Jesuits In Conflict: Or Historic Facts Illustrative of the labours of the English Mission and Province Of The Society Of Jesus. In the times of Queen Elizabeth and her successors. By a member Of The Society Of Jesus.
THOMAS POUNDE, OF BELMONT, S.J. Part XXI.
In Dom. Eiz., Vol cxlvii., Nos. 73, 74, 76 are other interesting papers upon the same subject. No. 74, which embodies the rest, is endorsed by Walsingham—"The declaration of Benjamin Tich-bowrne's behaviour in bearing owt of one William Pittes, a scatterer of Campion's challenge, and a deliverer of lewd speeches touchinge Her Majestye and the present state. Also of the ill usage of one Edwardes by the sayd Tichbowrne's servant, for which the peace was graunted against Tichbowrne and his man. And lastly, how Mr. Tichbowrne, to encounter all the honest gentlemen in religion in the countie of Southampton, hath procured himselfe to be put in the commission of the peace there, by the meanes of the Lord Chief Baron, who countenanced the sayd Tichbowrne."
This Mr. Pitts was charged (amongst other things) with giving out "That learned, and godlye persons who offered disputations, were refused to bee heard, saying it was odious that men's soules sholde hang in daunger by reason the sayd learned men were denyed audience. That he thought Her Majestye erred from the true fayth, saying that his daylie prayer was to bryng her to the Catholique faythe. Item. That hee asked one Lichepoole whether hee had not seen a coppie of a challenge made by one Campion, and other Jesuitts. Wherevnto Lichepoole answered that hee had seene no suche wryting. The sayde Pytts immediately pulled owte of his purse the coppie of the sayde challenge, and read it vnto the sayde Lichpoole, promising him a coppie of the same, if hee sente for it vnto his lodgings, and Lichpoole sending for the same, hee delivered the messenger the coppye thereof. When Sir John Fettiplace heard the confession of Lichpoole, and had reade the coppye of the challenge, he sent immediately to the lodgings of the sayd Pytts, to apprehend him, but the sayd Pitts was fledd."
Sir John then caused the house of Henry Pytts, the father of William, to be searched, but in vain, for William. " Neverthelesse, rinding there a sister of Dr. Saunders, who is a professed Nun, and divers unlawfull bookes, with a challice, she was brought to the lord bishoppe, which Nun remayneth as yet in prison at Winchester."
The tale of Mr. Benjamin Tichborne is amusing. William Pitts was caught at Bath; from thence he wrote to Mr. Tichborne asking him to send the Mayor of Bath a certificate, " under his hande and seale of armes," in his favour on divers points. Mr. Tichborne sent this letter, and one from himself, to Mr. Henry Pitts, the father, at Alton, for information and instructions in making the certificate. The messenger being a stranger, asked for Pitt's house, saying he had a letter for him from his son. One Edwards hearing this, got hold of the letter, and took it at once to the constable, who being from home, Edwards took it to one Mr. Stone, a lawyer, "by whose advice the letter was broken vpp to see the contents thereof." Mr. Tichborne being indignant at their impudence, sent his servant to Stone's house, who luckily for himself, was from home. He then proceeded to Edwardes' house, and calling him out, gave him a very severe beating, and said he would have used Stone much worse, if he could have found him, " for breaking vpp of his master's letter."
William Pitts was sent from Bath to Winchester, and committed to gaol for trial at the approaching assizes, and Mr. B. Tichborne and his servant were bound over likewise to appear at the same assizes, for the assault. William Pitts, however, " on the ioth of February, 1581, broke the Queen's gaol and fled, having horses layd readie for him as it may appear."
Mr. Tichborne completely outwitted his adversaries by getting into great favour with the Lord Chief Baron, who on his way to Winchester assizes honoured him with a visit at Alton, and there made him a county magistrate. Mr. Tichborne told his lordship the whole case about the letter opening, and the assault by his servant, for which they were bound over to appear at the assizes. On making him a magistrate, the Chief Baron said to Mr. T., " Now you are fellow with those that bound you to the peace." At Alton also, the judge issued a warrant at Mr. Tichborne's request, against the unlucky lawyer, and Edwards, who appearing before him there, after reviling them, he bound them over in xl/. a piece, to appear before him at the assizes, saying, " I'll do nothing here unto you, but that which I shall doe, shall be done in the face of the whole shire, and Sir Richard Norton shall not out-countenance this matter." On Stone and Edwards appearing at the assizes, the judge stopped the lawyer in opening his cause against Mr. Tichborne and his servant, saying that he would not hear him, but told him that he was expelled the temple [struck off the rolls] "for his misbehaviour; that he was verye sawcie to open the sayd letters, and threatned that he should take good heede that hee came no more before him, affirminge that if hee did, hee sholde know the pryce thereof."
The judge passed over the escape of William Pitts " slightly; saying also to the gaoler that hee should paye xl. for the same escape, and saying openly that the sayd gaoyler needed not to receave anye prisoner into the Queen's gaoyle, sent by the lord bisshoppe, or others, except it were for matter of the Crown only." 1
The last instance we will notice is a letter dated 27th of June, 1586, from Walton, the keeper of the Fleet Prison, to Sir T. Walsingham, stating (inter alia), " Here is now remaining one Stephen Vallenger, committed from the Starre Chamber, by Her Majestie's Privy Counsell for publishing certain libels of Edmund Campion, and hath been committed these iiij. years." 2
1 Mr. Henry Pitts had married a sister of Dr. Saunders, and one of his sons was a fellow of the New College, Oxford, from whence he escaped to Rome. Mr. B. Tichborne was a great favourer of Papists, and was himself suspected, not having been to the " Lord's Supper " for some years past; and Mrs. T., and others of his house, refused to go to church. He gave warning to divers Catholics to fly from the diocese, who would otherwise have been apprehended by the brutal bishop. See State Papers, Elix.y Vol. cxlvii., No. 76.
2 Dom. Eliz., State Papers, Vol. cxc, No. 55, 27th June, 1586.