Historiography of the Jesuits in England in the Early Modern Period
(9,470 words)

Hannah Thomas

Last modified: November 2016


Introduction: English Mission to English Province1

The Jesuit mission to England was launched from Rome in April 1580, and by July of the same year, Edmund Campion (1540–81) and Robert Persons (1546–1610) had left Calais, landed on England’s coastline and begun their missionary work to the hidden Catholic community.2 The men arrived separately to avoid detection: Persons on June 16, 1580, and Campion on June 25, 1580, and after an initial period together in London, headed in separate directions in August 1580 to continue their missionary work—Persons to Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Derbyshire; and Campion to Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Northamptonshire.3 The English mission was the Society’s first independent, permanent mission, and initially appeared to have been a disaster. Campion was tried for treason and eventually executed on December 1, 1581, Persons exiled himself to France in the same year, never to return to England again, and the legal position of “recusants” had intensified greatly: the “Act to Retain the Queen Majesty’s Subjects in their Due Obedience” (23 Eliz Cap 1) of 1581 now effectively defined any religious activity not approved by the state as disloyal at best, and at worst, as high treason.4

Despite these setbacks, the Jesuit mission recovered itself and went from strength to strength, and numbers of missionaries working in England increased exponentially in the 1590s. The arrival in England of William Weston (c.1550–1615) in 1584, who took the mission’s finances in hand by securing large lay donations in 1585, was followed by the arrival of Henry Garnet (1555–1606) and Robert Southwell (c.1561–95) in 1586: Garnet assumed financial responsibilities after Weston’s arrest in 1586, and would remain in control of both the mission and its finances until his own execution in 1606.5 Having weathered a number of crises, as well as increasingly harsh legal and penal restrictions, numbers of Jesuits working in England increased from just four in 1584, all of whom were imprisoned, to approximately 104 by 1621, distributed throughout England and Wales in a loosely organized manner.6

Centres were also established abroad away from English legislative clutches, to allow for the education and continued growth of the English Catholic community, as well as to allow the secure administration of the flourishing English mission. The Society had assumed control of the English College in Rome in 1579, and was also responsible for the administration of the English College at Valladolid from 1589, confirmed by papal bull in 1592, and similarly the English College at Seville, which the Society managed from 1592, confirmed in 1594.7 Many of these settlements had been single-handedly negotiated by Robert Persons, who skilfully negotiated the difficult diplomatic circumstances surrounding the administration of English colleges in other Jesuit provinces.8 The influence of William Allen (1532–94), later cardinal, who had been appointed prefect of the English mission in 1591, was also a key element in stabilizing the precarious position of the Jesuit English mission, building upon the important precedents set by the foundation of his college at Douai in 1568.9 The English College at St Omer was the first to be owned by the English Jesuits themselves, and its foundation in 1593 provided English Catholic families with somewhere to send their sons to receive a Catholic education.10 It had also been created by Robert Persons as a response to rumours that the English government were going to remove children from recusant households to be brought up by Protestants.11 By 1619, the English mission had grown to such strength that it was felt it would be appropriate to confirm its existence and make it a vice-province of the Society of Jesus, and by January 1623, the vice-province had been raised into a full province.12

Territorial districts were created to enable the management of this new province, each dedicated to a particular saint rather than a geographical area, and each district was classified as either a “college” or a “residence,” a unique Jesuit response to the difficult conditions created by the body of anti-Catholic legislation passed by the English government from the 1580s onwards. Although eventually intended for development into Jesuit collegia in the educational sense, when political conditions allowed, the terms instead denoted each district’s financial stability: districts with secure annual incomes were termed colleges, governed by a rector, whilst those with less secure incomes were termed residences, governed by a superior.13


Historiography and Missionary Successes

Although the Society of Jesus as a whole was geared towards an innate understanding of the need for and creation of its own historiography, embodied by the work of Jerónimo Nadal (1507–80) and Juan Alfonso de Polanco (1517–76) from its earliest days, the manifestation of this in each individual province or vice-province very much depended on the focus of the missionary activities being undertaken within that area.14 The unique religious conditions in England meant that the impulse to commission and record their endeavors for posterity therefore became inextricably linked with the precarious political standing of the Catholic community: historiography and polemic became indistinguishable from each other in the eyes of the government, regardless of the author’s original intent.15 This pattern was visible internationally as well—Acquaviva’s dictate of 1598, that the provincials ensure the history of their individual provinces was being recorded, had come hard on the heels of the publication of Étienne Pasquier’s Le catéchisme des jésuites (1592), an influential piece of anti-Jesuit propaganda, that meant Jesuit historiographical output was inextricably linked with polemic sentiment from its earliest manifestations.16

Under these conditions, use of the written word also became an important tool in establishing Jesuit “credentials” and the inherently spiritual focus of their mission, particularly in England, where a small number of Jesuits ministered to a geographically dispersed community.17 The problem of dispersal of these texts was a further complication that English missioner Jesuits had to contend with: Catholic literature, and its potential influence on the Catholic community was deemed extremely dangerous by the English authorities. “An Act to Prevent and avoid Dangers which may grow by Popish Recusants” (3 Jac 1 Cap 1), passed in 1606, and laid out specific restrictions on the buying or selling of Catholic books: those caught importing, printing, buying or selling popish books written in English, or any works thought “unmeet for such recusant” were to be seized and the perpetrator fined forty shillings per book.18

Jesuit recorders of history and historiography in England therefore had to tread very carefully, and utilize tools such as secret printing presses, trusted booksellers and a network of clandestine Catholic men and women willing to risk imprisonment and worse in order to ensure the distribution of appropriate reading material.19 Written under these conditions, and to address this specifically English situation, the decision of Persons and Campion to commit to paper their mission’s raison d’être in 1580 was also directly compatible with their vocations as members of the Society of Jesus, despite earlier concerns within the Society that publication was incompatible with vocation.20 Person’s Confessio fidei (1580) and Campion’s Decem rationes (1581) were, for the Jesuits themselves, a response to Nadal and Polanco’s earlier emphasis on the importance of writing things down for the benefit of future generations, but, seen through the eyes of the English authorities, were nothing more than a call to arms for English Catholics.


Henry More, Historia Missionis Anglicanae Societatis Iesu (1660)

Similarly, the interaction of English missioner Jesuits with the burgeoning new print industry had a reciprocal effect on the historiography of the Society: as the Society continued to expand its missionary network globally, greater numbers of Jesuits had a need for, and required access to their own historiography. This is visible in the first historiographical account of the English mission, printed at St Omer in 1660, by the Jesuit Henry More (c.1586–1661). The idea of a provincial history for the fledgling English province had first been requested by sixth superior general, Muzio Vitelleschi (1563–1645), in 1636, whilst More was serving as English provincial. Vitelleschi wrote to More on January 26, 1636, suggesting:

Someone should be appointed to get together the material which could be useful for the history of the English mission in his own times. It will help much to this end if the older fathers are urged to write down carefully and accurately all the things they know or which they received from others worthy of credit.21

Vitelleschi was obviously keen that this important step be taken for the English province, to bring it up to the same level of historiographical awareness as those older provinces who had responded to Acquaviva’s call in the 1590s, writing again to More on January 24, 1637, to remind him of the order “given some time ago for a man to be deputed to prepare a history of the English mission.”22 This second letter reveals just how important a history of the province was to its successes: although Vitelleschi acknowledges that the right person would have to be chosen for the task, he reminds More that, whoever that person may be, “he cannot tackle such a task before he is supplied with matter and substance.” Vitelleschi requests that More “call to mind what was done […] and put it together as a sort of narrative” adding that, should suggested contributors need any encouragement “there will be [no] need of greater stimulation than the worthiness of the project and as may reasonably be supposed its utmost usefulness to everyone.”23

Much delayed by a busy and influential career, it was not until 1654 that More was able to focus entirely on producing the requested history of the English province from 1580 until 1635.24 Although it is not clear when More was personally commissioned to write the history, he was much encouraged by both the new provincial, Richard Barton vere Bradshaigh (1601–60; in office, 1656–60), and the new superior general, Goswin Nickel (1582–1664; in office 1652–64), the latter of whom told Barton on May 20, 1656, that he would be very pleased to see More’s history when it was completed.25 Work on the project presumably accelerated once More was sent to Belgium, where the provincial archives for England had been housed for safe keeping since 1650, but despite enthusiasm and support for the project from Nickel, More was not allowed to focus entirely on the history, and was, somewhat reluctantly, appointed rector of the English Jesuit college at St Omer in 1657, a position he held until September 1660.26 The use of the archive, and archival material, is evident throughout More’s history, and his fastidious record of his sources, particularly the large number of manuscript sources, has meant the preservation of a great deal of archival material now lost to posterity.27
 More’s work covers the history of the Jesuits in England from approximately 1580 until 1635, and draws on a vast amount of administrative records and correspondence, as well as a large number of printed works.28 The work is overtly polemic in tone, towards the English government, and towards other Catholics, highlighting the deep rifts within the English Catholic community itself, particularly around the so-called Appellant Crisis, which had taken place nearly sixty years earlier. More’s treatment of the “crisis” highlights some of his motives behind the compilation of his Historia in the first place, as well as casting valuable light on conditions for missioner Jesuits working in England in the early days of the mission, noting:

Much has been written and spoken touching not only our Society but also the authority of the Holy See and its whole mode of governing. I therefore thought to set down a few of the many points which could be made to wipe out the injury which appears to have been offered […] also to cast some light on those aspects of the Society’s proceedings which have not been properly understood.29

 More makes no bones about the fact that the secular clergy are the enemy of the English missioner Jesuits, and of the successes of Catholicism in the British Isles more generally, describing them as “spies […] wearing an air of piety and devotion, [who] slithered in among the faithful and into the very seminaries, mixing truth and falsehood.”30
Although More’s history had been long awaited, when it was eventually published in 1660, some of the enthusiasm surrounding the work seemed to have dissipated, and its publication was not mentioned in any of the general’s correspondence. The work was also published in Latin, a fact which somewhat restricted its appeal and limited its dissemination.31 An Italian history of the English province was also printed at around the same time, as part of Daniello Bartoli’s (1608–85) magnum opus on the global history of the Society of Jesus during their first centenary, 1540–1640.32


The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Missioners, Martyrdom, and Heroism

From the late eighteenth century, through the period of the international suppression and subsequent restoration of the Society, and the Catholic Emancipation Act, accounts of the English mission frequently presented a somewhat passive role, underpinned by the stoic heroism of the martyrs. Authors such as Richard Simpson (1820–76), John Morris, S.J. (1826–93), John Hungerford Pollen, S.J. (1858–1925) and Henry Foley, S.J. (1811–91) presented a picture of Jesuit heroism and martyrdom in the face of staunch opposition and a much defeated and beleaguered Catholic community. These accounts also employed a polemical undertone, a particularly relevant strain in the post-emancipation age in which they were written.33 Historiography of the English Jesuits at this point was also heavily influenced by the Oxford Movement: Foley, Simpson, and Morris were all converts to Catholicism, following shifts towards High Anglicanism, and were influenced by the conversions of contemporary high-profile figures such as John Henry Newman (1801–90) and Ambrose Phillipps De Lisle (1809–78) in the 1840s.34

The inherently pastoral, and somewhat hagiographical, tone of the historiographical works produced by these men was also balanced by a need to return to the sources, and a drive to present the irrefutable evidence of the many struggles faced by the Jesuit missioners during the early modern period. When studied as a whole, a clear theme emerges from this period. English Jesuit historians, and historians of the Jesuits in England, universally present their predecessors as undertaking heroic battles under terrifying conditions, in order to bring the true faith to a dwindling minority. A narrative of the essential role of the English Jesuits in propping up the beleaguered Catholic minority is underpinned by a sense of needing to prove themselves, firstly as an order, and secondly, as a crucial part of the rapidly changing landscape of British Catholicism in their own times, particularly during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This can be attributed to different pressures, such as the financial difficulties that beset the English province as a result of losses sustained after the Popish Plot, which were still having an impact on the province in the 1720s—a sudden decline in income in 1743; and the disastrous investments made by Antoine La Valette in the 1750s, all of which left the English Jesuits in a very precarious position by the time of the suppression in 1773.35

The endeavors of these English Jesuit historiographers in the eighteenth century were boosted by an increased focus on the history of the English Catholic community more generally, and a movement towards presenting the Catholic perspective of post-Reformation religious history in a more favorable manner. Historians such as Richard Challoner (1691–1781) and Charles Dodd (1672–1743) produced multi-volume works that revealed the “true” history of Catholicism and the church in the British Isles for the first time since the Reformation, such as Dodd’s Church History of England from 1500 to 1688, 3 vols. (1737–42) and Challoner’s Memoirs of Missionary Priests, 2 vols. (1741–2). Challoner’s work in particular renewed Catholic martyrology, and his prolific and continuous output from 1740 until his death in 1781 provided “almost the entire range of necessary or useful religious literature for his Catholic fellow-countrymen.”36

Although the Society of Jesus was restored in England in 1803 and internationally by 1814, it was still viewed with a certain amount of suspicion and mistrust by contemporaries.37 This was expressed particularly acutely in England, where it was feared their renewed presence would cause tension with the vicars apostolic, potentially reopening the old wounds of conflict between the secular clergy and the religious orders.38 Far from being a small squabble between petty priests, it is clear that the rifts caused by the so-called Appellant Crisis in the early 1600s had caused permanent damage to the English Jesuits, and to the English Catholic community as a whole. The crisis had clearly been a defining moment in English Catholicism, the aftermath of which was still being felt decades later in the 1650s, and just as acutely, some 150 years later, by the newly restored Jesuit English province, in 1803.39 Thus any historiography produced in this period was inherently contributing to the Jesuits position as the “enemy within,” whether intended or not by the authors, and as such had a discernible polemic edge.40

Little wonder then that the historiographical accounts produced by the English Jesuits in this period shied away from overtly engaging with any potential political aspects of their missionary endeavors to date. Richard Simpson’s biography of Edmund Campion was first published in 1867, with an explanation by the author that, despite many other biographies of the saint, he had uncovered “a quantity of unpublished matter that had never been seen by the former biographers” which deserved to be published, as well as aiming to correct the obscure phraseology, ignorance and “one-sidedness of those whose information was depended upon.”41 Simpson was keen to emphasise the pastoral nature of the English mission, giving credence to his claim of truth on the matter by quoting from, amongst other sources, an unpublished manuscript life of Campion, written by Persons in 1594, that “their coming [to England] only was apostolical, to treat matters of religion in truth and simplicity, and to attend to the gaining of souls without any knowledge or intention in the world of matters of State.”42 The inclusion of these types of source material drew attention to just how wrong previous accounts of the “true” nature of the English mission had been, as they simply had not been in possession of all the facts and evidence.

Similarly, John Morris followed in a similar vein in this push to return to the sources and present the “true,” and inherently pastoral, nature of the Jesuit English mission, publishing the first English translation of the diary of the Jesuit John Gerard (1564–1637), under the title Autobiography of a Hunted Priest in 1871. Gerard had been commissioned by his superiors to write an account of his missionary life in England sometime after his return to the continent in 1607, following a dramatic escape from imprisonment in the Tower in 1605. It was hoped that the manuscript would be of benefit to novices and future generations, and the original Latin work was much used within the Society, but was of limited appeal beyond the novitiate.43 Morris’s edition purported to present “large portions of [Gerard’s] Autobiography,” and presented a firmly pastoral view of Gerard, and the role of the missioner Jesuits, noting that “It is not possible [...] for any impartial person to rise from its perusal without a deep conviction that Father Gerard was a gentleman and a Christian, a man of honour and religious principle.”44

Gerard’s diary was part of a corpus of work published by Morris, and other Catholic writers, during this period about the history of the English Catholic community, which together, aimed to correct Protestant historical inaccuracies and misconceptions, and to document the English recusant experience.45 This impetus also included the first campaigns to canonize the English priests and brothers who had been martyred during the Penal Years: Morris’s role in this resulted in 255 martyrs  admitted as venerable, and a further fifty-three beatified, in December 1886.46 The dual focus of presenting the “true” nature of post-Reformation English Catholicism, and furthering the cause of the English martyrs, remained the underlying aim of the historiography of Catholicism in the British Isles in the post-Emancipation period. Although many of these accounts included the work of the missioner Jesuits, it was not their main focus, and thus More’s Historia remained the stand-alone historiographical account of the English Jesuits until the latter end of the nineteenth century.


Henry Foley, Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus (1875–83)

Henry Foley’s monumental Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, published in eight volumes between 1875 and 1883, was the first historiographical account of the Jesuits in England published since More’s Historia had first appeared over two hundred years earlier. It also extended the chronological reach of the historiography of the Jesuits in England by another 160 years or so: previous accounts of the missioners’ activities in the early modern period had gone no further than 1635. Foley’s Records are a monumental achievement, and much like More’s earlier history, present a detailed account of the lives and achievements of the missioner Jesuits in early modern England and Wales. Foley also presents detailed records of much of the primary material he gathered, and in some cases, his painstaking transcriptions are now the only copies of those sources which survive.47 His aims in producing the volumes are clearly delineated from the beginning:

The present Series is not intended to be a formal history, exactly and chronologically arranged, but simply a record of the labours and sufferings of the members of the English Province SJ in the propagation and preservation of the faith of our ancestors, during the most eventful and exciting times of its existence.48

In the tradition of post-1814 Jesuit historiography, Foley’s account is very much focused on the inherently pastoral nature of the work undertaken by the missioner Jesuits, recounting in detail the suffering, imprisonment, and martyrdom suffered by many of them. However Foley’s account also presents a new perspective in two distinct ways. Although focusing on the heroism of the martyrs and the difficult conditions within which they worked, Foley also takes great pains to provide detailed accounts of the practicalities of running such a mission, providing insight into the establishment of links with wealthy Catholic families, tracing donations and benefactors, outlining the work of families who supported the Jesuits, and the network of physical bases and headquarters made available to the missioners in England and Wales. Unlike previous accounts of the Jesuits’ work in England, Foley also draws attention to some of the overseas bases used by the Jesuit province and the important role they played in the successes of the province overall.49
The structure of Foley’s work is also innovative. Although arranged in a broadly chronological nature, Foley also arranged his eight volumes thematically, presenting the reader with a clear picture of the English province as used and understood by the missioner Jesuits themselves. Foley divides the first five volumes between general histories of the English province and each of the fourteen territorial divisions of the province, from approximately 1580 until at least 1716.50 The last three volumes focused on primary sources and the missioners themselves, including transcriptions of the diary of the Venerable English College, Rome, 1579–1773; a “full and exhaustive” Collectanea, an alphabetical list and short biography of each Jesuit associated with the English province; and detailed histories of the formation of the province from 1580 until 1688.51


Towards Modernity: The Twentieth Century and beyond

By the late nineteenth century, there was also a shift within the Society of Jesus as a whole towards ensuring accurate and complete histories of each province had been written and were accessible in a variety of languages. Luis Martín (1846–1906), elected superior general of the Society in October 1892, called for a universal history of the Society to be assembled, “based on the most authentic documents, and in line with recent and most exacting requirements of recent scientific historiography.”52 Martín combined the archival and record keeping practices of the Society with the deeply embedded need to produce historiographical accountability, by launching the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, a published series of scholarly editions and commentaries on valuable primary documents concerning Jesuit origins and history, in line with a recent shift in a broader trend towards the production of vast collections of facsimile primary documents.53 Foley highlights the positive impact of these changes on the general practice of history in the nineteenth century, commenting:

We live happily in days when no portion of the history of our country will be taken any longer for granted […] manuscripts [...] and other collections are making wholesome inroads upon prejudices that had become imbedded [sic] in the national mind, and had largely influenced the educational and popular treatment of history.54

New provincial histories were also called for, reflecting the changes that the Society had undergone in the last century, under the direction of Cardinal Franz Ehrle (1845–1934), who trained Jesuit historians and archivists.55 John Hungerford Pollen was directed to write the history of the English mission and province. Although his history of the English province was never finished, and remains unpublished, the chapters he wrote make it clear it would have been a valuable addition to the historiography of the English Jesuits.56 Pollen’s unpublished history also focuses on the inherently pastoral nature of the mission. However, there is a clearly discernible polemical edge to Pollen’s work. He insists that Mercurian’s detailed instructions to the first missioner Jesuits in August 1580 reveal “what part of a man the ideal Jesuit missionary was to be, so different from the caricatures under which fanaticism and emulation have so often pictured them.”57 Pollen also presents a detailed picture of the context from within which the Jesuit English mission was created, discussing not just the much-analyzed conversations between Allen and Mercurian in the 1570s, but also the state of the English church at the time, as well as a detailed analysis of links between England and the Society of Jesus that dated back to Ignatius Loyola’s visit in 1530.58

Pollen takes care to emphasize that the aim and primary focus of the missioners was always “the preservation and augmentation of faith and religion in Catholics,” referring to those who questioned this as “caricaturists” who “generally begin [their] misrepresentations by describing the Jesuits as intent on nothing else but the destruction of Protestantism.”59 Admitting that a certain amount of disputation was necessary in order to defend the Catholic Church, and sometimes was particularly necessary in order to bring back those who had been seduced by the Protestant church, Pollen notes that this is “a subordinate feature in the Jesuits program [not] his chief occupation in life,” acerbically commenting that “sometimes the ninety-nine just must be left to look after themselves while the missioner seeks after the lost sheep who has erred by ignorance or been driven off by others.”60

Pollen’s other works, particularly his Acts of the English Martyrs (1891) and his English Catholics in the Reign of Elizabeth I (1920), were extremely important in presenting a Catholic perspective of British religious history to the general public, and were internationally renowned.61 Cardinal Ehrle, who remained a continuous correspondent of Pollen’s, wrote to Pollen on March 30, 1902, noting:

I have been very glad to hear that you succeeded in proving to our people that your future history can be published. [Given] the present state of minds[,] your history will be still much more necessary than some years ago and it will be much more important to make the Catholics understand their history as it was, with that largess and sincerity of mind which [it] requires.62

The portrayal of the English Jesuit mission as being inherently pastoral continued well into the twentieth century. The work of authors such as Bernard Basset, S.J. (1909–88), Philip Caraman, S.J. (1911–98) and Francis Edwards, S.J. (1922–2006) in the latter half of the twentieth century continued in the same vein, demonstrating the same push towards a return to the original sources and evidence of accountability for the “true” nature of Jesuit missionary endeavors in England as had been visible in the work of Pollen, Morris, and Simpson. Although none of these men wrote a history of the English Jesuit province per se, the vast range of material presented on the history of the post-Reformation English Catholic community by these authors has done much to enrich our understanding of the minutiae of daily life for the early modern missioners.63 Basset produced a comprehensive history of the early British Jesuits, focusing on stories of individuals, rather than on the history of the Society in England as a whole.64 Caraman produced biographies of figures of central importance to the Jesuit mission in England, such as William Weston and Henry Garnet, as well as a new edition of John Gerard’s Autobiography, and played a central role in the recognition and eventual beatification of the Forty Martyrs, building on the crucial foundations laid by Morris some seventy years previously.65 Caraman’s scholarly biography of Garnet is the first ever written, and as such is particularly important, expanding on research done by others in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, bringing together hundreds of primary sources for the first time.66 Interestingly, the language used by Caraman in many of his works recalls the hagiographical tones of his Victorian predecessors, and in particular recalls the debates over the so-called Appellant Crisis that had been an undercurrent of English Catholic historiography since the early seventeenth century. His description of Gerard as of the “true recusant view” and the secular clergy’s “fantastic claim to represent the English clergy” suggest just how deeply the crisis had wounded, and continued to be of relevance to, post-Reformation English Catholicism.67

The work of Francis Edwards similarly focused on presenting the “true” nature of the English Jesuit missionary activities, but unlike previous historians, Edwards’s works had a vociferously polemic tone, particularly his three-volume magnum opus.68 The main argument that runs through all three volumes was that so-called Catholic plots, such as the Succession Plot, Bye Plot, and, of course, the Gunpowder Plot, were entirely fabricated by the English government in order to facilitate the capture and prosecution of influential English Catholics. Although Edwards’s tendency to focus on the machinations and Machiavellian behaviors of the Cecil family has become a reason for many to dismiss his work out of hand, that perspective entirely overlooks his valuable contributions to the historiography of the Jesuits in England in the early modern period.69 The volumes produced by Edwards are invaluable in their use of little-known primary sources to paint a richly detailed picture of early modern Catholic life, and often draw attention to events that have received little attention from other historians.


Political or Pastoral?

The issue of whether the true focus of the Jesuit English mission was purely pastoral, or in fact had a political focus, was brought to a head by the work of Michael Carrafiello in the 1990s. His work argued that historians had fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the Jesuit mission, and that the arrival of the first missioner Jesuits in 1580 was in fact the culmination of a politically focused plan of action that Persons had been working on since 1575.70 Carrafiello argued that the ultimate aim of the mission was to bring about the forcible conversion of England. He claims that the historians who had hitherto focused on the pastoral intentions of the Jesuits had, in fact, reversed the mission’s primary and secondary purposes, and had “fallen prey to whiggery and anachronistic sentimentalism, thereby clouding their understanding of the missionary priests’ intense commitment to the 'conversion' of England.”71

Carrafiello was particularly damning of previous historians of the Jesuit English mission, somewhat scathingly describing Pollen and others as “priest-historians,” who had created and perpetuated the idea of a dichotomy that was signalled by the arrival of the missioner priests in 1580: the two different and entirely separate focuses of the “spiritual” activities of the missionaries and the “political” intrigues of the papacy.72 He describes Catholic historians as having been “mesmerized by the dramatic memoirs and confessions of the missionary priests themselves,” warning that ultimately, our own sympathies and inclinations cannot always make sense of post-Reformation England.73

In many ways Carrafiello’s work exacerbated the very problem he proposed to solve, by presenting the response of Persons and his contemporaries as aggressively political and anti-government. His work fails to take into account the vast range of responses utilized by the English Catholic community, of which politicized resistance is only one, but his work did fuel an intense discussion and re-examination of the true nature of the English Jesuit mission and marked an important turning point.74 His interpretation was one of the first historiographical accounts of the English mission to come from a non-Jesuit perspective, and as such, facilitated discussions and engagement between Jesuit historians and lay historians that has produced, and continues to produce, a detailed body of work examining and contextualising the Jesuit English mission.


Recent Trends: The International Mission

Carrafiello’s work is part of a body of material that has been written about the English Catholic community since John Bossy’s seminal work The English Catholic Community 1570–1850 first appeared in 1974, marking the point at which the triumphalist Protestant narrative gave way to the narrative of a strong, thriving, and multi-faceted Catholic community that employed a huge variety of survival strategies and techniques in the post-Reformation British Isles. Carrafiello is one of many lay historians who have made a marked impact on our understanding of the Catholic community in this period: Christopher Haigh, Eamon Duffy, Alexandra Walsham, and Michael Questier in particular have demonstrated that post-Reformation English Catholics were a varied and widespread community who adopted a range of religious practices and political positions. This resurgence in, and re-appreciation of, post-reformation Catholicism in the British Isles has also had a reciprocal effect on the historiography of the Jesuit English province, particularly through the ground-breaking work of Thomas McCoog in his multi-volume examinations of the English mission and English province, currently covering 1541–97.75


Thomas M. McCoog, The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland and England, 1541–97 (1996; 2013)

Taking into account the existing historiography of the Jesuit mission in England, and the contrasts between the hagiographical, inherently pastoral accounts produced by the likes of Foley and Pollen, and the vehemently political mission as portrayed by Carrafiello, McCoog’s much-needed updated history of the Jesuits in England had a difficult path to tread between historical accountability, and loyalty to the order of which he was also a member. McCoog presents something of a “middle way” between the pastoral and the political, suggesting in the first volume of his history that

Contrary to the assertions of some historians […] we cannot dismiss Parsons’s [sic] sincerity because of his subsequent actions. Nor can we claim with Michael Carrafiello that Robert Parsons arrived in England with a clearly delineated political programme. Parsons only became interested in more political means for the restoration of Catholicism after the failure of the original mission […]. Because of his concern for the spiritual well-being and salvation of his compatriots, Parsons could have argued that his involvement in such enterprises was a spiritual pursuit harmonious with the Society’s Institute.76

Despite the much-criticized work of his predecessor “priest-historians,” McCoog’s membership in the Society of Jesus is not detrimental to his analysis of the work of the Jesuits in England. His two volumes provide a frank and thorough study of the English mission, and present the reader with a balanced and nuanced account of the actions and motives of the missioner Jesuits, implementing a vast range of primary sources from an astonishing number of archival repositories. McCoog is careful to show the reader where his work sits in the broader corpus of material written about the Jesuits in England, and, using O’Malley’s exploration of Jesuit historiography as a springboard, examines the Jesuit “way of proceeding” in the unique context of the England and English Catholicism.77 His work has also expanded consideration beyond England to include a vital understanding of the situation in Scotland and Ireland, an important context in order to understand fully the Jesuit mission to England and Wales.


Where Next? Decentralizing the Counter-Reformation

Building on the important work done by McCoog, recent work has begun to focus on shifting scholarly focus away from the “Englishness” and peripheral nature of English Catholicism, and to restore it to its rightful place as part of the rich and vibrant tapestry of early modern Catholicism as an international religion, as its practitioners would have understood it. Recent work has provided in-depth analysis and understanding of the many facets of what constituted “the English mission,” with studies of important individuals and families who supported and aided the mission; explorations of links between English Jesuits and territories such as the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth; the importance of libraries and links with the continental book trade; scholarly biographies of key players, such as Campion and Persons; and the first detailed exploration of what the internationally renowned system of Jesuit education truly meant in the context of England and English Catholicism.78

These new explorations of the English province of the Society of Jesus speak to an important movement within the study of post-Reformation Catholicism more widely, to “de-centralize” the Counter-Reformation, to move away from our understanding of Catholicism as a “Rome-centric” religion in this period, and instead look to what have previously been considered its “peripheries,” with the aim of revealing the truly global nature of early modern Catholicism. Important pieces by Alexandra Walsham, Simon Ditchfield, and Luke Clossey, among others, have begun to move towards seeing Jesuit missions as closely related, and not “artificially divided into ‘Counter Reformation’ or ‘Catholic Reform.’”79 Although there is much more work still to be done, perhaps the best way of truly understanding the historiography of the English province is to follow Simon Ditchfield’s suggestion and change our way of thinking, so that, much like our revisionist understanding of the intricacies of the English Catholic community, our understanding of the Jesuits in England “might be more helpfully understood as a dynamic cluster of identities that were continually in the process of renegotiation and recreation at the hands both of outsiders and of the fathers themselves.”80
 For the Society of Jesus, their base in Rome has always been, and continues to be, the de facto headquarters, providing a central and unifying authority to their numerous successful international missionary endeavors, provinces, and assistancies. However, a greater appreciation of the identities and cultures that influence each individual mission can only serve to enrich and deepen our understanding of post-Reformation Catholicism. In England, a study of the historiography of the English Jesuits reveals the reciprocal relationship between the English Catholic community and the missioner Jesuits working in the English province throughout the last four centuries, and the truly global nature of English Catholicism.


For more bibliographical information, consult Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Sommervogel Online (NSO).


^ Back to text1. Throughout this chapter, “England” is used in the broadest sense, and should be read as incorporating all nations of the British Isles where applicable, but particularly both England and Wales.

^ Back to text2. Thomas M. McCoog, S.J., The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland and England, 1589–1597: Building the Faith of St. Peter upon the King of Spain’s Monarchy (Ashgate/Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu: Farnham/Rome, 2012), 5–7, hereafter Society of Jesus 1589–97. See also McCoog, English and Welsh Jesuits 1550–1650 (Southampton: Catholic Record Society, 1994), 133 (Campion) and 262 (Persons); hereafter English and Welsh Jesuits, and McCoog, "Jesuit Missionaries to England (act. 1579–1606)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [ODNB], http://www.oxforddnb.com (accessed April 19, 2016).

^ Back to text3. Gerard Kilroy, Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 171, 176–78, and 191–92; hereafter Scholarly Life); see also Robert E. Scully, S.J., Into the Lion’s Den: The Jesuit Mission in Elizabethan England and Wales, 1580–1603 (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2011), 79–81. Michael Hodgetts has reconstructed the travels of both men in this time, see “Campion in the Thames Valley, 1580,” Recusant History 30 (2010): 26–46; and Hodgetts, “Robert Persons in the Welsh Marches, 1580,” British Catholic History [forthcoming in October 2017].

^ Back to text4. 23 Eliz Cap 1: “An Act for retaining the Queen’s Subjects in their due obedience,” as cited in The Laws Against Papists and Popish Recusants: Nonconformists and Nonjurors (London: Printed for W. Bickerton, 1744), 10–15, hereafter Laws Against Papists. The term “recusant” is from the Latin recusare, meaning “to refuse,” and although it can be applied to any non-conformist religious group of the period, it is predominantly used as a description of the Catholic community. See also Michael A. R. Graves, “Campion, Edmund [St Edmund Campion] (1540–81),” ODNB (accessed March 25, 2016).

^ Back to text5. Thomas M. McCoog, S.J., “The Slightest Suspicion of Avarice: The Finances of the English Jesuit Mission,” Recusant History 19 (1988): 105–7. See also McCoog, The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland and England 1541–1588: “Our Way of Proceeding?” (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 276–80, hereafter Our Way of Proceeding?.

^ Back to text6. John Bossy, The English Catholic Community 1570–1850 (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1975), 204–17 and 419. See also McCoog, Society of Jesus 1589–97, 6–9.

^ Back to text7. See Michael E Williams, The Venerable English College, Rome (Leominster: Gracewing, 2008); Williams, St Alban’s College, Valladolid: Four Centuries of English Catholic Presence in Spain (London: Hurst & Co, 1986) and Martin Murphy, St Gregory’s College, Seville, 1592–1767 (Southampton: Catholic Record Society, 1992).

^ Back to text8. McCoog, Society of Jesus 1589–97, 5, 108–10, 115, and 138: see also Victor Houliston, “Persons [Parsons], Robert (1546–1610),” ODNB (accessed November 20, 2015); Houliston, Catholic Resistance in Elizabethan England: Robert Persons’ Jesuit Polemic, 1580–1610  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2007), particularly 1–22; and McCoog, “‘Replant the uprooted trunk of the tree of faith’: The Society of Jesus and the Continental Colleges for Religious Exiles,” in Robert Armstrong and Tadhg O’Hannrachain, eds., Insular Christianity: Alternative Models of the Church in Britain and Ireland, 1570–1700 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 28–48.

^ Back to text9. McCoog, Society of Jesus 1589–97, 112, 131–33: see also Eamon Duffy, “Allen, William (1532–94),” ODNB (accessed February 3, 2016).

^ Back to text10. See Hubert Chadwick, St. Omers to Stonyhurst: A History of Two Centuries (London: Burns & Oates, 1962).

^ Back to text11. McCoog, Society of Jesus 1589–97, 130–34.

^ Back to text12. Thomas M. McCoog, “The Establishment of the English Province of the Society of Jesus,” Recusant History 17 (1984): 121–39.

^ Back to text13. Maurice Whitehead, English Jesuit Education: Expulsion, Suppression, Survival and Restoration, 1762–1803 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 25–29, hereafter English Jesuit Education. See also William V. Bangert, S.J., A History of the Society of Jesus (St Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1986), 230–31, hereafter History of the Society; and Thomas M. McCoog, “The Finances of the English Province of the Society of Jesus in the Seventeenth Century: An Introduction,” Recusant History 18 (1986): 14–33.

^ Back to text14. John W. O’Malley, S.J., “The Historiography of the Society of Jesus: Where Does It Stand Today?,” in John W. O’Malley, S.J., Gauvin A. Bailey, Steven J. Harris and T. Frank Kennedy, S.J., eds. The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences and the Arts, 1540–1773 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 3–6, hereafter “Jesuit Historiography.” The work of Nadal and Polanco in solidifying the early Society, and giving it structure and shape, is of fundamental importance to understanding the formation of the Society of Jesus as a whole, and is of particular relevance in understanding the need within the Society to record and analyze current events for posterity.

^ Back to text15. See for example the well-known case of Campion’s so-called “Brag,” an explanatory declaration meant to give the “sincerity and integrity of truth” of the spiritual nature of the Jesuit mission to England in the event of the capture or death of either Campion or Persons. Released prematurely, the “Brag” achieved instant popularity amongst the English Catholic population, and, as far as the government were concerned, represented a direct threat to political stability. See Kilroy, Scholarly Life, 172–210; and Peter Lake and Michael Questier, “Puritans, Papists and the ‘Public Sphere’ in Early Modern England: The Edmund Campion Affair in Context,” The Journal of Modern History 72 (2000): 587–627.

^ Back to text16. O’Malley, “Jesuit Historiography,” 7; see also McCoog, Our Way of Proceeding?, 3.

^ Back to text17. See Nancy Pollard Brown, “Robert Southwell: The Mission of the Written Word,” in Thomas M. McCoog, S.J. ed., The Reckoned Expense: Edmund Campion and the Early English Jesuits; Essays in Celebration of the First Centenary of Campion Hall, Oxford (1896–1996) (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 2007), 251–75.

^ Back to text18. 3 Jac 1 Cap 5: “An Act to Prevent and avoid Dangers which may grow by Popish Recusants” (1606), as cited in Laws Against Papists, 40–51, at 43.

^ Back to text19. For example, information gathered by the spies of Francis Walsingham in the 1580s presents clear evidence of a gentry network spanning the country that facilitated the spread of Catholic literature amongst the wider lay community. See British Library [BL] Lansdowne MS 33/62 “Howe and to whome the Popish bookes weare bestowed” [sic], December 2, 1581 and Earle Havens and Elizabeth Patton, "Underground networks, prisons and the circulation of Counter Reformation books in Elizabethan England," in James Kelly and Susan Royal, eds., Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 165–188.

^ Back to text20. John W. O’Malley, S.J., The First Jesuits (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994), 114 and 400161, hereafter First Jesuits. In the first decade of the Society, publication was seen to potentially create “an obstacle to more excellent works of charity and at times a distraction from them.” However, by 1554 Loyola was encouraging the Jesuits to print pamphlets that would refute Protestant argument, and books and pamphlets that would aid their ministry, such as catechisms, manuals for confessors, and compendiums of theology.

^ Back to text21. Francis Edwards, S.J., “Henry More, SJ: Administrator and Historian, 1586–1661,” Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu [AHSI] 41 (1972): 233–81, at 256, hereafter “Henry More SJ.”

^ Back to text22. Ibid., 256. By the time of Aquaviva’s death in 1615, there were thirty-two Jesuit provinces, in places such as Brazil, India, Ethiopia, France, and Portugal. See O’Malley, First Jesuits, 52–54 and Bangert, History of the Society, 98.

^ Back to text23. Edwards, “Henry More SJ," 257.

^ Back to text24. See Thomas M. McCoog, “More , Henry (c.1587–1661),” ODNB (accessed February 15, 2016) and McCoog, English and Welsh Jesuits, 244.

^ Back to text25. Edwards, “Henry More SJ,” 278. See also McCoog, English and Welsh Jesuits, 113; and Bangert, History of the Society, 177–78.

^ Back to text26. McCoog, “More, Henry (c.1587–1661),” ODNB; Edwards, “Henry More SJ,” 278.

^ Back to text27. Francis Edwards, S.J., ed. and trans., The Elizabethan Jesuits: Historia Missionis Anglicanae Societatis Iesu (1660) of Henry More (London: Phillimore & co Ltd, 1981), x, hereafter Elizabethan Jesuits. All subsequent quotes from the Historia are from this edition.

^ Back to text28. See bibliography of works cited by More in Edwards, Elizabethan Jesuits, 357–62.

^ Back to text29. Ibid., 191.

^ Back to text30. Ibid., 178.

^ Back to text31. Edwards, “Henry More SJ,” 280. An English edition of the Historia was not available until Edwards’s translation of books 1–6 appeared as The Elizabethan Jesuits in 1981.

^ Back to text32. Daniello Bartoli, Istoria della Compagnia di Gesu, 6 vols. (Rome, 1650–73). The history of the English province is divided into six books, which make up the first volume of the history of L’Europa (Bologna: 1676), 1: 656. A major research project is currently (2014–17) underway at the University of York, led by Professor Simon Ditchfield, to examine the historical and hagiographical writings of Bartoli.

^ Back to text33. Jesuits were excluded from Catholic Emancipation—see Thomas M. McCoog, S.J., “‘Est et non est’: Jesuit Corporate Survival in England after the Suppression,” in Robert A. Maryks and Jonathan Wright, eds., Jesuit Survival and Restoration: A Global History 1773–1900 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 162–77.

^ Back to text34. See Damian McElrath, “Richard Simpson and John Henry Newman: The Rambler, Laymen, and Theology,” The Catholic Historical Review 52 (1967): 509–33, at 511; Rosemary Mitchell, “Morris, John (1826–93),” ODNB; Peter Chandlery, “Henry Foley (1811–91),” in The Catholic Encyclopaedia 16 (1914), online edition; Ian Ker, “Newman, John Henry (1801–90),” ODNB and Margaret Pawley, “Lisle, Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps de (1809–78),” ODNB (all accessed March 9, 2016).

^ Back to text35. Geoffrey Holt, S.J., The English Jesuits in the Age of Reason (Tunbridge Wells: Burns & Oates, 1993), 143–159. For more information on the financial setup of the province, see Thomas M. McCoog, S.J., “‘The Slightest Suspicion of Avarice’: The Finances of the English Jesuit Mission,” Recusant History 19 (1988): 103–23.

^ Back to text36. See Thompson Cooper, “Dodd, Charles (1672–1743),” rev. Alexander Du Toit, ODNB and Sheridan Gilley, “Challoner, Richard (1691–1781),” ODNB (both accessed May 3, 2016). Quote from Cardinal Wiseman, as cited by Gilley. Although Dodd’s History was somewhat critical of the work of the Jesuits in England, he is said to have made a deathbed profession that he wished to die in charity with all mankind, particularly with the Society of Jesus.

^ Back to text37. For more on this and its global impact on the newly restored Society, see O’Malley, “Jesuit Historiography,” 11–14.

^ Back to text38. Richard J. Schieffen, Cardinal Wiseman and the Transformation of English Catholicism (Shepherdstown: The Patmos Press, 1984), 27–8 and 46–52. See also Geoffrey Holt, S.J., “The English Province: The Ex-Jesuits and the Restoration, 1773–1814,” in Thomas M. McCoog, S.J., ed., Promising Hope: Essays on the Suppression and Restoration of the English Province of the Society of Jesus (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 2003), 219–58.

^ Back to text39. See Edwards, Elizabethan Jesuits, and James E. Kelly, “Learning to Survive: The Petre Family and the Formation of Catholic Communities from Elizabeth I to the Eve of the English Civil War” (unpublished PhD diss., Kings College, London, 2008), 177–81.

^ Back to text40. For more on the persistence of the dispute see John Broadley, “Phillip Hughes (1895–1967): A Great Priest, a Great Historian, a Great Personality,” in John Broadley and Peter Phillips, eds., The Ministry of the Printed Word: Scholar-Priests of the Twentieth Century (Stratton-on-the-Fosse: Downside Abbey Press, 2016), 217–65.

^ Back to text41. Richard Simpson, Edmund Campion: A Definitive Biography (Charlotte: TAN Books, 2013), original preface from 1867 edition as printed 741–42. All subsequent quotes are from this edition. See also Josef L. Altholz, “Simpson, Richard (1820–76),” ODNB (accessed March 9, 2016). Simpson’s biography has only recently been superseded as the standard reference work on Campion’s life, with the publication of Kilroy’s Scholarly Life in 2015.

^ Back to text42. Simpson, Edmund Campion,   205–6. The manuscript life, which was left unfinished by Persons, was entitled “Of the Life and Martyrdom of Father Edmond Campian [sic]” (1594) and was not published for another decade after Simpson’s book, appearing in parts in Letters and Notices 11 (1877) and 12 (1878). Persons’s manuscript is at the Archives of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, London [ABSI], Collectanea P. I.

^ Back to text43. As noted by Philip Caraman, S.J., trans., Autobiography of a Hunted Priest (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012), xiii, hereafter Gerard’s Autobiography.

^ Back to text44. John Morris, S.J., The Conditions of Catholics under James I & Fr Gerard’s Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1872), ccix. This was the second edition of Gerard’s diary published by Morris.

^ Back to text45. Mitchell, “Morris, John (1826–93),” ODNB. Morris also produced a three-volume history called Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers (London: Burns & Oates, 1872–77).

^ Back to text46. Mitchell, “Morris, John (1826–93),” ODNB. See also J. H. Pollen, The Life and Letters of Father John Morris, of the Society of Jesus, 1826–93 (London: Burns & Oates, 1896).

^ Back to text47. Although largely accurate, Foley’s transcriptions include some errors, and he occasionally makes editorial decisions that are not apparent to the reader, such as glossing over or censuring unedifying data.

^ Back to text48. Henry Foley, S.J., Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus: Historic Facts Illustrative of the Labours and Sufferings of Its Members in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 7 vols. in 8 (London: Burns & Oates, 1877–88), ix–x, hereafter Records. All subsequent quotes are from this edition.

^ Back to text49. See for example Records, vol. 6, which presents a detailed transcription of the diary of the Venerable English College, Rome, 1579–1773, and the Pilgrim Book of the English Hospice, Rome, 1580–1656. Similarly, vol. 7:ii includes transcriptions and analysis of the annual letters from the Venerable English College, Rome (975–78); the English Jesuit Colleges at St Omer (1147–76), Liège (1177–95), Ghent (1195–219), and Watten (1219–30), as well as a full history of the English Jesuit College in Leuven (999–1002).

^ Back to text50. See “Map of the Territorial Colleges and Residences of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, 1670,” in Whitehead, English Jesuit Education, 27. Foley notes in his introduction that by 1716 both “violent and bloody persecution” and “records of public interest” in the English Jesuits seem to have ceased, but in reality he was able to extend his history of each college or residence to at least 1773, in some cases even as late as the 1790s: see Records, vol. 5.

^ Back to text51. Volume 6; 7:i, and 7:ii.

^ Back to text52. Thomas J. Campbell, The Jesuits 1534–1921 (London: Encyclopedia Press, 1921), 3; see also Bangert, History of the Society, 439–40 and McCoog, Our Way of Proceeding?, 4.

^ Back to text53. Bangert, History of the Society, 438–40; see also O’Malley, “Jesuit Historiography,” 14 and 17–18.

^ Back to text54. Foley, Records, 5:v.

^ Back to text55. I am very grateful to Fr. Thomas M. McCoog, S.J., for drawing this to my attention.

^ Back to text56. McCoog, Our Way of Proceeding?, 15–16. Pollen’s manuscript history, provisionally titled A History of the Jesuits in England, can be found at ABSI 45/5a/1b. It has been divided into chapters, and each chapter is individually paginated.

^ Back to text57. ABSI 45/5a/1b, chapter 4, 45.

^ Back to text58. Ibid., "Introduction: Ignatius in England"; chapter 2: "Reginald Pole, William Allen and the Society of Jesus"; chapter 3: "Allen, the Society of Jesus and the Venerable English College, Rome."

^ Back to text59. Ibid., chapter 4, 45.

^ Back to text60. Ibid., 46.

^ Back to text61. At the time of his death in 1925, Pollen had also written most of a second volume of English Catholics in the Reign of Elizabeth I that has similarly never been published. The surviving manuscript can be found at ABSI 45/5a/1a. See also Thomas M. McCoog, “The Hues of History (1858–1925): John Hungerford Pollen, SJ, English Martyrs and Jesuit Historiography,” in Broadley and Phillips, Ministry of the Printed Word, 119–43.

^ Back to text62. ABSI RC/1 Pollen Correspondence 1901/2 (uncatalogued): Letter March 30, 1902, Ehrle to Pollen.

^ Back to text63. For more on the context of their work, see Thomas M. McCoog, “Remembering Henry Garnet, SJ,” AHSI 75 (2006): 159–88.

^ Back to text64. McCoog, Our Way of Proceeding?, 5; see also “Bernard Basset SJ” as cited on http://www.jesuit.org.uk/profile/bernard-basset-sj (accessed May 4, 2016).

^ Back to text65. Philip Caraman, S.J., John Gerard: An Autobiography of an Elizabethan (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1951); Caraman, William Weston: The Autobiography of an Elizabethan (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1955) and Caraman, Henry Garnet 1555–1606 and the Gunpowder Plot (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1964). See also ABSI 48/9/1–6 Caraman Correspondence 1952 +; 99/12/5/11 and 100/959/3 Caraman interview about 40 Martyrs, 1970.

^ Back to text66. Caraman, Henry Garnet, xiii. The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales were canonized by Pope Paul VI (r.1963–78) on October 25, 1970, an act itself loaded with subversive polemic sentiment. See Clement Tigar, S.J., Forty Martyrs of England and Wales (London: Office of the Vice Postulation, 1970).

^ Back to text67. Caraman, Gerard’s Autobiography, xiv.

^ Back to text68. Francis Edwards, S.J., Plots & Plotters in the Reign of Elizabeth I (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002) and Edwards, The Succession, Bye and Main Plots 1601–3 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006). The third volume was largely complete at the time of his death in 2006, and was provisionally entitled The Enigma of the Gunpowder Plot 1605. A digital manuscript copy can be found at ABSI 100/967/5. Amongst others, Edwards also produced the first biography of Robert Persons (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1995), and, perhaps of most value, the first English translation of Henry More’s Historia Missionis Anglicanae Societatis Iesu (London: Phillimore & Co Ltd, 1981).

^ Back to text69. See for example Michael Finnegan’s review of Plots and Plotters, as published in Irish Historical Studies 34 (2004): 246–47.

^ Back to text70. Michael Carrafiello, Robert Parsons and English Catholicism 1580–1610 ((Selinsgrove/London: Susquehanna University Press/Associated University Press., 1998); see also Carrafiello, “English Catholicism and the Jesuit Mission of 1580–1,” The Historical Journal 37 (1994): 761–74.

^ Back to text71. Ibid., 761.

^ Back to text72. Ibid., 762–64. Carrafiello argues that this dichotomy continued in the groundbreaking work of revisionist historians such as Bossy and Haigh, who all worked from the same basic (false) assumptions of a wholly pastoral mission, and thus created a “scholarly logjam” of sorts.

^ Back to text73. Ibid., 764n17 and 766n26.

^ Back to text74. See for example the debate between McCoog and Carrafiello as they reviewed each other’s monograms and exchanged letters in the Catholic Historical Review, as discussed by Stefania Tutino in “Cattolicesimo elisabettiano: Note sulla storiografia recente,” Storica 6 (2000): 63–84.

^ Back to text75. McCoog, Our Way of Proceeding? (1996) and McCoog, Society of Jesus 1589–97 (2013). The third volume, which will cover the period 1598–1603, will be published by Brill in 2016, and will also cover the acrimony surrounding the Appellant Crisis in the early 1600s.

^ Back to text76. McCoog, Our Way of Proceeding?, 9.

^ Back to text77. Both volumes include a detailed introduction and review of existing historiography: see Our Way of Proceeding?, 1–9, and Society of Jesus 1589–97, 407–18.

^ Back to text78. See for example, Martin Dodwell, Anne Line: Shakespeare’s Tragic Muse (Brighton: The Book Guild Ltd, 2013); Michael Questier, Catholicism and Community in Early Modern England: Politics, Patronage and Religion, c.1550–1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Kelly, Learning to Survive; Francis Young, The Gages of Hengrave and Suffolk Catholicism, 1640–1767 (Suffolk: Catholic Record Society, 2015); Hendrik Dijkgraaf, The Library of a Jesuit Community at Holbeck, Nottinghamshire (1679) (Cambridge: LP Publications, 2003); Hannah Thomas, “‘A great number of popish books’: A Study of the Welsh Jesuit Missionary Library of the College of St Francis Xavier, c.1600–79” (unpublished PhD diss., Swansea University, 2014); Houliston, Persons’ Polemic; Kilroy, Scholarly Life; Teresa Bela, Clarinda Calma and Jolanta Rzegocka, eds., Publishing Subversive Texts in Elizabethan England and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Leiden: Brill, 2016) and Whitehead, English Jesuit Education.

^ Back to text79. Alexandra Walsham, “Wholesome Milk and Strong Meat: Peter Canisius’s Catechisms and the Conversion of Protestant Britain,” British Catholic History 32 (2015): 293–314.; Simon Ditchfield, “De-centering the Catholic Reformation: Papacy and Peoples in the Early Modern World," Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 101 (2010): 186–208; and Luke Clossey, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), quote at 239.

^ Back to text80. Simon Ditchfield, “Of Missions and Models: The Jesuit Enterprise (1540–1773) Reassessed in Recent Literature,” The Catholic Historical Review 93 (2007): 325–43, at 337.

Cite this page
Hannah Thomas, “Historiography of the Jesuits in England in the Early Modern Period”, in: Jesuit Historiography Online. Consulted online on 30 March 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-7723_jho_COM_193581>
First published online: 2016

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