Darbyshire, Thomas (DNB00)

DARBYSHIRE, THOMAS (1518–1604), Jesuit, was a nephew, by the sister, to Bonner, bishop of London. He received his education at Broadgates Hall, now Pembroke College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1544, B.C.L. in 1553, and D.C.L. on 20 July 1556 (Boase, Register of the University of Oxford, i. 207; Wood, Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 47 n., 138, 147, 151). His uncle collated him to the prebend of Totenhall in the church of St. Paul on 23 July 1543, to the rectory of Hackney on 26 May 1554, to the rectory of Fulham on 1 Oct. 1558, to the archdeaconry of Essex on 22 Oct. 1558, and to the rectory of St. Magnus, near London Bridge, on 27 Nov. 1558 (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 336, 440; Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 72, 215, 398, 608, 619). He was also chancellor of the diocese of London, in which capacity he was much occupied in examining protestants who were brought before Bishop Bonner about matters of faith (Wood, Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 148). Dodd and Foley err in stating that he was advanced to the deanery of St. Paul's.

On the accession of Queen Elizabeth he was conspicuous for his constancy in defending the ancient form of religion, and consequently he was deprived of all his preferments. He remained in England, however, for some time, hoping that affairs would take a turn favourable to Catholicism. His co-religionists deputed him to attend the council of Trent, in order to procure an opinion upon the point, then in controversy, whether the faithful might frequent the protestant churches in order to avoid the penalties decreed against recusants. He brought back an answer to the effect that attendance at the heretical worship would be a great sin (Foley, Records, iii. 706). It was owing to his zealous representations that the fathers of the council passed their decree 'De non adeundis Haereticorum ecclesiis' (Oliver, Jesuit Collections, p. 80). He afterwards suffered imprisonment in London, and eventually quitted England (Tanner, Soc. Jesu Apostolorum Imitatrix, p. 350). He visited several parts of France and Flanders, and entered the Society of Jesus on 1 May 1563, at St. Andrew's Novitiate, Rome (Dodd, Church Hist. i. 524; More, Hist. Missionis Anglicanae Soc. Jesu, p. 15; Foley, vii. pt. i. p. 193). He was sent first to Monaco and then to Dillingen, whence he was sent by the pope on a mission to Scotland, along with Father Edmund Hay, to the apostolic nuncio, Vincentius Laurens, whom his holiness had consecrated bishop, and appointed his successor in the see of Monte Regale. The object of this mission does not appear, though it was probably connected with some affairs of Mary Queen of Scots (Foley, iii. 710). Subsequently he was ordered to proceed to France, having been appointed master of novices at Billom (Constable, Specimen of Amendments to Dodd’s Church Hist. p. 73; Dodd, Apology for the Church Hist. p. 103). He became a professed father of the Society of Jesus in 1572. For some years he lectured in Latin to the members of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. This was probably at Paris, where he was residing in 1575-6, and again in 1579 and in 1583. He was highly esteemed by Dr. Allen, whom he visited in the English college at Rheims (Douay Diaries, .pp. 123, 128, 162 bis, 237, 351). Wood says 'he had a great skill in the Scriptures and was profound in divinity. He catechized also many years publicly at Paris in the Latin tongue, with great concourse and approbation of the most learned of that city.' Finally he retired to Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, where he died on 6 April 1604.

Some of his letters, intercepted by the English government, found their way into the State Paper Office, and have been printed by Foley.

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