John Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility

By Dennis Flynn | Go to book overview
Save to active project


JOHN DONNE and his family were thrust into the center of the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics by the arrival of his Jesuit uncle as an underground missionary. The fact that Heywood arrived at Tynemouth, evidently under the auspices of Henry Percy, eighth Earl of Northumberland, implies there was some earlier relation between Donne's family and the house of Percy. Probably the connection began as early as the time of John Heywood's participation in educational activities at Court, when Jasper was studying with Princess Elizabeth. In any case, Donne's own affiliation with the Percy family began with his uncle's arrival, lasted all his life, and included his friendship with Lord Henry Percy, who became ninth Earl. Involvement with the Percys underscored Donne's experience of religious persecution, which represented a constant threat in his life as in the life of the Percy family. It was a factor that determined Donne's outlook.

No family in sixteenth-century England suffered more for its Catholicism than the house of Percy. Sir Thomas Percy, father of the seventh and eighth Earls of Northumberland, was attainted and executed for treason after taking part (within a year of Sir Thomas More's execution) in the Pilgrimage of Grace, the first rebellion against Tudor religious reform. With his execution and attainder, the line of Earls of Northumberland was extinguished. The children of Sir Thomas Percy were consigned to that vague netherworld of the Court of Henry VIII with the bastardized Princess Mary and other figures more or less out of the King's favor during and after Cromwell's time in power. For a period of twenty years, through the reign of Edward VI, the Northumberland title was withheld from the Percy family; it was eventually

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
John Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 245

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?