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.
GEORGE GILBERT, S.J. PART XIII.
To save confusion in the narrative, the following papers relating to Mr. Gilbert, copied from the State Papers, P.R.O., are added at the end.
Dom. EIiz., Vol. 140, No. 62.
" The Examination of John Taylor, taken before me, George May, 26th December, 1580.
" I. To the first question he sayeth he remembreth not that he hath seen him, George Gilbert, these four or five monthes, but that one of his servants coming from Bedford mett with him and his servant, Roger Yardiey als Caules, early betwixt St. Talbons [St. Albans] and London, about a month sins. His servant hath sins bin at the house of this examinant, who asked him whether his master was in towne; he answered no; he asked farder whither he rid at the time he was met withall by Saynt Talbons; he answered 'to his frendes/ but told not whither; he demanded farther when he wold com to towne, and where he wold lye when he came: . he answered that shortly he wold be in towne, but knew not wher he determined to lye : this communication was betwixt a fortnite and three weekes last past, betwixt the said Roger and this examinant.
"2. To the second he sayeth that in the towne he knoweth not directly the haunts; but at Mr. Townsend's Barbican, and as he thinketh, at Mr. Roper's, in Shen [Shire] Lane, and at one Cook, a sadlers, in Flete Street, and to Sir Thomas Jarets [Gerard], and to the Master of the Rowles professing, and to Mr. Allington, one Norris, sometimes of the Inns of Court, and ye ij Roscarochs: (the said Townsend hath a taylor, one Thomas, that served Mr. Gilbert halfe a yere sins) : in the country he resorteth to his tenant's houses in Bucks, for thereabouts, he thinketh, his mother, Grace Gilbert, a widow, dwelleth (he farther sayeth that this Gilbert hath bin a very earnest Protestant about seven years past). Also about Nottingham towne, as he thinketh, Sir Gervase Clifton's. His most familiar frendes, to his knowledge, be one Mr. Perpoynt, lying in Nottinghame; also one Mr. Peter Baset, one that lyeth much at Mr. Roper's; one Mr. Rob. GifFord, of Stafford; one Brinkley; and divers others, which this examinant remembereth not nor knoweth.
"3. To the third, he sayeth Roger doth use chiefly to Yardley, a miller at Stetbridge, both because he is akin to him and a mayde in the house cauled Winefrid, where this examinant ij day sens, asking for Roger Yardley, sayd that he thought he wolde within a day or ij write letters to one Offal; where Mr. Offall did lye he knew not: demanding further wher Mr. Gilbert was, he answered that he was ignorant thereof.
"4. To the fourth, he sayeth he knoweth none of them by those names, but he will inquire of his wife, whether any such did resort to his house or not.
"5. To the fifth, he sayeth that he is of resonable tawle stature, brode sholdered, with a big leg bending somewhat in the knees, short visaged, fayre complexioned, resonable well coloured, litell here [little hair] uppon his face, and short if he have any, thik of speech, and about twenty-four years of age.
"6. To the sixth, he sayeth he will most faythfully perform theyr commandments, if it shold be for his owne father. He sayeth farder, that about half a year sens, Norris the Pursuivant, as he thinketh, brought Gilbert before the Bp. of London, but how from thence he was discharged he knoweth not, but Norris told this examinant that he was an honest gentleman, and well might he saye so. 1
Dom. Eliz., 1581, Vol. cxlviii., No. 11.
"Chester. [Sir Wm. Gerarde and Sir G. Caulneley (Sheriff of Chesh.) to Earl of Leicester.]
"Yt may like yr honors yesterday, the second of this month, wee received your honourable letter of the xxviiith of Feb. last, comytting thereby to our diligent and secret travell the apprehension of Campion the Jesuit, who, as yt was informed, and one Gilbert, were conveyed by one Townsend of Ludlow, whose cozen the same Gilbert ys, to Mr. Rafe Duttons of Hatton, who hath married ye said Townsend his sister.
"The same afternoon I, the sheriffe, with some fewe of my own servants and a coople of gentlemen sent by me from Chauncellor Woode to Hutton, where we found Mr. Button, the same Townsend of Ludlowe called Roburt, and a younger brother of his named Isaac Presenthe I, the sheriffe, delt with Mr. Dutton, touchinge his knowledge of this Campion, who I was assured would tell me his knowledge. I founde he never either knewe or heard of the man, and the younger Townsend made the like answer. Wee told the said Townsend of Ludlow that the surmyse made was that he should be the conveyor of Campion and his nephew Gilbert to Hutton. He utterly denyed to have any knowlledge either of the purpose or that his cozen Gilbert had any dwelling with him. After this deniall, and upon dewe search made in the house, where wee found no person other then ye ordinarye howsehould of ye same Mr. Dutton and the servants of ye said Townsend, we departed, haying taken order for our meeting at Chester in the morning, at which tyme chiefly, at the request of the said Rob. Townsend himself, wee examined him upon his othe upon the materialest parts of the matters contiyned in the said letter, whereof the suspicion was gathered. His answer upon his oathe subscribed by him & us, wee send to your honor inclosed; which although of our own knowledge wee cannot afferme, yet upon other circumstances falling out upon the taking of the examination, wee be in oure conceyvings fully resolved that he speaketh trewly.
"We found that the said Townsend had the wardshipp of this Gilbert his sister's sonne, that when he came to the age of xviii. years he delivered him his lands and his free marriage, before which tyme Townsend kept him as a schollar at his owne house, and after at the Universitye. That sithen he, ye said Gilbert, had charge to fynde himself, he seldom came to his vncle, and at his coming made noe long aboade. And that he lastly came to him about mydsomer last with one mann, and tarryed about three days; and otherwise, then at those comyngs, he seldom saw his said cozen. Denying upon his oath to know where he now is, or hath been sithen he departed, but judged he was travelled beyond the seas. Upon the taking of which exam, we took order for appearance of the said Townsend at any tyme before yr honors, and returned him to Hutton. And soe, having at full advertized your honors of the manner of our proceedings, wee take leave.
" At your honorable commands,
"Geo. Caulnelev, "Wm. Gerrard.
"Chester, the 4 of March, 1580 (1)."
"The exam, and declaration of Robert Townsend, Esquier, taken before us, Sr. Wm. Gerrard and Sir Geo. Calveley, Kts., the 3rd of March, 1580, upon his corporall oathe.
"Examined when he last saw his nephew, Geo. Gilbert Saith, about midsomer last past, the same Geo. came to him and tarried three or foure daies or thereabout, and after departed.
" Examined what company the said Geo. had with him at his coming thither. Saith his own man, one Roger, and noe stranger.
"Examined whether he saw the said Gilbert at any tyme sithen. Saith he did not to his knowledge.
"Examined whether he, this examin 1 . doe knowe or have seene one Edmund Campion the Jesuite. Saith upon his oath, to his knowledge, he never sawe him, neyther at this howre doth he know him of all men.
"Examined whether he found out upon talk with Gilbert that Gilbert dyd knowe the same Campion.
Saith that he could not perceyve at any time by any speach that Gilbert and Campion were acquainted.
" He utterly denieth upon his oath that he knoweth eyther the sayd Campion or knoweth where he now ys, or ever was to his knowledge, what company the said Gilbert hath kept with the said Campion, whether they have been in company, or whether the said Campion have any maintenance by the sayd Gilbert, or upon what occasion the sayd Gilbert shoulde extend any favour to the sayd Campion, he knoweth not himself, nor by the report of the sayd Gilbert
" Robert Towneshend.
1 Mr. Simpson, in making an extract from the above State Paper in his Life of Campion, p. 211, adds, that about Midsummer, 1510, Mr. Gilbert was taken before Aylmer, the Protestant Bishop of London, by Norris the Pursuivant, but discharged on Norris declaring him an honest gentleman. Norris might well say so, for Gilbert paid him liberally, and hired his house to be a kind of sanctuary for hunted Recusants, as we have already seen.
Mr. Townsend, of the Barbican, was probably either Isaac Townsend or his brother Rob. Townsend, of Ludlow, both brothers of George Gilbert's mother. Robert had been, Mr. Gilbert's guardian till he came to the age of eighteen, when he delivered him his lands and his free marriage, before which time his uncle kept him as a scholar at his own house, and after at the University. Mr. Gilbert, however, now scarcely ever visited his said uncle, a Protestant, and never stayed more than three days together (See the Examination of Townsend).