John Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility

By Dennis Flynn | Go to book overview

4
THE PERSISTENT CATHOLICISM
OF DONNE'S FAMILY

AFTER MORE THAN a decade of resistance to Elizabethan religious reform, some of the implications of being a Catholic in England were becoming more evident. The Northern Rising of 1569, partly an expression of support for the Catholic Queen of Scotland as heir to the English throne, made clear that neither at home nor in exile were English Catholics willing to expire without a struggle. The Privy Council now resolved to stiffen the statutory penalties for the practice of Catholicism, viewed from this time forward as an act of political disloyalty that was directly connected to the promotion of Mary Stuart's succession to the throne.

Another effect of the failed rebellion was an immediate increase in the rate of emigration to Belgium. The figure of something more than 200 exiles in 1566 burgeoned to nearly 600 by early 1572. A good many of these new emigrants were escaped rebels who sailed from Scotland or furtively from ports of embarkation along the northern English coast. But there was also an increase from among Catholics throughout the country who had taken no part in the rebellion but could see the gathering signs of storm. Especially after the spring of 1570, there was a sharp increase in the number of gentry asking license to travel for the waters at Spa and other continental resorts. Once across the Channel, many of these travelers took up permanent residence in Brabant or Flanders. They then wrote to the Privy Council or the Queen offering to return in exchange for letters of permission to practice Catholicism, begging in the meantime to be allowed to continue collecting estate revenues from England. 1

After the infusion of the rebel leaders among the exiles, the Privy

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John Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • John Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility *
  • Contents *
  • Figures *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction: Portrait of a Swordsman *
  • Part One Donne's Catholic Heritage *
  • 1: Sir Thomas More and His Family *
  • 2: Ellis and Jasper Heywood *
  • 3: Donne's Family and Early Milieu *
  • 4: The Persistent Catholicism of Donne's Family *
  • Part Two Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility *
  • 5: Henry Percy, Eighth Earl of Northumberland *
  • 6: The Jesuit Mission and the "Enterprise" of 1582 *
  • 7: The Defeats of Heywood and Northumberland *
  • 8: Donne's Flight from the Persecution *
  • 9: Heywood in Exile Again *
  • 10: Henry Stanley, Fourth Earl of Derby *
  • Conclusion *
  • Appendix: Donne's Latin Epigrams *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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