By way of a few forceable legislative acts made between 1633 and 1634 the Catholic Church in England and Wales,  was abolished by  King Henry VIII . Under the Reign of Henry’s daughter Mary 1553-1558, Catholicism was reinstated and supported  while  Protestants were tortured and burned. On the crowning of Elizabeth, The separation from Rome and the Pope was reinstated.  In  february 1570, the Pope Pius V, declared Elizabeth a Heretic and a ‘pretend queen”. Elizabeth responded by “Catholicism (along with other non-established churches) continued in England, although it was at times subject to various forms of persecution. The act of being a Jesuit or seminarian was made treasonable in 1571. “It was now treason to belong to a particular category of person, a remarkable extension of the law.” [ Cullen Murphy GOD’S JURY: THE INQUISITION AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) 194.] Priests found celebrating Mass were often drawn and quartered rather than burned at the stake. [ibid] Most recusant members (except those in diaspora and in heavily Catholic areas in the north, or part of the aristocracy) practiced their faith in private for all practical purposes until the Pope recognized the English Monarchy as lawful in 1766.

Due to this persecution, English Catholics established the English College in Rome, the English College in Douai, the English College at Valladolid in Spain,  and at the English College in Seville, The Colleges of St Omer,  These institutions by there inception were subversive, And The books printed at these colleges always promise to be interesting.

 Here are there books, which fit into this category!

313G  Wilson, John.   1575-1645   The English martyrologe conteyning a summary of the liues of the glorious and renowned saintes of the three kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Collected and distributed into moneths, after the forme of a calendar, according to euery saintes festiuity. VVherunto i annexed in the end a catalogue of those, who haue suffered death in England for defence of the catalogus_image-1.phpCatholicke cause, since King Henry the 8. his breach with the Sea Apostolicke, vnto this day. By a Catholicke priest.

[Saint-Omer]:Printed at the English College Press] Permissu superiorum,1608                            $2,800

Octavo, .  First Edition  *  A-Z8.( Lacking Aa1-7)

This copy is bound in  later blind ruled calf ,paper age-toned, marg. damp staining, minor worming in blank bottom margin.    This is a copy is lacking the final quire , which is “A catalogue of those vvho haue suffered death in England, for defence of the Catholicke cause, synce the yeare of Christ 1535 .. vnto this yeare 1608” (a different text from STC 26000.8),  Aa1-7. found at the end of a number of copies .I wonder if this was done in copies for protestants?

I.W. [attributed to John Wilson and also to John Watson Attributed to John Watson by some authorities. cf. Brit. mus. Cataglogue, Lowndes, Watts, Allibone, Stonehill. Also attributed to John Wilson. cf. Halkett and Laing, new and rev. ed.]  (I will go with the ESTC and call him,Wilson) Wilson was an English Catholic priest living abroad in the first half of the 17th century. His English Martyrologe (first published in 1608) deals with those who died for their faith up until about the end of the middle ages (though most of those listed date from the first millenium A.D.). Consequently,there are no Jesuits in here, but it is tangentially relevant, as having apparently sparked the anonymous “The Fierie Tryall of Gods Saints;-These Suffered for the witnes of Iesus and for the word of God vnder Queene Mary … As a Counter-poyze to I. W. Priest his English Martyrologe . And the detestable ends of Popish Traytors … set down in a comparative Collection of both their sufferings, etc.

Wilson,set up the Press at Saint Omers The English Jesuits: From Campion to Martindale By SJ Basset, Bernard

John Wilson published in 1608 in St Omer his own  The English martyrologe conteyning a summary of the lives of the glorious and renowned saintes of the three Kingdomes, England, Scotland and Ireland. This influential publication was organised according to a chronological rather than geographical structure, addressing for one period the saints of the ‘three kingdoms’ together, and including many Welsh examples. This illustrates the Catholic impulse to cross boundaries and represent the Church as trans-national, multi-ethnic and cross-cultural, a tendency which was underpinned and strengthened by the extensive use writers made of the Venerable Bede and of established narratives of origins such as The history of the church of Englande.
{Highley, Christopher, Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2008}

STC (2nd ed.), 25771;ESTC S120085. Allison/Rogers II:806. Labarre 26.

DSC_0035841F  Smith, Richard.   1568-1655

Florum historiae ecclesiasticae gentis anglorum libri septem, ex quibus dulcissimum mel catholicae religionis,Eiusque admirabiles… fructus colliguntur, collectore Richardo Smitheo episcopo Chalcedonense.  His adjuncta est epistola ejusdem ad Jacobum regem de mutuis officiis inter summos pontifices et M. Britanniae reges.             

Parisiis: Apud Federicum Leonard, In Collegio Regio. 1654.  $2,900

Folio, .  First edition  ã4A-3H4  This copy is bound in contemporary calf and has been rebacked. It has the bookplate of Joseph Gillow. Gillow’s  greatest achievement was the Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics (5 vols, 1885-1902). Unfortunately, to fit his material into the five volumes allotted him by his publishers, Gillow needed to abbreviate the later volumes.

Richard Smith (1568 1655) served as Bishop of Calcedon from 1624 1632 and was second Vicar Apostolic of England. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he became a Catholic. He was admitted to the English College, Rome, in 1586, studied under Bellarmine, and was ordained priest 7 May 1592. In Feb., 1593, he arrived at Valladolid, where he took the degree of Doctor of Theology, and taught philosophy at the English College till 1598, when he went to Seville as a professor of controversies. In 1603 he went on the English mission, where he made his mark as a missioner. Chosen to represent the case of the secular clergy in the archpriest controversy, he went to Rome, where he opposed Persons, who said of him: “I never dealt with any man in my life more heady and resolute in his opinions”. In 1613 he became superior of the small body of English secular priests at Arras College, Paris, who devoted themselves to controversial work. In 1625 he was elected to succeed Dr. Bishop as vicar Apostolic, but the date usually assigned for his consecration as Bishop of Chalcedon (12 Jan., 1625) must be wrong, as he was not elected till 2 Jan. He arrived in England in April, of the same year, residing in Lord Montagu’s house at Turvey, Bedfordshire. As vicar Apostolic he came into conflict with the regulars, claiming the rights of an ordinary, but Urban VIII decided (16 Dec., 1627) that he was not an ordinary. In 1628 the Government issued a proclamation for his arrest, and in 1631 he withdrew to Paris, where he lived with Richelieu till the cardinal’s death in 1642; then he retired to the convent of the English Augustinian nuns, where he died. Florum Historiae Ecclesiasticae gentis Anglorum libri septem (An Ecclesiastical History of the English People) was to be his last work, a religious history of England from the Catholic perspective. Smith had a clear precedent in Bede’s eighth-century exposition of the differences between Roman and Celtic Catholicism in his Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, sharing a clear polemical and didactic purpose of configuring the gens Anglorum as God’s new chosen people (with salvation, of course, being reserved for Smith’s Catholic coreligionists).

Smith was certainly a controversial figure and his appointment as Bishop and subsequent fears of encroaching claims of ecclesiastical jurisdiction provided the subject of “the only known private English Catholic allegorical play of the seventeenth century”   a manuscript drama written ca. 1630 discovered at the English College in Rome (where Smith had once studied) that draws on the controversy surrounding Gregory XV’s appointment of Smith as overseer of the English Catholics and records the resistance of the Jesuits, Benedictines, Dominicans, and their sympathizers among the gentry to the perceived intrusion of Smith’s episcopal authority. Many unpublished documents relating to his troubled episcopate (an impartial history of which yet remains to be written) are preserved in the Westminster Diocesan Archives.

Gillet, C.R. McAlpin Coll., II, p. 93; BM, 224, col. 660; BN, 174, col. 360; Clancy, T.H. Engl. Catholic books,; 1453X

dsc_01212271G    Campion, Edmund.  1540-1581     and  Harpsfield, Nicholas, 1519-1575. Gibbons, Richard,; 1550?-1632.  Speed, John,; 1552?-1629.    

Historia Anglicana ecclesiastica : a primis gentis susceptae fidei incunabulis ad nostra fere tempora deducta, et in quindecim centurias distributa.

Duaci : Sumptibus Marci Wyon, Typographi Iurati, sub signo Phoenicis, 1622


Folio, 332 X 210 mm .   a4, e4, i4, A-4Z4, 5A-5E4. This copy is bound in original full vellum.

Shortly after dawn on July 18, 1581, the cry went out: “I have found the traitors!” With a crowbar the false wall at the head of the stairs was torn away, revealing the huddled figures of Edmund Campion and two companions, three priests lately returned to their native England to minister to those resisting the oppression from the new English Church. Their discovery set them upon the path to martyrdom.

Edmund Campion was born on January 25, 1540 into an England of religious and social upheaval. Protestantism had usurped the Catholic Church as the spiritual authority; the dissolution of monasteries and the suppression of Catholic beliefs and believers intensified as land-hungry nobles and men of power continued, in the name of the young, sickly Edward VI, the transformation begun by Henry VIII.   Campion was 13 and the most promising scholar at Christ’s Hospital school in London when he was chosen to read an address to Mary Tudor upon her arrival in London as queen in 1553. Campion received a scholarship to Oxford at age 15, and, by the time Elizabeth rose to power (“restoring” Protestantism as the national religion) upon Mary’s death in 1558, he was already a junior fellow.

At Oxford Campion’s erudition, charisma, and charm gained him noteriety; his students even imitated his mannerisms and style of dress. Queen Elizabeth visited in 1566 and for her entertainment was treated to academic displays. Campion, the star of the show, single-handedly debated four other scholars and so impressed the queen that she promised the patronage of her advisor (and one of the principal architects of the Reformation in England) William Cecil, who referred to Campion as the “diamond of England.”

It was the hope of the crown that Campion would become a defender of the new faith which, though favored by the temporal power, lacked learned apologists. Yet even as he was ordained to the Anglican diaconate, he was being swayed toward Rome, influenced in great part by older friends with Catholic sympathies. In 1569 he journeyed to Dublin, where he composed his <History of Ireland>. At this point Campion was at the summit of his powers. He could have risen to the highest levels of fame had he stayed his course. But this was not to be. By the time Campion left Ireland, he knew he could not remain a Protestant.

Campion’s Catholic leanings were well-publicized, and he found the atmosphere hostile upon his return to England in 1571. He went abroad to Douay in France, where he was reconciled with the Church and decided to enter the Society of Jesus. He made a pilgrimmage to Rome and journeyed to Prague, where he lived and taught for six years and in 1578 was ordained a Jesuit priest.

In 1580 he was called by superiors to join fellow Jesuit Robert Parsons in leading a mission to England. He accepted the assignment joyfully, but everyone was aware of the dangers. The night before his departure from Prague, one of the Jesuit fathers wrote over Campion’s door, “<P. Edmundus Campianus, Martyr.>”

Campion crossed the English Channel as “Mr. Edmunds,” a jewel dealer. His mission was nearly a short one: At Dover a search was underway for Gabriel Allen, another English Catholic expatriate who was rumored to be returning to England to visit family. Apparently Allen’s description fit Campion also, and he was detained by the mayor of Dover, who planned to send Campion to London. Inexplicably, while waiting for horses for the journey, the mayor changed his mind, and sent “Mr. Edmunds” on his way.

Upon reaching London, Campion composed his “Challenge to the Privy Council,” a statement of his mission and an invitation to engage in theological debate (see “Classic Apologetics” in this issue). Copies spread quickly, and several replies to the “Challenge” were published by Protestant writers, who attached to it a derogatory title, “Campion’s Brag,” by which it is best known today.

The power and sincerity of the “Brag” is accompanied by a degree of naivete: Campion’s statement of purpose was of no value during his later trial for treason, and the challenge to debate, repeated later in his apologetic work <Decem  Rationes>, was as much an invitation to capture. And his capture seemed almost inevitable: Elizabeth had spies everywhere searching for priests, the most sought after of whom being her former “diamond of England.”  Campion and his companions traveled stealthily through the English countryside in the early summer of 1581, relying on old, landed Catholic families as hosts. They said Mass, heard confession, performed baptisms and marriages, and preached words of encouragement to a people who represented the last generation to confess the faith of a Catholic England.

There were close calls. Many homes had hiding places for priests some even had secret chapels and confessionals and the Jesuits had to rely on these more than once. Campion took extraordinary risks, never able to turn down a request to preach or administer the sacraments, and more than once he escaped detection while in a public setting.

His fortune changed while visiting the home of Francis Yate in Lyford Grange, which was west of London. Yate was a Catholic imprisoned for his faith who had repeatedly asked for one of the Jesuit fathers to tend to the spiritual needs of his household. Though it was out of the way and the queen’s searchers were reportedly in hot pursuit, Campion was unable to resist the request.

He traveled to Lyford, heard confessions, preached well into the night, and departed without difficulty after saying Mass at dawn. Some nuns visiting the home shortly thereafter were upset to hear they had just missed Campion, and so riders were dispatched to pursuade him to return, which he did. Word of his return reached George Eliot, born and regarded as Catholic but in fact a turncoat in the pay of the queen; he had a general commission to hunt down and arrest priests. Eliot arrived at Lyford with David Jenkins, another searcher, and attended a Mass. He was greatly outnumbered by the Catholics, and, fearing resistance, made no move to arrest Campion. He departed abruptly to fetch the local magistrate and a small militia and returned to the Yate property during dinner. News of the approaching party reached the house, and Campion and his two priestly companions were safely squirreled away in a narrow cell prepared especially for that purpose, with food and drink for three days.

Later Eliot and Jenkins both claimed to have discovered the priests, offering the same story: A strip of light breaking through a gap in the wall leading to the hiding place was the giveaway both men took credit for noticing it, and each reported being the one to break through the wall. No doubt each sought the credit for capturing the infamous Campion, for no priest was more beloved by the Catholics nor more despised by the crown.

Campion was taken to the Tower and tortured. Several times he was forced to engage in debates, without benefit of notes or references and still weak and disoriented from his rackings and beatings. He acquited himself admirably, all things considered: a testament to his unparalled rhetorical skills.

His trial was a farce. Witnesses were bribed, false evidence produced; in truth, the outcome had been determined since his arrival. Campion was eloquent and persuasive to the last, dominating the entire procedure with the force of his logic and his knowledge of the Scripture and law, but in vain. He and his priestly and lay companions were convicted of treason on November 14 and were sentenced to death. His address to the court upon sentencing invoked the Catholic England for which he had fought, the Catholic England which was about to die: “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors all the ancient priests, bishops and kings all that was once the glory of England.”

On December 1,1581 the prophecy hanging over his door in Prague was fulfilled: Campion was hanged, drawn, and quartered. The poet Henry Walpole was there, and during the quartering some blood from Campion’s entrails splashed on his coat. Walpole was profoundly changed. He went overseas, took orders, and 13 years later met his own martyrdom on English soil. Campion was beatified by Leo XIII in 1886.  Quoted from   Todd M. Aglialoro .

“Historia Wicleffiana eivsdem avctoris”: p. [661]-732./ “Catalogus. Ex Anglico Ioannis Speed Latinva, in quo suo uno aspectu videre est omnium tum monasteriorum …” p. 741-779.