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 Thirsk on September 24th 1831; ordained priest on February 10th 1859; consecrated February 24th 1890, as Coadjutor Bishop of Leeds; succeeded to the See of Leeds on June 16th 1890; died June 7th 1911 and buried at the Catholic Cemetery, Leeds.