In 1850 Pope Pius IX announced the restoration of the English and Welsh hierarchy in the Apostolic Letter Universalis Ecclesiae. He created thirteen new dioceses including the Diocese of Beverley and Dr John Briggs became its first Bishop. In 1878 the Diocese of Beverley was divided into the Diocese of Leeds and the Diocese of Middlesbrough. Bishop Robert Corthwaite, the then Bishop of Beverley, became the first Bishop of Leeds.
Born in Preston on 9th May 1818; ordained priest on 9th November 1845; consecrated on 10th November 1861, as Bishop of Beverley; Appointed as the first Bishop of Leeds on 20th December 1878; died 16th June 1890 and buried at the Church of Mary Immaculate, Sicklinghall.