RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/48
TitleBishop James Etheridge SJ (1808-1877)
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionTwo diaries relating to Etheridge's time in British Guiana [Guyana].
Admin_HistoryJames Etheridge was born on 19 October 1808 at Red Marley (or Redmarley) in Worcestershire. He was educated at Sedgeley Park and Stonyhurst College. Etheridge entered the Society of Jesus on 20 September 1827, joining the novitiate at Hodder. He studied Philosophy for two years at Stonyhurst, followed by a two year Sub-procuratorship at the College. After a three-year study of Theology, Etheridge was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest at Stonyhurst on 24 September 1836.

Etheridge served as a missioner at Pontefract for a year before joining the mission at Norwich in 1839. Etheridge briefly served as the Superior of Mount St Mary's in 1842 before beginning his tertianship at Hodder as socius to the novice-master. He took his final vows in the Society of Jesus on 15 August 1844. Etheridge returned to the Norwich Mission as Rector of the College of the Holy Apostles before he was appointed Rector of St Beuno's in 1851 and then Rector of St Aloysius' College, Preston in 1855.

In 1857 responsibility for the vicariate of Guiana [Guyana] was transferred to the Society of Jesus and in March of that year, Fr Etheridge and two Italian Jesuits were sent to establish the mission. Etheridge succeeded the retiring Bishop John Thomas Hynes OP as Vicar-Apostolic of Guiana. He returned to England in 1858 to be consecrated Bishop; the ceremony was conducted by Cardinal Wiseman at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street, London. In addition to his responsibilities in Guiana and Barbados, Bishop Etheridge was also tasked to carry out administrative duties in the diocese of Port-of-Spain and Haiti.

Under Etheridge's leadership, new churches were opened at Main Street in Georgetown (the Sacred Heart) and along the coast at Hague, Victoria, Henrietta, Buxton, Beterverwagting, Meadow Bank and Leguan. Etheridge also oversaw the building of the first cathedral in Georgetown, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, formally opened in 1874.

Bishop Etheridge had suffered poor health for many years and, despite a recuperative break in Jamaica in 1874, he was unable to maintain his previously gruelling schedule of almost constant travelling in and around the Caribbean.

In late December 1877 Etheridge visited Barbados. He died on 31 December 1877 on board RMS Eider making the return journey to Guyana. Within a few hours of dying, Bishop Etheridge's body was buried at sea at 12.30am on 1 January 1878. Etheridge was succeeded as Vicar-Apostolic of Guiana by Bishop Anthony Butler SJ.

A full obituary can be found in Letters and Notices 12 (1878-1879), pp. 116-124.
Related Material - Guiana Mission letters, 1857-1878: MSB/33
- Bishop Etheridge's history of the Guiana mission 1858-1877, together with notes on Etheridge's father and a letter explaining the composition of his account, see: GUY/1/1
- Account of the Guiana Mission prior to the arrival of the Jesuits, attributed to Bishop Etheridge, see: GUY/1/2
- For letters and references in the papers of Bishop Hynes, see 51/3/10: 25v, 29v, 32v, 38r, 118, 122-123, 126-129, 478-492.
- Letter from his brother, Fr John Etheridge SJ, 1855: see Foreign Correspondence, MSB/55 f. 495
- For photographs see SJ/PH/401
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.
DS/UK/399Etheridge; James (1808-1877); Roman Catholic Bishop; Jesuit Priest1808-1877

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