FATHER THOMAS DARBYSHIRE, S.J. PART I.
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.
Father Thomas Darbyshire was nephew to Bonner, the Catholic Bishop of London, who, when Queen Mary, on the death of the boy-King, Edward VI., assumed the reins of government, was conspicuous for his zeal in arresting the hitherto hidden serpent of heresy; but what is of greater importance, he was a disciple and imitator of the heroic fortitude of that Prelate, who was not to be moved or shaken, either by the feigned promises or the real threats of Queen Elizabeth, who, in punishment of his invincible firmness in the Catholic faith, and obedience and submission to the Sovereign Pontiff, condemned him to be buried alive in a most wretched and painful dungeon, there to be slowly consumed by a long martyrdom of suffering, to which he at last succumbed. Bishop Bonner employed Father Darbyshire as his chancellor in the administration of his episcopal functions, and made him his fellow-soldier in combating the enemies of the Faith.
He was educated at Broadgate Hall, Oxford, where he completed the degree of Doctor of the Civil Law, 17th February, 1555. Afterwards taking Orders, he was made Doctor of Canon Law, as also of Divinity. Having qualified himself in this manner, and supported by his uncle's interest, he had considerable benefices and dignities bestowed upon him. He was successively made Archdeacon of Essex, Canon of St. Pauls, Chancellor of the Diocese of London, and lastly, Dean of St. Paul's. 1 Queen Mary's death, and with that event the overthrow of the Catholic religion in England, put a stop to his further promotion. He was conspicuous for his constancy in defending the Faith on the accession of Elizabeth, and being, in consequence, deprived of all his preferments, dignities, and ample fortune, which, by the favour of his Princes and of the Holy See, and in reward of his talents and learning, had been bestowed upon him, he remained still in England for some time longer, in hope of seeing another change. He was held in great esteem amongst the Catholics in England, and was deputed in their name to the assembled Fathers of the Council of Trent, to procure their opinion upon a point of controversy, then much agitated amongst the English Catholics, whether they were permitted to frequent the churches and services of the Protestants, to which they were forced under pain of the severest penalties. He shortly returned to England, having procured their opinion, to the effect that so to attend the said churches and worship would be a grave sin. Dr. Oliver, in his notice of Father Darbyshire, 2 says that through his zealous representations, the Fathers of the Council of Trent passed their decree, De non adeundis hcereticorum ecclesiis.
In the following paper, of which an extract is made, and which is supposed by the editor of the State Paper Calendar to date about 1561, Father Darbyshire is named Doctor Darbyshire, &c. A rather full extract is given, being a curious document, and showing the spirit of the times, and the active zeal of the new pseudo-bishops, on stepping into the sees of the ejected orthodox ones.
State Papers, Dom. Elizabeth, Addenda, Vol. xi., No. A 5, 1561 [?]
"Schedule signed by Edmund [Grindall], Bishop of London, Richard [Cox] of Ely, William [Downham] of Chester, and three others, Commissioners of Recusants who are at large, &c.
"List of evil disposed persons of whom complaint has been made, but who lurk so secretly that process cannot be served upon them [inter alios] —
"Philip Morgan, late of Oxford.
"Friar Gregory, a common Mass sayer.
"One Ely, late Master of St. John's College, Oxford.
"Dr. Robinson, late Dean of Durham, is excused by his lameness. One thought to do much hurt in Yorkshire.
"One Morris, late chaplain to Dr. Bonner, wanders about Staffordshire and Lancashire very seditiously, and is the person who cast abroad the seditious libel in Chester.
"Robert Gray, Priest, much supported at Sir Thomas Fitzherbert's, and now wandering in like sort A man meet to be looked to.
"Dr. Hoskins, late of Salisbury, a subtle adversary, through the example of Sir Thomas Fitzherbert, John Sacheverell, and John Dracot, committed by us to prison, and through their families and friends, most in the counties of Stafford and Derby, are evil intended to religion, and use froward speeches in ale houses."
" List of persons who have fled over the seas [inter alios] —
"Dr. Bullock, late Prebendary.
"Dr. Darbyshire, late chancellor to Dr. Bonner, and his kinsman.
"William Taylor, late chaplain to Archbishop of York."
"Prisoners in the Fleet, by order from us [inter alios] —
"Sir Thomas Fitzherbert, Knt. " Dr. Scott, late Bishop of Chester. " Dr. Harpesfilde, late Archdeacon of London. Thomas Wood, late Parson of High Ongar, Essex, and chaplain to Queen Mary.
"Dr. Cole, late Dean of St Paul's."
"Prisoners in the Marshalsea—
"Doctor Bonner, late Bishop of London.
"John Symes, a Priest of Somersetshire."
"In the Counter, Poultry— "John Dracot, gentleman."
"In the Counter, Wood Street— "John Sacheverell.
"Thomas Atkinson, clerk, late Fellow of Lincoln* College, Oxon. "John Greete, a Priest, late beneficed in Hants."
"In the King's Bench—
"John Baker, clerk, late Parson of Stamford Rivers, Essex."
Although Father Darbyshire is returned in the above amiable list of the three Right Reverend Fathers in God, as fled beyond seas, it is most probable that he was simply gone on the above embassage to the Fathers assembled at the Council of Trent.
1 Father Bartoli, Istoria S.J. Inghil., says that he was Professor of Philosophy in the Academy of the " Sapienza," of London.
2 Collect, S.J.