Recusants and renegades

A page from Henry Hawkins' 'Partheneia sacra' The frontispiece to Henry Hawkins’ ‘Partheneia sacra’ (1632)

Henry Hawkins, the Jesuit priest and author, is probably the best-known of the children of Sir Thomas Hawkins of Boughton-under-Blean. The Boughton parish register for the year 1577 includes the following entry:

The 8th of Octobr was bapt. Henrie Haukyns the sonne of Thomas Haukyns the younger.

It seems likely that Henry was privately educated at home; we know that his father employed a Mr Greene, a recusant schoolmaster, at the family home at Nash Hall, Boughton. Following the example of his older brother Thomas, Henry then attended Gloucester Hall, Oxford (the predecessor of Worcester College), matriculating on 3rd November 1592 at the age of fourteen. In a report to the government about recusancy at the University in 1577, the year of Henry Hawkins’ birth, it was stated that Gloucester Hall was ‘greatly suspected’ of being a refuge for recusants. A…

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