Imatges de pàgina






First, an Abstract of a Letter of Mr. Henry Holland, licentiate of divinity, author of

the book entitled 'Urna Aurea,' and one of the eldest sons of the seminary of Douay; from his Latin epistles in manuscript.

This letter is written to Mr. Gilbert, and gives an account of the perils, to which the Roman catholic priests were, at that time, exposed in England, and speaks of the apprehensions of several of them, viz.

• Mr. Hanse,' says the author, • leaving Rhemes, comes to London, and goes to the prison of the Marshalsea, to visit the priests that were prisoners there, and to be instructed by them, how he was to labour in the harvest of the Lord. One of the underkeepers eyes him carefully, and takes notice, by certain marks, that his shoes were made in France. He presently cries out, a traitor, and causes the gentleman to be apprehended: : upon this, he was committed to prison, and, not long after, underwent a very extraordinary kind of death, being butchered, not half alive, as others are, but perfectly alive and sensible.

· Mr. George Haydock, passing through St. Paul's church-yard, goes into a bookseller's shop to buy some book. He had not been there long before a pursuivant came in ; and as these men are a hungry race, and greedy after prey, he immediately suspects Mr. Haydock, and apprehends him.

• Mr. Johnson comes out of the country to London, on horseback : in Holborn he lights off his horse ; a pursuivant, who knew him, immediately set upon him, takes away his horse and money, and carries him before the secretary of state : by whom, he was first committed to a close prison ; then severely racked; and, at length, put to a cruel death.

• At York, Mr. William Hunt, resting in his bed at midnight, being in a deep sleep, and so suspecting no evil, is apprehended by an armed multitude, &c.

• Mr. Bennet, in North Wales, was passing, not far from the house of Mr. Mostyn, a justice of peace, a man not very rigid against catholics, but one that complied with the times. This gentleman espying Mr. Bennet, who had left the road, and went through the corn, rated him for not keeping the highway; and asked him, who he was? whence he came? whither he was going ? &c. Mr. Bennet, as he was a man of great simplicity, and fearing God; and no friend of dissimulation, answered all his questions candidly, and acknowledged, that he was a priest. Mr. Mostyn was concerned to find how the case stood ; but his servant being about him, he thought himself obliged to conceal his concern, and to commit Mr. Bennet to prison. From this prison, he was afterwards translated to another, where he was hung up to the beam by his hands, in iron manacles, and suffered great torments with a generous courage. Afterwards he was sent into banishment, and entered into the Society of Jesus, in which he piously slept in the Lord.

• Mr. John Mundyn, going on the high road from Windsor to London, meets, near Hounslow, with counsellor Hammond, a justice of peace; and being very well known to him, and not able to decline him, courteously salutes him ; I am glad to meet you, Mundyn, said Hammond ; I know you are a papist, and always was; and, moreover, I suspect that you are a priest; wherefore yield yourself up; you are my prisoner. Mr. Mundyn argues, that Hammond had no authority to stop him on the highway; that if he was a justice of the peace, he was not so in Buckinghamshire, where they then were, but only in Dorsetshire, &c. But his remonstrances are all in vain, the cruel man is not moved to relent: he makes him his prisoner, and causes him to be sent up to London, where he was afterwards martyred.

In Hampshire, Mr. Hemerford was obliged to stay in a certain village, whilst the smith put on a shoe upon one of his horse's feet: in the mean time, a malicious heretic passing by, and considering the man, affirmed, that he was the priest that had preached in the barn; and, upon this account, presently apprehened him : so Mr. Hemerford, in a moment, lost both his horse and his liberty : and afterwards, for being a priest, was put to death, and obtained, at London, the crown of martyrdom.

• Mr. Adams, a priest in Winchester, stepping out of the house into the street, was presently apprehended, and accused, though falsely, of having preached in a barn, &c., at London ; Mr. Owen was at table : Mr. Stransham at the altar; but neither the one nor the other could escape the hands of the ungodly. The same fortune Mr. Rishton met within the city, and Mr. Worthington without. Mr. Rishton's apprehension was in this manner ; he was in a certain inn, and meeting there with a countryman of his, a Lancashire gentleman, he began to treat with him about the affairs of his soul; yet so that he first sent to father Parsons, the jesuit, desiring him to come, who could do that work better than himself. In the mean time, the gentleman whispers in his ser. vant's ear, to go to such a pursuivant, and to bid him come with all speed, and apprehend the man that he should see talking with him. The pursuivant, greedy of lucre, flies thither in a moment, and seizes upon Mr. Rishton ; in the mean time father Parsons comes up, and

looking in at the door, sees Mr. Rishton with the pursuivant, and perceiving the imminent danger, instead of going in,

walks down the street, and, as God would have it, escapes, But Mr. Rishton was carried before a justice, and committed to the King's-bench, &c.

• Mr. Anderton, and his companion, “ Mr. Marsden,” sailed from France to England, and had scarce set foot on shore, before they fell into the hunters' nets. Soon after they were brought to the bar, where the judge, considering that they had been apprehended immediately upon their coming to land, before they could treat with any one about religion, and pitying their case, had a mind to deliver them from the danger of the law, by furnishing them with the following plea; I suppose, said he, gentlemen, you came out of France, not with a design of coming into England, but of going into Scotland; and that you were drove into England by a storm, against your will? tell me, is not this the truth? God forbid, said they, my lord, that we should tell a lie for the matter. Our lives would be a burthen to us, if we should save them by an untruth. We were sent hither to preach truth; and we must not, at our first setting out, give in to a lie. The truth is, we are both priests; and we set out from France, with a design of coming for England, that we might here exercise our priestly functions, and reconcile the souls of our neighbours to God and his church. And if we are not suffered here to serve our neighbours' souls, at least we will take care not to hurt our own. We had no thoughts of Scotland, but only of England. Nay then, said the judge, the Lord have mercy on you; for, by the laws, you are dead men. So sentence was pronounced upon them, by which they were condemned to die; and they suffered the usual butchery with constancy and intrepidity, and so obtained a noble martyrdom. The sea was more safe to them than the land, which also Mr. John Hart and Mr. Bishop experienced, who having escaped all the dangers of the sea, met in the very haven, not indeed with shipwreck, but with bands and prisons; which, after they had suffered there for a while, they were sent up to London to new prisons.

And since we are returned to London, I cannot pass over in silence Mr. Ailworth, a young Irish gentleman, of a singular zeal for religion, who had hired a house, not in any street, but among the gardens, commodious enough for preaching and mass, where the catholics sometimes met in a pretty good number, to the divine service, much to his content and satisfaction, who set more value upon what belonged to the honour and worship of God, than upon any earthly toys. But the thing became known, and reached the ears of Fleetwood, the recorder of the city. This furious man, with his constables, came to the house, and finding Mr. Ailworth in his chamber, carried him away to prison, even to the very worst prison in London. And in the way, being displeased at some word that the gentleman spoke, gave this most constant confessor a most violent blow on his head; then ordered him to be put into a filthy dungeon, destitute of all things, strictly forbidding any one to be admitted to visit him, or give him any thing; so the young gentleman, in eight days time, was brought to his end, by the stench and filth of the place.' So far Mr. Holland.

Secondly, an abstract of the lives of three laymen who suffered for religious matters, in

1591, written in Latin by father Thomas Stanney, S. J., sometime ghostly father to all the three. From a manuscript sent me from St. Omer's.


We shall omit such things as have been already marked down in our memoirs concerning Mr. Wells: and shall only take notice of such things which we find added in father Stanney's manuscript, who, in his preface, gives him this character: that he was a witty man, skilled in divers languages, a most agreeable companion, and very amiable, in his younger days something given to honest and innocent diversions ; yet always devout in prayer, zealous in the true faith, and most constant in maintaining the catholic religion. He adds, that as he was a gentleman, he gave a good example to the gentry, not to give themselves up so much, even to the most innocent worldly pleasures, as to neglect their prayers and devotions, and so to come to be tepid and fearful in the profession of their faith, but rather to despise all transitory things, and, like him, to be continually advancing towards heaven.

Mr. Wells, after he had been instructed at home in the liberal sciences, travelled abroad to Rome, partly to learn the language, and partly to visit the holy places. After some years, returning into England, he was employed in the service of several persons of quality, and, after some time, for his skill in languages, and for his eloquence, was desired, by the most noble earl of Southampton, a most constant professor of the catholic faith, to live in his house, as he did, much to his own commendation, for several years. At length he married a gentlewoman of good family, with whom he lived, in an edifying manner, for the remainder of his days. By her he had one only daughter, Margaret, a worthy heiress of her father's and mother's virtues; who, leaving the world, became a nun. After his marriage, Mr. Wells, for some years, employed himself in teaching the Belles Lettres, and music, having for his servant and assistant therein, Mr. Woodfen, afterwards priest and martyr; and he had the comfort of training up many of them in the true faith, and, amongst others, several who were afterwards priests, and religious, and some martyrs; till, at length, he was obliged, by the malice of his enemies, and of the ministers, to quit this employment.

He had a particular talent in bringing over heretics and schismatics to the catholic faith, and was very zealous and courageous in the cause of religion. Hence, for the latter part of his life, not only his house was daily open to priests, where there were often two or three masses celebrated in a day, but he would also often accompany them in their journies, and in the charitable expeditions in which they were engaged for the assistance of the catholics, in those perilous times; of which father Stanney gives an instance of his own experience, declaring, how he himself, soon after his coming over into England, was conducted by Mr. Wells down into the west of England, and settled there, in the house

of a certain gentleman, who was equally zealous and prudent, in promoting the catholic cause ; where he, (father Stanney,) by catechistical instructions and sermons, in three or four years' space, brought over some hundreds, to the catholic faith. This method, Mr. Wells followed, till he became so well known to the justices and pursuivants, that it was not safe for any priest to ride in his company ; he having been more than once committed to prison upon these occasions.

'In the last stage of his life, he took a house in Holborn, near Gray'sinn-fields, where he received and entertained God's ministers, till the arch-persecutor, Topliffe, being informed of his proceedings, took his opportunity, and broke into his house, when Mr. Genings was actually there at mass, as we have seen above ; where also, we have set down all that relates to the apprehension, trial, and death of Mr. Wells : only father Stanney adds, that when he was under the gallows, Topliffe said to him, You see now Mr. Wells, what your priests have brought you to: to whom, he replied, Mr. Topliffe; I am very glad, and give great thanks to God, and look upon myself exceedingly happy, that I have been so far favoured, as to have received so many, and such saint-like priests, under my roof.


He was born in Hampshire, of protestant parents, and was brought up from his infancy, in the protestant schools, being very zealous in his way, and continually reading, and getting by heart, the scriptures, and perusing books of religion. About the age of eighteen, he thought himself so perfect a master of controversies, as to seek for every opportunity of conferring with catholics, and disputing against their tenets; but he particularly desired to meet with some priest or jesuit, to hear what they could say for their doctrine, as he sometimes signified to the catholics of his acquaintance. One of them, addressed himself to father Stanney, and told him the young man's desires; and, withal, that he was a very moral man, but full of a false zeal, and obstinate in his religion; yet so, that he had declared, He would rather suffer the worst of deaths, than break his promise of secrecy, or betray a priest into the hands of his enemies. Father Stanney appointed a proper time and place to conser with him; which was in a house, where he was to preach one day within the Octave of Corpus Christi. And first, he delivered his sermon, (at which, Lawrence and another protestant were present,) upon the subject of the real presence; then he discoursed in private with both one and the other; and, in a short time, brought them both over to the catholic religion.

Lawrence's conversion was such as gave great comfort and edification to his ghostly father. He thought he could never do too much to punish his past sins ; he confessed them, with great humility, and with abundance of tears; and though his life before, had been blameless in

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