Owen Lewis (bishop)

Owen Lewis, also known as Lewis Owen (Italian: Ludovico Audoeno, Latin: Audoenus Ludovisi; 28 December 1532 – 14 October 1594) was a Welsh Roman Catholic priest, jurist, administrator and diplomat, who became Bishop of Cassano all'Jonio.[1][2]

Most Reverend

Owen Lewis
Bishop of Cassano all'Ionio
ChurchCatholic Church
In office1588-1595
PredecessorTiberio Carafa
SuccessorGiulio Caracciolo
Consecration14 February 1588
by Nicolás de Pellevé
Personal details
Born28 December 1532
Died14 October 1594

Early lifeEdit

Born on 28 December 1532 in Wales in the hamlet of Bodeon, Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, he was the son of a freeholder. He became a scholar of Winchester College in 1547, and a perpetual fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1554; and was admitted to the degree of B.C.L. 21 February 1558–59.[3]

Opposed to Protestantism, he left the university about 1561 and went to the University of Douai, where he completed degrees in both law and divinity, and was appointed regius professor of law. He was also made a canon of Cambrai Cathedral, official of the chapter, and archdeacon of Hainaut.[3]


A lawsuit of the chapter of Cambrai occasioned Lewis's going to Rome. Popes Sixtus V and Gregory XIII each made him Referendary of both signatures and secretary to the several congregations and consultations concerning the clergy and regulars.[3]

With William Allen, Lewis helped set up the English Colleges of Douai and Rome. In 1578 he had Morys Clynnog brought in as warden to that in Rome. Nationalist feelings, however, came to the fore and the English students agitated for a Jesuit to be put in charge.[4] This incident has been identified as the beginning of the 'Jesuit and secular' divide in the English mission.[5]

In MilanEdit

Lewis was an administrator in Milan from 1580 to 1584.[4] Charles Borromeo, as archbishop of Milan, brought in outsiders;[6] he appointed Lewis one of the vicars-general of his diocese, at the same time taking him into his family.[3] Borromeo died in Lewis's arms. Gruffydd Robert assisted Lewis in his work.[4]

Later lifeEdit

Back in Rome, Lewis took on for the Papal Curia policy concerning the English College, Reims and Mary Queen of Scots.[7]

By the joint consent of Sixtus V and Philip II of Spain, Lewis was promoted to the bishopric of Cassano in the Kingdom of Naples on 3 February 1588; and was consecrated at Rome 14 February (N.S.) 1588 by Nicolás de Pellevé, Archbishop of Sens, with Giovanni Battista Albani, Titular Patriarch of Alexandria, and Fabio Biondi, Titular Patriarch of Jerusalem, serving as co-consecrators.[1] At the time of the Spanish Armada there was support for him to be made archbishop of York in the event of the enterprise succeeding, but Allen disapproved of the idea; the proposal became for other bishoprics. Lewis continued to reside at Rome, and the pope appointed him one of the apostolic visitors of that city; and sent him as nuncio to Switzerland.[3]

He died at Rome on 14 October (N.S.) 1594, and was buried in the chapel of the English College, where a monument was erected to his memory, with a Latin epitaph. Lewis's old schoolfellow Thomas Stapleton dedicated to him his Promptuarium Catholicum, Paris, 1595.[3]

Episcopal successionEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Bishop Owen (Audoenus) Lewis (Ludovisi)" Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved February 29, 2016
  3. ^ a b c d e f Cooper 1892.
  4. ^ a b c Jones 2007.
  5. ^ Brendan Bradshaw, Peter Roberts, British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain, 1533-1707 (2003), pp. 21–2; Google Books.
  6. ^ Wietse de Boer, The Conquest of the Soul: confession, discipline, and public order in Counter-Reformation Milan (2001), p. xiii; Google Books.
  7. ^ Paul Burns, Butler's Lives of the Saints: February (1998), p. 207; Google Books.


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCooper, Thompson (1893). "Lewis, Owen". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 33. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  • Jones, Emyr Gwynne (2008). "LEWIS, OWEN, or OWEN, LEWIS (1533-1595)". Welsh Biography Online. Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion.

External linksEdit

  • Profile, Catholic Hierarchy; accessed 24 April 2022.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Cassano all'Jonio
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland
Succeeded by