Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gage, Francis

GAGE, FRANCIS, D.D. (1621–1682), president of Douay College, born 1 Feb. 1620–1, was son of John Gage of Haling, Surrey, by his second wife, Mrs. Barnes, a widow. He was half-brother of Sir Henry Gage [q. v.], governor of Oxford, of George [q. v.] and Thomas Gage [q. v.], missionary and traveller. He was a student in the English College at Douay from 1630 to 1641, when he went to Paris to pursue his theological studies under William Clifford [q. v.] at Tournay College, which had been granted by Cardinal Richelieu to the Bishop of Chalcedon for the education of the English clergy (Pref. to Clifford, Little Manual, ed. 1705). In 1646 he was ordained priest, and in 1648 appointed tutor to Thomas Arundel, then residing in Paris. He graduated B.D. at the Sorbonne in 1649, and D.D. in 1654. He then came to the English mission, was appointed archdeacon of Essex, and resided with Lady Herbert, whom he afterwards accompanied to France, whence he proceeded to Rome in 1659 as agent to the English chapter (Panzani, Memoirs, pp. 298, 301, 302). He remained in Rome until his recall in 1661, and then returned to the English mission. He was chaplain to Lady Strangford from 1663 to 1667, and afterwards tutor to Philip Draycot of Paynsley, Staffordshire, whom he accompanied on a continental tour. On 23 Jan. 1675–6 he was nominated president of Douay College, in succession to Dr. George Leyburn. The college flourished greatly under his management until 1678, when Oates's plot alarmed the English catholics, and made them very cautious in sending their children to the colleges abroad. But after the storm had subsided the number of students increased, being attracted to Douay by the fame of Gage's abilities. He died on 2 June 1682. Dodd, writing in 1742, says he was ‘a person of extraordinary qualifications, both natural and acquired. His memory was of late years very fresh in the university of Paris, where upon several occasions he had distinguished himself, especially by his flowing eloquence. In regard of his brethren he behaved himself with remarkable discretion in several controversies which required management’ (Church Hist. iii. 296).

He wrote ‘Journal of the Chief Events of his Life, from his Birth in 1621 to 1627,’ autograph manuscript, in the archives of the Old Chapter, Spanish Place, Manchester Square, London (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 463). It is believed he was the ‘F. G.’ who edited ‘The Spiritual Exercises of … Gertrude More, of the … English Congregation of our Ladies of Comfort in Cambray,’ Paris, 1658, 12mo.

[Gage's Hengrave, p. 235; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. pp. 465, 467–8, 472.]

T. C.