedom of Worship, and campaigned for the abolition of "pew-rents" [13]. St Andrew Church Portslade (built in 1864), where Fr Enraght served as its priest, was one of the earliest, if not the first church in Sussex never to have had "pew-rents" in its history [14].


"The Real Presence & Holy Scripture" by the Revd Richard Enraght, 
written while Curate in Charge of Portslade by Sea



In Portslade, Fr Enraght continued to be very active in his defence of Ritualism in published pamphlets and letters to the Brighton Gazette promoting adherence to the English Catholic Tradition within The Church of England. As priest in charge of Portslade by Sea, Fr. Enraght published the pamphlets "Catholic Worship" which promoted the importance and necessity of ritual in worship and the "The Real Presence and Holy Scripture" of which the Church Times described as "A masterly exposition of the texts which more directly relate to the Blessed Eucharist".
These writings put him on a collision course with the pro PWR. Act local newspaper the Brighton Gazette who were sensitive to any hint of ritualism in worship. The Brighton Gazette’s editorial 8th January 1874 was titled "Protestant Reaction" and sub titled ‘a warning to polemics’ from which these quotes are taken; "True Protestants can scarcely desire the loss of power and influence this would involve and the great help it would be to the Papists to re-establish their supremacy in Britain, through the Ritualists" From the pages of the same newspaper Fr Enraght was accused of Puseyism (used here as a term of abuse) and of trying to turn the local St Nicolas Church School in Portslade into a Puseyite school. The letter column of theBrighton Gazette carried this personal attack on Fr Enraght made by a Mr Gossett of Carlton Terrace, a Portslade anti-ritualist, "The Revd Mr. Enraght, whose doctrines, if they were not doctrines of the Church of Rome, he (Mr. Gossett) was ignorant to what Church they belonged".

The former St Nicolas School Portslade,Financed by Hannah Brackenbury.
"for the Benefit of Poor of the United Parishes of Portslade & Hangleton  A.D. 1872"


In reply to this personal attack, Fr Enraght sent the following statement to the Brighton Gazette, 

" My attention has only just be drawn to an attack made upon me, in my absence, by Mr. Gossett, of Portslade. I only noticed Mr. Gossett’s slander for the sake of the people to whom I lately ministered. I beg to inform all who care to know that “my doctrines” are those of the “one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”, in which Mr. Gossett has professed to, but does not, I suppose “believe”; whereas I do. If Mr Gossett means that amongst “my doctrines” as – The Holy Trinity; the Incarnation; the Atonement; that “a child is by baptism regenerates” (Private Baptism of Children in Houses) or “the body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper”, (Church Catechism); or that “Our Lord Jesus hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him (Visitation of the Sick); or any such like doctrines common to all parts of the Catholic Church in all ages, and therefore now held by the Church of England in common with “the Church of Rome”- he utters a truism. It is shameful that “Protestants (Church Association)” should persist in deceiving the people with the palpable fallacy that because we hold the old faith in Christ in common with Rome, therefore we also hold all that Rome has seen fit to add to that old faith " [15]

Another example of the Gazettes bias reporting, for Thursday 21st May 1874:
"The Revd R. W. Enraght of Portslade has given notice of his intentions to hold a “Retreat”-our readers will not have forgotten what sort of things these “retreats” are - at Lancing College in August next. The rev. gentleman’s name appears in the roll of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament for 1872, so that here we get another peep into the interior economy of those notorious “Woodard Schools”, of which Lancing College is the headquarters."


In 1871, No. 5 Station Road Portslade then called, No 5. Courtney Terrace was the home of the Fr Richard Enraght, Curate in Charge of Portslade by Sea. 
At the beginning of the 20th century the house was converted into a shop.


In 1874 the Government, under the leadership of Disraeli, with the backing of both Primates and many Bishops, decided to crush ritualism in the Church of England by passing the Public Worship Regulation Act.
Fr Wagner, Fr Purchas, Fr Enraght and the many other Brighton Anglo-Catholic priests all carried out their ministries to large sympathetic congregations. The local press spoke only for a minority in their campaign to use the Public Worship Regulation Act to rid ritualism from the churches of Brighton. From the Brighton Gazettes editorial for the 23rd April 1874 on the topic of the Public Worship Regulation Act, quote, "Let us have the law obeyed and let there be an easy mode of redress from offending clergyman".

In the winter of 1874 Fr Enraght left Portslade to take on a new challenge in the City of Birmingham as Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, an area much like Brighton where the Church Association were very active. Portslade was a good stepping stone in Fr Enraght's ministry as this was his first Parish where he had sole responsibility for the parishioners and being so close to Brighton he was able to maintain his links with the Brighton Branch of the Society of the Holy Cross. 
Bordesley, Birmingham and London in the 1860s-1880's
In 1865, Fr James Pollock was invited by Dr. Oldknow, the well-known Tractarian Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, to start a Mission among the newcomers in a part of his parish. Eventually, to ensure continuity of the Mission it was necessary to set up a separate District for St Alban the Martyr, Fr James Pollock was soon joined by his brother Fr Tom Pollock to assist him in this new parish. After Dr Oldknow died in 1874, and partly through Fr Tom Pollock of St Alban’s private influence, Dr Oldknow’s successor at Holy Trinity, Bordesley, was the Rev. Richard William Enraght, a priest in every way in sympathy with the aims of his Tractarian predecessor. The two Birmingham parishes enjoyed close connections with their Anglo-Catholic traditions and the friendship of the three priests. The Pollock brothers and Fr. Enraght were also all former graduates of Trinity College, Dublin. [16] [17]
An indication of Fr Enraght’s popularity and support of his use of ritualism in worship at Holy Trinity, was the attendances for Holy Communion, Sunday mornings would attract a congregation of between 400 to 500 while the Sunday Evensong (with sermon) would attract even more at 700 to 800 parishioners. With his parish’s support he was even able to introduce weekday celebrations of Holy Communion. Fr Enraght brought an increase of life and beauty to the services at Holy Trinity, together with a hearty loving kindness and helpfulness that made the vicarage and its residents most deeply loved. No one could say that Fr Enraght did not do his utmost; there were no aggrieved parishioners, not one of these parishioners complained of the services or wished them altered. [18].
Birmingham was the equal to Brighton in hostilities to Anglo Catholics from the Church Association, a radical group of Protestants, who had unlimited funds to mount prosecutions. The Church Association sort to separate Priests from their congregations by registering its members in these parishes, so as to become “aggrieved parishioners” and therefore the clergy could be prosecuted under the new PWR Act. In one parish in the north of England they resorted to bribing parishioners to speak out against their priest, in one instance a churchwarden was offered £10,000 to give evidence, (a fortune in the Victorian era) [19] [20].   The Church Association was essentially aggressive. Its avowed object was ‘to uphold the Principles and Order of the United Church of England and Ireland’, which meant, in practice, fighting Ritualism by legal action wherever it occurred in the Country.
The Church Association earned the nickname, given by Bishop Magee (a non-ritualist Bishop and future Archbishop of York) as the ‘Persecution Company Limited’, because they employed special agents to seek out ritualist priest, [21]  while many other opponents of The Church Association simply labelled it as, ‘ The Church Ass’ [22].
In London, the situation was no better. Fr. Lowder, the founder of the Society of the Holy Cross, was threatened with prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act but escaped legal action by the intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury who feared the consequences of such a high profile Anglo-Catholic being put on trial.
On the 1st August 1880, Fr. Richard Enraght was invited to London to preach at the Church of St Peter’s, London Docks, by Fr. Charles Fuge Lowder, for High Celebration to mark the 4th anniversary of The Church of England Working Men’s Society. Sadly this was the last major service at St. Peters that Fr. Lowder would attend, as he died a few weeks later while on holiday for health reasons in Austria [23].
Fr Enraght practices at Holy Trinity, Bordesley included, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the use of Eucharistic lights, chasuble and alb, the use of wafer bread in Holy Communion, the ceremonial mixing of water and communion wine, making the sign of the Cross towards the congregation during the Holy Communion service, bowing his head at the Gloria and allowing the Agnus Dei to be sung, all of which his Bishop, Dr. Philpott forbade. These illegal practices resulted in Fr Enraght having to face the full force of the Law from its defenders, the Church Association's lawyers and the presiding Judge, Lord Penzance [24] [25].
"If the English Church be true portion of the one Catholic Church of Christ," argued Fr. Enraght, "is it not only reasonable that her Church buildings and services should resemble those of other branches of the Church Catholic. " [26]
Fr Enraght refused to attend his own trial on 12th July 1879 on the grounds, “as I could not recognize Lord Penzance or his court, which derives its authority - not from "this Church and Realm," but solely from an Act of Parliament, as having any spiritual jurisdiction over me, I was unable conscientiously to defend myself before it.” [27] He was convicted on the 9th August 1879 in his absence under the Public Worship Regulation Act by Judge Lord Penzance at the Arches Court on 16 counts of breaking the Law.
Fr Enraght's prosecution became known nationally as the “ Bordesley Wafer Case”, the collection of one of the pieces of evidence used in Court is documented here in a narration from “The History of the English Church Union”,: On August 31st, 1879, Mr Enraght denounced from the altar the conduct of a person who, on February 9th, had carried off from the altar a Consecrated Wafer, obtained under the pretence of communicating, in order to file It as an exhibit in the law courts as evidence of the use of wafer-bread. A feeling of intense horror and indignation was excited when the fact of this fearful sacrilege became known. It was difficult to credit the fact that a Consecrated Wafer, after having been sacrilegiously secreted by a pretended communicant, had actually been delivered to Mr Churchwarden Perkins, the prosecutor, produced in Court as evidence, marked with pen and ink and filed as an exhibit! Thanks to some members of the Council of English Church Union, the Consecrated Wafer was obtained from the court and given over to the care of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who reverently consumed It in his private chapel at Addington on Friday December 12th, 1879. It may be added that the indignant parishioners at the next ensuing vestry rejected Mr. Perkins when nominated as, churchwarden [28].
After several preliminary failures by Lord Penzance over the course of the following year to imprisoned Fr Enraght, the Prosecutor at last succeeded on the 27th November 1880 and Fr Enraght was finally arrested at his vicarage and taken to Warwick Prison to serve his sentence. [29]
The following are extracts from a letter by a Mr W. Perrins to the London Church Review, giving an account of the arrest of Fr Enraght. It is as follows, viz.:
"SIR,—Will you kindly permit me to send you a short account of the wonderful scenes that took place at the arrest of our dear friend Mr. R. W. Enraght? I arrived upon the scene a few minutes before the Vicar left the house, and such a scene I never saw before, and perhaps may never see such a one again. Ladies, with tears in their eyes and quivering lips and anxious faces, thronged around the door; and one grey-haired old man I spoke to burst into tears and said, "Ah, Sir, this is religious liberty in England." There were many working men of the congregation, with their dirty, but sympathetic faces, who had rushed from their work to bid a farewell to one they so loved and venerated, and all looked as though each heart was full. Fr Enraght, walking to his gate, paused on the step and indicated that he wished to speak to the vast crowd, and then he gave the memorable address, which those who heard will not in a hurry forget. The emotion of the people was intense. We could hardly imagine we were in the nineteenth century, for as we stood after the address to sing the doxology, it seemed like the early Christians going to their martyrdom; but the most touching part of all up to the present was at the close of the singing. The assembly bared their heads, and those around knelt upon the pavement while the vicar pronounced a most solemn benediction. The prisoner then walked to the railway-station, followed by the vast crowd, who cheered most lustily, occasionally giving a hearty groan for "Perkins," etc., etc. During the whole of the proceedings I did not see or hear one dissentient."
On arrival at Warwick Prison after the train journey:-
"As we drew near the prison gate the vicar let down his cassock so that he might enter as a Priest. At the gate he shook hands with us all, Dr. Nicholson saying, "Let us give him the blessing before he enters," and there, upon the damp stones, the prisoner knelt, and the white-haired doctor, with uplifted hand, pronounced the most solemn benediction I think I ever heard. So ended the arrest of one of the best men who ever suffered for his Master, and the impression it has left upon our minds seems to be "disestablishment," for it is too great a price to pay for the advantages of being united to the State."  [30]


Fr Enraght entering Warwick Prison in chains
(from the Daily Post Newspaper (Birmingham) 26th November 1880)

A Mr. G. Wakelin’s recollections of the events surrounding Fr Enraght’s imprisonment where such,
“To describe his leaving the vicarage where his people had ever found in himself and Mrs. Enraght helpers in all times of need and trouble, is beyond my power; most pathetic and touching was the going to Warwick Prison. His friends, and even those who had to carry out the sentence, were far more touched and overcome than was the vicar himself, who went through it with a calm fixed patience, with thorough cheerfulness and resignation. The Governor of Warwick Prison, who was no High Churchman, said of Fr Enraght to one of his visitors: "The sooner that gentleman is out, sir, the better, for he is altogether in the wrong place". For nearly two months he was kept in Warwick Prison, and during that time a great meeting was held, when Birmingham Town Hall was filled from end to end, and so many came from far and near to protest against the imprisonment; the singing of the " Church's one Foundation " at the end was something impressive and touching.” [31]
Fr. Enraght’s imprisonment became widely known in the USA. On the 19th December 1880 a sermon was preached in St. Ignatius Church in New York, on The Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake by Revd Dr. Ewer, S.T.D., who praised the English priests stand, as "simply a determined resistance to a violation of Magna Charta, and was proud to make common cause with them, so far as is possible, from this distance, and feeling that when one member of the Catholic Church suffers, all the members suffer with him". the text of this sermon was printed in full in the New York Herald and New York Tribune the following morning, (there were also four other priests who served prison sentences in England, Arthur Tooth, T. Pelham Dale, Sidney Faithorn Green and James Bell Cox) [32]
While in prison Fr Enraght received a letter of support from the Conference of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the USA, "to express the sympathy of the Conference for Fr R.W.Enraght in his incarceration for conscience’s sake." [33]
In England, the Revd Prof. Edward Bouverie Pusey wrote a letter to the editor of The Timesdefending both Fr Richard Enraght and Fr Alexander Heriot Mackonochie saying, they have not been struggling for themselves but for their people. The Ritualists do not ask to interfere with devotion of others ….only to be allowed, in their worship of God, to use a Ritual which a few years ago no one disputed. [34] Over the Christmas period of his imprisonment Fr Enraght also received many letters of support and goodwill from his own and former parishioners around the Country as well as Christmas Cards from children in Bordesley [35]

 The text below is from an 1880 protest poster against the Public Worship Regulation Act [58]
(This poster was attached to walls and hoardings around England, to express the continuing public opposition to the Public Worship Regulation Act. A copy of this poster was also fixed to a wall close to Lambeth Palace, which greatly annoyed the Archbishop of Canterbury )
533 Three Jews cast into a Fiery Furnace for conscience’ sake. 
583 Daniel cast into the Den of Lions for conscience’ sake. 
28 S. John the Baptist cast into prison for conscience’ sake. 
32 Our Blessed Lord Crucified to vindicate “the Law.” 
51 SS. Peter and John cast into Prison for Preaching Christ. 
55 S. Stephen stoned to death for conscience’ sake. 
68 SS. Peter and Paul put to death for conscience’ sake. 
1555 Hooper, Ridley and Latimer burned for conscience’ sake. 
1556 Cranmer burnt for conscience’ sake. 
1876 Arthur Tooth imprisoned for conscience’ sake. 
1880 T. Pelham Dale, R.W. Enraght, for conscience’ sake, and. 
They are in Gaol now, in this year 1880 of Our Lord, 
and 43rd of Victoria, and, 
by God’s Grace, 
may they light such a candle as shall never be put out

Released from Warwick Prison
As Fr Enraght's prison sentence progressed , the English Church Union took steps to quash the proceedings that had been taken against him. Their case seemed unanswerable to an unprejudiced mind, but it was soon clear that the judges meant at all costs to stand by Lord Penzance. Fr Enraght was, however, released on the 17th January 1881 after 49 days in prison by the Court of Appeal upon the grounds of a technical informality in the writ for committal. The Prosecutor, by the advice of the Church Association, at once endeavoured to have Fr Enraght re-committed, but the English Church Union, by taking further legal proceedings, frustrated his attempts. [36] [37].
On the Revd Enraght’s release from Warwick Prison he was met at the New Street station Birmingham, by his solicitor Mr. Jacob Kowlands; the Revd. Warwick Elwin, his curate (later to become the Vicar of St. Andrew's, Worthing and also the son of Whitwell Elwin) and many friends and well-wishers. In the evening an enthusiastic crowded meeting welcomed him back to Bordesley. The Yorkshire Post in a piece of bias reporting on Fr Enraght's return to Holy Trinity did not mention his welcomed return but merely emphasised the comments of one bystander at New Street station who called out “No Popery; I hope they will soon have you in again” to which Fr Enraght simply remarked to his companions, “I should not have liked that man as Governor of Warwick Prison”. [38] [39]

Eviction from Holy Trinity
It appears that through the failure of an appeal to the House of Lords in May 1882 by Fr Enraght, he became liable to another term of imprisonment. Three months later, under the provisions of the PWR Act, the benefice of Holy Trinity, Bordesley became vacant, although still canonically held by Fr Enraght. In March 1883 Bishop Philpott revoked Fr. Enraght's Licence and appointed another clergyman to the benefice against the wishes of the congregation.
Following Fr Enraght’s dismissal and his family's eviction from Holy Trinity vicarage by order of Bishop Philpott, a crowded meeting of the Congregation and Parishioners of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, was held in the Highgate Board School, on March 28th, to say good-bye to Fr Enraght and Mrs. Enraght. Churchwarden Thomas Harris read the following testimonial on behalf of the Parish: -
"To the Rev. Richard William Enraght, B.A., on leaving Holy Trinity, Bordesley, Easter, 1883. - Our Dear Vicar, - The parting of friends is always sad, but the parting is made unspeakably painful by the grievous injustice which has robbed us of your ministry, together with the church and worship which we loved so well. For your ready sacrifice of yourself in submitting to persecution, imprisonment, and now casting out from your home and your work, in the cause of the Church, we may be allowed to express our unfeigned admiration; for the ungrudging labour, the great ability, and the unwearied affection with which you have for eight years and a half exercised your office as vicar of our church and parish, we can offer you no adequate thanks. We believe that we shall show our gratitude best by bearing your many lessons in our hearts and proving them in our lives, when you are no longer here to help us. We feel that we owe Mrs. Enraght our sincerest thanks for the uniform zeal and the genial kindness with which she has always been eager to throw herself into every good work which concerned our welfare. In parting with you we ask her to accept a purse of 150 guineas which has been subscribed by us, the under mentioned members of the congregation, as a slight outward token of our love and our appreciation of the many benefits which have been conferred on us. We pray that God may comfort you both in your suffering, and may grant you a congenial and peaceful sphere of labour, where the enemies of truth will not molest you. In reluctantly bidding you good-bye as our Pastor, we ask you still to remember us who have been bound to you by the strong tie of this common sorrow. “We are, yours most faithfully and affectionately, the Congregation and Parishioners of Holy Trinity, Bordesley” [40] [41]
When two months later Bishop Philpott (foolishly or courageously) preached at Holy Trinity on the 6th May 1883 the churchwardens handed him a formal protest condemning the removal of Enraght and stating that ‘we, the truly aggrieved, have been left as sheep without a shepherd’, and implying that the Rev. Watt’s (Fr Enraght’s replacement) actions in toning down ritual had led to a significant reduction in size of congregation [42].
The Royal Commission of 1881 and its report in 1883 marked a historic turning point for the Church of England. The sustained effort to repress ritualism in order to keep the Church in harmony with popular tastes and prejudices was abandoned. Ritualists’ policy of civil disobedience and its consequence of imprisonment had both embarrassed Evangelicals and cemented an alliance with the moderate High Church, thus posing a threat to the unity of the Church if the attempt to crush ritualism was kept up. Archbishop Tait was therefore obliged to subordinate his concern for National opinion and devote himself to mending his ecclesiastical bridges [43].


Later life and legacy
After being released from prison and spending time in the Parish of St Michael and All Angels, Brighton to convalesce [44], he continued the next 9 years of his ministry in East London, at St Michael Church Bromley by Bow from 1884-1888 and St Gabriel Church Poplar from 1888-1895. This priest of conscience and conviction arrived at his final Parish of St Swithun Church Bintree in 1895, after being presented to the benefice by Lord Hastings , to end his ministry and life in a quiet country parish in Norfolk. [45]
Revd Richard Enraght's gravestone at Bintree, Norfolk.
His grave is that of a “Confessor” (someone who suffered for the faith, while not dying for it).

Fr. Enraght died on St Matthew’s Day, September 21st, 1898 and is buried at the south east end of St Swithun’s churchyard, Bintree. His grave is that of a “Confessor” (someone who suffered for the faith, while not dying for it). Two windows of the Lady Chapel, depicting the Annunciation of Our Lady are dedicated to Fr. Enraght as well as a statue of St. Swithun above the porch, inscribed: “It is placed as a memorial to a great and good priest Richard William Enraght”. [46]
Those who knew the Revd Richard Enraght at Brighton, Portslade and Birmingham could bear witness to his kind and helpful life as priest and friend to all his people, and those who were witnesses of his arrest and imprisonment would never forget the solemnity and pathos of that event. [47 ]
Throughout Fr Enraght’s ministry his wife Dorothea played an active part in church life wherever he served, and stood by him through the times of prosecution, imprisonment and the family’s eviction from their Bordesley vicarage. In this period of hardship of losing his living in Birmingham and the next stage of his ministry in finding a new parish, the Church Union’s Sustentation Fund generously supported Fr Enraght and his Family, while they spent a short time to convalesce in Brighton after a most traumatic period of his and his Family’s lives. [48] [49]

The Lady Chapel windows at St Swithun’s Bintree depicting Annunciation of Our Lady are dedicated to Fr. Enraght.

During Fr Enraght and Dorothea’s married life they had seven children:-
Mary (born and died 1866, Lincolnshire),
William (b.1868, Brighton),
Ellen (b. 1870, Brighton),
Hawtrey (b.1871, Brighton),
Grace (b.1873, Portslade),
Dora (b.1875, Birmingham) and
Alice (b.1879, Birmingham) [50] .
In 1896 Fr Enraght had the joy of seeing his son Hawtrey ordained priest in Norfolk
Shortly after Fr Richard Enraght’s death his widow Dorothea and daughter Grace moved to Walsingham, where Grace eventually married the Revd Edgar Reeves the Vicar of Walsingham. [51] Fr Hawtrey Enraght served as Vicar of St Helen’s Ranworth where the altar in the north parclose was dedicated to his father. [52] In later life his ministry took him to St Margaret’s Lowestoft. For his long and dedicated service to his Diocese of Norwich the Revd Hawtrey Enraght was awarded the honorary title of Canon in 1928 [53]
In 1933, the Catholic Literature Association issued the following tribute to Fr. Richard Enraght and the four other priests that had been imprisoned:
The names of those who suffered the indignity of imprisonment were Arthur Tooth, Vicar of St. James', Hatcham; R. W. Enraght, Rector of Holy Trinity, Bordesley; T. Pelham Dale, Rector of St. Vedast, Foster Lane, in the City of London; Sidney Faithorn Green, Rector of St John's, Miles Platting; and James Bell Cox, Vicar of St. Margaret's, Liverpool. . . . To these brave priests and many others who suffered we owe a great tribute of thankfulness and praise, for it was through their determination to stand by the Church in her hour of peril that we have won the tolerance and liberty we have today. The Act of Parliament under which these priests suffered is still on the Statute Book, but for all practical purposes it is dead. [54]
Again in 1933 Marcus Donovan wrote, "These ‘Five Confessors’, in obeying the laws of the Church, suffered deprivation and imprisonment under the P.W.R. Act, and by their witness and steadfastness may be said to have brought to an end the policy of legal persecution". [55]

Revd Enraght "bus"


A modern day commentary on the events that surrounded the Public Worship Regulations Act of 1874 comes from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,

“This attempt at suppressing Ritualism so discredited the Act (in fact it created Anglo-Catholic martyrs) led to it being regarded as virtually obsolete”
The Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874 was kept on the Statute Books for 89 years until it was finally repealed in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measures of 1963 (No.1) [56]
In February 2006 The Brighton Newspaper, The Argus, reported that Brighton & Hove City Council had accepted the name of Fr Richard Enraght, whom they described as a “Priest, fighter for religious freedom”, as a candidate for a Blue Plaque to be erected in his memory on his former home in Station Road, Portslade. The date of its installation is yet to be announced.
In September 2006, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company honoured Revd Richard Enraght’s memory by naming one of their new fleet buses after this former Priest of St. Andrew Church Portslade and the Church of St Paul, Brighton. His name joins the extensive list of locally and nationally famous people who have contributed to the City's life in some way over the past few hundred years with a Brighton and Hove Bus named after them.
Publications by Fr. Enraght

Links below to publications that can be read online at Project Canterbury, (the home on the internet of classical Anglican documents expressing the Catholic identity of Anglicanism.)

"To The Poor The Gospel is Preached" - a sermon (with a preface) advocating the right of the people to freedom of public worship in "The Church of the People", (1865) - written while a Curate at St Luke Church Sheffield. 

"Bible-Ritualism Indispensably Necessary for Purposesof Instruction & of Worship" - a sermon, (1866) - written while a Curate at St Luke Church Sheffield 

"Who Are True Churchmen, and Who Are Conspirators?" - an appeal to the Last Settlement of the English Reformation in 1662 (1870) - written while a Curate at St Paul's Church Brighton. 

"Free and Open Churches and the Weekly Offertory"- a lecture for the National Association for Promoting Freedom of Worship (1871) - written while a Curate at St Paul's Church Brighton. 

"The Real Presence and Holy Scripture" (1872) - written while Curate in Charge of Portslade by Sea with Hangleton

"Catholic Worship not Pharisaic-Judaism" (1873) - written while Curate in Charge of Portslade by Sea with Hangleton. 

"Not Law, But Unconstitutional Tyranny" - a lecture on the "Present Unconstitutional Exercise of the Royal Supremacy in Matters Spiritual", (1877) - Holy Trinity Bordesley 

"A Pastoral to the Faithful Worshipping at Holy Trinity, Bordesley" - Birmingham, (July 20th, 1879). 

The Ridsdale judgement on vestments: Was it an intentional miscarriage of justice? : summary of an address delivered in the Holy Trinity Schools, Bordesley, (Nov. 17, 1880)

"My Ordination Oaths and other Declarations: am I Keeping Them?" (1880)- Holy Trinity, Bordesley 

"An Aggrieved Parish, or The Minutes of the Easter vestries in the Parish of Holy Trinity, Birmingham", from 1878 to 1881, with an address delivered in 1881. 

"My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act" - a statement laid before the most Rev. the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, (1883) - Holy Trinity, Bordesley
Timeline of Fr.Richard Enraght SSC Life & Ministry [57]
1837 Born 23rd February, in Moneymore, County Londonderry, Ireland,
son of the Revd Matthew Enraght, Assistant Curate of St John's Church,  Desertlyn, Moneymore
1860 Graduated with B.A., Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
1861 Ordained a Deacon by the Bishop of Gloucester & Bristol, at Gloucester Cathedral
1861-64 Curate of St Bartholomew Church Corsham, Wiltshire, (Ordained Priest in 1862)
1864-66 Curate of St Luke the Evangelist, Sheffield
1866-67 Curate of St Mary's Church, Wrawby, Brigg, Lincolnshire,
1867-71 Curate of St Paul Church, Brighton, East Sussex, ( under the Revd Arthur Wagner)
1871-74 Curate in Charge of Portslade by Sea with Hangleton , East Sussex
1874-83 Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bordesley, Birmingham.
1880-81 Arrested and sent to Warwick Prison, after refusing to attend his trial, at which, in his absence, he was found guilty of contravening the Public Worship Regulation Act
1882 Through the failure of an appeal to the House of Lords in May by Fr Enraght, he became liable to another term of imprisonment
1883 Dismissed and evicted from his vicarage with his young family by order of the Bishop of Worcester at Easter 1883. Fr Enraght & Family took lodgings in Montpelier Street, Brighton, close to the Church of St Michael & All Angels, Brighton, to convalesce.
1884-88 Curate of St Michael and All Angels, Bromley by Bow, London
1888-95 Incumbent of St Gabriel, Poplar, London
1895-98 Rector of St Swithun, Bintree (then Bintry) with Themelthorpe, Norfolk
1898 Died September 21st, on St Matthew’s Day, at Bintree, Norfolk
Notable sources that mention Fr Richard Enraght
Richard William Enraght (1837-1898), Rector of Bintry, Controversialist 1879-81: correspondence and papers on his prosecution for ritualist practices held at Lambeth Palace Library, Reference - Archibald Campbell Tait, NRA 8476 Tait

William Ewart Gladstone - letters to Revd. R. W. Enraght, Gladstone's Diaries, (18th March 1880, Midlothian Campaigns).

The United States Supreme Court's opinion in Smith v. Whitney, et al., 116 U.S. 167 (1886), cited the judgment in Enraght v. Penzance, 7 App. Cas. 240, while ultimately declining to issue a writ of prohibition to the Secretary of the Navy of a General Court-martial of naval officers:
"There may indeed be cases in which two matters before the inferior court are so distinct that a writ of prohibition may go as to the one and not as to the other. But when the leading charge is within its jurisdiction, and the other charge, though varying in form, is for the same or similar acts, like a second count in an indictment, and the same sentence may be awarded on the first charge as upon both, a writ of prohibition should not issue."

Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Bishop of Worcester [59]
ADDINGTON PARK, CROYDEN, Dec.12, 1879 MY DEAR LORD, An application was, I understood, this day made in the Arches Court by the counsel for the promoters in the case of ‘Perkins v Enraght’ for the delivery to them of all the documents and other exhibits which had been used as evidence in the case, on the ground that the time for appeal had passed, and the case might be now discharged. The Dean of the Arches having acceded to this application, a certain wafer, alleged to have been consecrated by Mr. Enraght, in the service of Holy Communion, instead of the bread directed by our Church to be employed for this purpose, was placed in my hands by request of the Proctors for the prosecution. I have taken care that the wafer should be reverently consumed, since however irregular may have been the mode of administering the Holy Communion, the fact seems now clear to me, though in no way brought before the Court, that this wafer was used in that administration. I have therefore thought that it ought to be disposed of as rubric directs, Believe me, my dear Lord, yours very truly, A. C. CANTUAR

(The Archbishop of Canterbury in 1879 was Archibald Campbell Tait)
The following text is from the Daily Post Newspaper, (Birmingham) 22nd November 1880. 

What is the Use ? 
The prosecutions must prove futile, because the doctrines aimed at may be legally taught by ministers of the Church of England. It has been decided that baptismal regeneration may be lawfully taught; it has also been decided that a real presence in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper may also be lawfully taught. As to the assertion of a priesthood, the Prayer Book is full of it; and the Low Churchmen are conscious of the difficulty of explaining it away. If then, the doctrine remains and must remain --- for no one seriously propose to expunge it by legal process --- of what use is it to go on prosecuting and imprisoning clergymen who insist upon the use of symbols as a means of enforcing a doctrine which they may preach without legal hindrancefrom one end of the year to the other?
From the 1885 Edition of Showell’s Dictionary of Birmingham:-

Ritualism– though there have been many instances of local clergymen adopting practices which usually come under the name of ritualistic, we have had but one “Martyr to the Cause” in the person of the Rev R. W. Enraght, of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Bordesley. Among the numerous practices of which complaint was made against him were the following:- The use of lighted candles, the wearing of the alb and chausuble, the ceremonial mixing of water and wine, the making of the sign of the cross towards the congregation, the use of wafers instead of bread, standing with his back to the congregation during the prayer of consecration, not continuing to stand for the whole time during the prayer, elevation of the cup and paten more than is necessary, causing the Agnus Dei to be sung immediately after the consecration, standing instead of kneeling during the Confession, and kissing the Prayer Book.
Remonstrance, monition and inhibition not being sufficient to teach him the error of his ways, Mr Enraght was committed for contempt on Nov. 20, 1880, and taken to Warwick gaol on the 27th. He was released soon after Christmas, and another Vicar filleth his place.
Other Websites featuring Fr Enraght

St Paul's Parish Church, West Street, Brighton. Fr Enraght served as a Curate at St Paul's from 1867-1871 under Fr Arthur Wagner the leading light of the Catholic Revival in Brighton. It was at St Paul's that Fr Enraght wrote the two nationally acclaimed pamphlets "Who Are True Churchmen, and Who Are Conspirators?" and "Free and Open Churches and the Weekly Offertory". 
See the St Paul's website for detailed information on the life of Fr Wagner and the Catholic Revival in Brighton.

Douglas, B. (2006) Enraght’s Eucharistic Theology; part of a PhD thesis entitled, Ways of knowing Anglican Eucharistic Tradition : Ramifications for Theological Education”
(The Revd Dr Brian Douglas is Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia).

The research carried out in the Parish of St Nicolas & St Andrew Portslade was used to compose an article for Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopaedia), this can be seen at the following link: - Revd Richard William Enraght.


[1] Enquire Within upon Everything (1939). "Enraght" is pronounced as "en-rowt".
[2] John Hawes (1995) “Ritual and Riot”
[3] Nigel Yates (1999). Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910
[4] The Catholic Literature Association, (1933). Arthur Douglas Wagner
[5] The Catholic Literature Association, (1933). Arthur Douglas Wagner
[6] James Bentley (1978). Ritualism & Politics in Victorian Britain. Pages 39 & 81.
[7] Brighton Gazette, (April 1872)
[8] R.W.Enraght (1870) Who Are True Churchman and Who Are Conspirators
[9] R.W. Enraght (1877) “Not Law, But Unconstitutional Tyranny” appendix
[10] J.Middleton (1984). St Nicolas Church Portslade, A History. page 19
[11] Surrey Standard, (October 1864)
[12] J. Embry. (1931) The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross. Chapter 2
[13] Brighton Observer, (December 1871)
[14] Surrey Standard, (October 1864)
[15] "The Late School Board Meeting at Portslade" To the editor of Brighton Gazette, 3rd June 1875"
[16] A & P Robinson. (2000) Outline of The Ministry of Fr. Enraght (Church of St Alban the Martyr, Highgate, Birmingham)
[17] The Catholic Literature Association (1933). James Pollock and His Brother
[18] G. Wakelin (1895) The Oxford Movement, Sketches and Recollections.
[19] James Bentley (1978). Ritualism & Politics in Victorian Britain. Pages 97 & 117
[20] L.E.Ellsworth (1982). Charles Lowder page150
[21]William Gifford (1899) The Quarterly Review
[22] Michael Reynolds (1965) Martyr of Ritualism (Fr Mackonochie) pages 124-125
[23] L.E.Ellsworth (1982). Charles Lowder page164
[24] R.W. Enraght (1883) My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act
[25] Showell’s Dictionary of Birmingham (1885)
[26] R.W. Enraght (1873) Catholic Worship page7
[27] R.W. Enraght (1883) My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act
[28] G. Bayfield Roberts (1895). The History of the English Church Union 1859-1894
[29] R.W. Enraght (1883) My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act
[30] F.C.Ewer (1880) Sermon on the Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake (Preached in St. Ignatius Church, New York., on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 1880)
[31] G. Wakelin (1895) The Oxford Movement, Sketches and Recollections.
[32] F.C.Ewer (1880) Sermon on the Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake)
[33] William Pitt McCune. (1964) History of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the United States of America
[34] H.P.Liddon (1894) Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey. Chapter 17
[35] Hall Collection 3/13, Pusey House Oxford
[36] R.W. Enraght (1883) My Prosecution under the Public Worship Regulation Act
[37] The Heslopian Magazine (2003) No.1 page 19
[38] G. Wakelin (1895) The Oxford Movement, Sketches and Recollections.
[39] The Yorkshire Post 18th January 1883
[40] R.W. Enraght (1883) My Prosecution
[41] Midland Echo of Thursday, March 29th 1883
[42] Nigel Yates (1999). Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910. page 262
[43] P. T. Marsh (1969). The Victorian Church in Decline page 288
[44] Crockford's Clerical Directory (1884)
[45] Nigel Yates (1999). Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910. page 262
[46] A & P Robinson. (2000) Outline of The Ministry of Fr. Enraght (Church of St Alban the Martyr, Highgate, Birmingham)
[47] G. Wakelin (1895) The Oxford Movement, Sketches and Recollections.
[48] G. Bayfield Roberts (1895). The History of the English Church Union 1859-1894.
[49] Crockford's Clerical Directory (1897)
[50] UK Census for 1881 & 1901
[51] Information supplied by Fr Richard Enraght’s Great Grandson Mr. David Wood.
[52] A & P Robinson. (2000) Outline of The Ministry of Fr. Enraght (Church of St Alban the Martyr, Highgate, Birmingham)
[53] Crockfords Clerical Directory
[54] Catholic Literature Association 1933 Arthur Tooth
[55] Marcus Donovan (1933) After the Tractarians.
[56] Ministry of Justice, The UK Statute Law Database
[57] Crockford's Clerical Directory (1897)
[58] R.T.David (1891). Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury Vol.2 page 422
[59] R.T.David (1891). Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury. Vol. 2 page 264

G. Bayfield Roberts.(1895) The History of the English Church Union 1859-1894

James Bentley.(1978) Ritualism & Politics in Victorian Britain (1978).

R.T.David.(1891) Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury (1891)

L.E.Ellsworth.(1982) Charles Lowder

J. Embry.(1931) The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross.

F. C. Ewer. Sermon on the Imprisonment of English Priests for Conscience Sake (Preached in St. Ignatius Church, New York., on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 1880)

P. T. Marsh.(1969) The Victorian Church in Decline (Archbishop Tait & The Church of England 1868-1882)

William Pitt McCune.(1964) History of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the United States of America.

Michael Reynolds.(1965) Martyr of Ritualism (Fr Mackonochie of St Alban's Holborn)

Nigel Yates.(1999) Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain 1830-1910
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