Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Geninges, Edmund

GENINGES, EDMUND (1567–1591), catholic divine, was born in 1567 at Lichfield and brought up in the protestant religion. He became a page in the service of Richard Sherwood, a catholic gentleman, who afterwards went to Rheims and took holy orders. Geninges, at his own request, was also admitted into the college at Rheims, and after being ordained priest, while under the canonical age, at Soissons, 18 March 1589–90, by papal dispensation, he returned to England as a missioner. He was apprehended by Topcliffe while celebrating mass in the house of Swithen Wells in Gray's Inn Fields, London, 7 Nov. 1591, with two other priests and four laymen. On 4 Dec. they were brought to trial, Geninges being dressed in a fool's coat which had been found in Wells's house. The next day the jury found the three priests guilty of high treason for returning to the realm contrary to the statute of Elizabeth, and the laymen were convicted of felony for aiding and assisting the priests. They were all executed at Tyburn except Geninges and Wells, who were executed on 10 Dec. (O.S.) 1591 under peculiarly revolting circumstances before the door of the house in which they had been captured in Gray's Inn Fields.

‘The Life and Death of Mr. Edmund Geninges, Priest, Crowned with Martyrdome at London, the 10 Day of Nouember in the year MDXCI,’ appeared at St. Omer in 1614, 4to. There is a perfect copy of this extremely rare work in the Grenville Library, and another in the Huth collection. The title-page, the portrait of Geninges, ‘Ætatis suæ 24, Ao 1591,’ and eleven quaint prints illustrating his life from childhood, are all engraved by Martin Bas. The whole work is in prose except ‘The Author to his Booke’ and ‘The Booke to his Reader,’ three six-line stanzas, each on A 2. On A 3 is a letter signed ‘J. W. P.’ addressed to ‘Maister J. G. P.’ These initials probably represent John Wilson or Watson, the author of the ‘Roman Martyrologie,’ 1608, and John Geninges [q. v.], the brother of Edmund. It is not at all clear from the letter whether Wilson or John Geninges was the author of the biography. Challoner, however, ascribes the authorship to John Geninges. A reprint of the work ‘without any substantial alteration’ appeared at London in 1887, 4to, under the editorship of the Rev. William Forbes-Leith, S.J.

Another work relating to Edmund Geninges was printed under the title of ‘Strange and Miraculous News from St. Omers, being an Account of the wonderful Life and Death of a Popish Saint and Martyr named Mr. Edmund Gennings, Priest, who was executed for treason some years since; with a relation of the miracles … at his death. Wherein may be observed what lying wonders the Papists are made to believe’ [London, 1680?], fol.

[Challoner's Missionary Priests; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 89; Douay Diaries, p. 423; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. ii. 415, 423; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, 5th edit. i. 275; Bibl. Grenvilliana, pt. i. p. 270; Harwood's Lichfield; Cat. of the Huth Library, ii. 589; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 874; Stanton's Menology, p. 590; Stow's Annales (1615), p. 764.]

T. C.