Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Heskyns, Thomas

HESKYNS or HESKIN, THOMAS, D.D. (fl. 1566), Roman catholic divine, was a native of Heskin, in the parish of Eccleston, Lancashire. After studying for twelve years at Oxford, he removed to Cambridge, where he commenced M.A. in 1540, being then a priest and a fellow of Clare Hall. He graduated B.D. at Cambridge in 1548. When it was proposed in 1549 to suppress Clare Hall in order to unite it to Trinity Hall, Heskyns signed a paper stating that as an obedient subject to the king he consented to the dissolution, though it was done contrary to his oath to the college. He was rector of Hildersham, Cambridgeshire, from 1551 to 1556, and was created D.D. in 1557. On 18 Oct. 1558 he was admitted to the chancellorship of the church of Sarum by the mandate of Cardinal Pole (Lansdowne MS. 980, f. 261), and on 16 Nov. the same year he became vicar of Brixworth, Northamptonshire, on his own petition, that benefice being in his gift as chancellor of Sarum. In August 1559 he was deprived of all his preferments for refusing to swear to the queen's supremacy. Thereupon he withdrew to Flanders, entered the Dominican order, and became confessor to some English Dominican nuns at Bergen-op-Zoom, whither they had been permitted to retire from England in the first year of Elizabeth's reign. Some years later Heskyns secretly returned to this country, for in 1565 Dr. Philip Baker [q. v.], provost of King's College, Cambridge, was charged with having entertained him. It was stated that Heskyns had been brought to Baker's table at Cambridge in the dark, and conveyed away again in the like manner (Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, ii. 225). He was much esteemed by the catholics on account of his zeal for their cause. A portrait of him on wood is prefixed to the Antwerp edition of his ‘Parliament of Chryste.’ It is not known when or where he died.

He wrote ‘The Parliament of Chryste, avouching and declaring the enacted and receaved Trueth of the Presence of his Bodie and Bloode in the Blessed Sacrament, and of other Articles concerning the same, impugned in a wicked Sermon by M. Juel,’ Brussels, 1565, fol., Antwerp, 1566, fol. Two replies to this work were published by William Fulke [q. v.] in 1579, one being entitled ‘Heskins' Parliament Repealed.’

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 419; Addit. MSS. 5808 f. 112, 5871 ff. 107, 154; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 765; Lamb's Cambridge Documents, pp. 113, 223; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 525; Strype's Works (general index); Gough's Index to Parker Soc. Publications; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), pp. 1057, 1059, 1148; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), ii. 652; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, v. 262, 263; Bromley's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, p. 35.]

T. C.