Corro, Antonio de (DNB00)
CORRO, ANTONIO de, otherwise Corranus and Bellerive (1527–1591), theologian, was born in 1527 at Seville, his father being Antonio de Corro, doctor of laws. He belonged in early life to an ascetic order (probably the monks of St. Jerome), but renounced the Roman catholic faith when about the age of thirty. This step he ascribes to the influence of certain disclosures made to him by a member of the Spanish inquisition, who also introduced him to the writings of Luther and Bullinger. At this time he seems to have been at Compostella. The next ten years (1558–68) he spent in France and Flanders. Though not formally identifying himself with any protestant communion, he had exercised ministerial functions for five years in the province of Saintonge, when he was excluded by the synod of Loudun. Repairing to Antwerp, he was chosen in 1567 pastor of the Walloon church, but the civil authorities, under Spanish influence, refused to confirm his settlement. In his defence he published a letter, addressed to Philip II of Spain, in which he details the reasons of his change and gives the heads of his religious belief. In December 1567 the Lutherans of Antwerp published their confession of faith. De Corro at once (21 Jan. 1567, i.e. 1568) wrote them a ‘godly admonition,’ recommending a greater moderation in the matter of Eucharistic doctrine, with a view to protestant unanimity, in accordance with the ideas of John Laski [q. v.] On the arrival of the Duke of Alva at Antwerp in 1568 De Corro came to London with a wife, two children, and two servants, took up his abode in a house belonging to the Duchess of Suffolk in Cripplegate ward, and attached himself to the Italian congregation of the Strangers' Church. Soon after, by favour of Sir William Cecil and the Earl of Leicester, he became pastor of the Spanish congregation. As early as 1563 he had written from France, respecting the printing of a Spanish version of the Bible, to Cassiodoro de Reyna (also a native of Seville), the first pastor of the Spanish congregation in London. But when the letter arrived De Reyna was no longer in London, having fled under a grievous charge, and it would seem that the Spanish congregation had ceased to exist, until the arrival of De Corro with other exiles gave occasion for reviving it. On 16 Jan. 1568 (i.e. 1569) he addressed a letter to Archbishop Parker, accompanied by his two publications in French, which he thought would be good reading for two children of the archbishop, who were then learning that language. Doctrinal differences soon arose between De Corro and his co-presbyter, Girolamo Jerlito, pastor of the Italian congregation, the main charge being that in his teaching, and in a work printed at Norwich, De Corro showed a leaning to Pelagianism. In seven letters De Corro laid the case before Beza at Geneva, who did not like ‘the hot, accusing spirit of this Spaniard,’ and left the matter in the hands of Grindal, in whom, as bishop of London, was vested the superintendence of the Strangers' Church. Grindal owned the ‘good learning’ of De Corro, but disapproved ‘his spirit and his dealings.’ At length in 1570 (before 11 April) he suspended him for slander, at the instance of Jean Cousin, pastor of the French congregation, and the Spanish congregation again came to an end. Cecil stood his friend, and got Sandys, Grindal's successor, to appoint him, in May 1571, Latin reader in divinity at the Temple. He held this post for three years, but did not get on well with Richard Alvey [q. v.], the master of the Temple, and was thought to have discoursed ‘not wisely on predestination and suspiciously on Arianism’ (Tanner). William Barlow, afterwards archdeacon of Salisbury [q. v.], praises his eloquence and learning, but deems him wanting in respect for recognised authorities, and too great an admirer of Castellio. On 5 March 1575–6 the Earl of Leicester, chancellor of Oxford University, sent letters to the vice-chancellor and convocation asking that he might proceed D.D. without fee. On 2 April convocation granted the request on condition ‘that he purge himself of heretical opinions before the next act.’ De Corro had already subscribed the Anglican articles before the privy council, but Dr. Rainolds on 7 June wrote to Humphrey, the vice-chancellor, reviving the charges against De Corro and hinting that he was the source of the heresies of Francesco Pucci, an erratic Florentine who had given trouble to the university in the previous year. After ‘severe examination’ he was admitted as a divinity reader in 1579; yet Wood finds no record of his obtaining an Oxford degree. As he styles himself S.T.P. in a publication as early as 1574, he may have had a foreign or a Lambeth degree. At Oxford De Corro lived as a student in Christ Church, and became reader of divinity to the students in Gloucester, St. Mary, and Hart Halls. He was ‘censor theologicus’ at Christ Church, 1581–5, and matriculated as a member of Christ Church in 1586. In 1585 he obtained the prebend of Harleston in St. Paul's, London.
The charge of heresy was reiterated against him at Oxford in 1582, and has clung to his memory. Bonet-Maury places him, on dubious grounds, among those who have rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. His published articles of faith (1574) are quite orthodox on that doctrine. Some of his London congregation may have been anti-trinitarian, but he does not seem to have been personally heterodox, except in the article of predestination and cognate doctrines, as held by Calvinists. He was a man of open mind, and had his temper been less hot and his disposition more conciliatory, his career might have been brighter. De Corro died in London about 30 March 1591, and was buried at St. Andrew's (perhaps St. Andrew Wardrobe). His wife (Mary) and daughter (Susan), who both survived him, were of no good repute, according to Wood. His sons John and James predeceased him.
De Corro's writings show signs of considerable attainment; his later books are compiled mainly from his lectures. He published: 1. ‘Lettre envoyée à la Maiesté du Roi des Espaignes,’ &c., 1567, 8vo. Also in Latin (1567); and in English (1577). 2. Letter (in French) to pastors of Antwerp, 1568; also published in Latin; translated by Geffray Fenton, with title, ‘An Epistle, or godlie Admonition … sent to the Pastours of the Flemish Church in Antwerp (who name themselves of the confession of Auspurge),’ &c., London, 1569, 8vo; 1570, 8vo. 3. ‘Tableau de l'Œuvre de Dieu,’ &c., printed at Norwich, Strype implies that it was in print before 1568, but this does not seem probable. In Latin, ‘Tabula Divinorum Operum,’ &c., London, 1574, 8vo; 1584, 8vo. In English,‘Tables of God's Works;’ also in Flemish. 4. ‘Dialogus Theologicus, quo epistola D. Pauli ad Romanos explanatur,’ &c., London, 1574, 8vo; Frankfort, 1587, 8vo. In English, ‘A Theological Dialogue,’ &c., 1575, 16mo; 1579, 8vo (has at the end his articles of faith). 5. ‘Salomonis Concio … quam Hebræi Cohelet, Græci et Latini Ecclesiasten vocant, in Latinam linguam … versa, et ex ejusdem prælectionibus paraphrasi illustrata,’ &c., London, 1579, 8vo; 1581, 8vo; Frankfort, 1618, 8vo (with analysis by Abraham Scultetus). Abridged by Pitt, ‘Sermons on Ecclesiastes,’ 1585, 8vo. 6. ‘The Spanish Grammer, with certeine rules for teaching both the Spanish and French tongues,’ London, 1590, 8vo (translated from De Corro's Spanish by John Thorie, who added a Spanish dictionary).
[The best account of De Corro is by Christiaan Sepp, in Polemische en Irenische Theologie, Leyden, 1881. Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), 1813, i. 578; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. Univ. Oxford (Gutch), 1796, ii. 179 sq., 195; Tanner's Biblioth. 1748, p. 200; Strype's Grindal, 1821, pp. 185 sq. 217 sq.; Strype's Parker, 1821, ii. 402 sq.; Strype's Annals, 1824, I. pt. i. p. 355, iv. 570; McCrie's Hist. Ref. in Spain, 1829, pp. 223, 348, 369, 372 sq.; Zurich Letters (Parker Soc.), 2nd ser. 1845, letters 101 (by De Corro), 105 (by Barlow); Bonet-Maury's Early Sources of Eng. Unit. Christ. (Hall), 1884, pp. 133, 156 sq. (cf. Christ. Life, 21 May and 4 June 1881).]