Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hill, Thomas (1564-1644)

Edmund Hill in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

HILL, alias Buckland, THOMAS D.D. (1564–1644), Benedictine monk, born in Somerset in 1564, is said to have been originally a clergyman of the church of England. On becoming a Roman catholic he withdrew to the continent, and entered the English College of Douay, then temporarily removed to Rheims, on 21 Aug. 1590. He left for Rome on 16 Feb. 1592–3, continued his studies in the English College there, and was ordained priest in 1594. He took part with Anthony Champney [q. v.] and others in objecting to the administration of the English College at Rome by the jesuits. On 16 Sept. 1597 he was sent to the English mission (Foley, Records, vi. 192). When he published his ‘Quartron of Reasons’ in 1600, he was, according to Wood, ‘living at Phalempyne, beyond the sea,’ being then a doctor of divinity. Two years later he was again labouring on the mission, and being apprehended, was committed to Newgate. He was again in prison in 1612, when he was condemned to death for being a priest, but he was reprieved and banished in the following year. While in prison he received the Benedictine habit by commission from Dom Leander of St. Martin (John Jones), and after his release he was professed on 8 Oct. 1613 under the religious name of Thomas of St. Gregory. Weldon states that he first detected the error of the Illuminati, who expected the incarnation of the Holy Ghost from a certain young virgin, but does not say how he made his exposure public. In 1633 Hill was appointed titular cathedral prior of Gloucester. On leaving the English mission he retired to St. Gregory's monastery at Douay, where he died on 7 Aug. 1644.

His works are: 1. ‘A Quartron of Reasons of Catholike Religion, with as many briefe reasons of refusall,’ Antwerp, 1600, 8vo. This work elicited replies from George Abbot [q. v.], dean of Winchester, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, and from Francis Dillingham, B.D., of Cambridge [q. v.] 2. ‘A Plaine Path-Way to Heaven. Meditations, or Spirituall Discourses vpon the Ghospells of all the Sondayes in the yeare, for euery day in the weeke one,’ with ‘a little Treatise how to find out the True Fayth … by Thomas Bvckland,’ Douay, 1634, 12mo, pp. 870; second part, 1637, 12mo, pp. 1270. A manuscript of the work dated 1634, perhaps the original, is preserved in the library of St. Mary's College, Oscott.

[Challoner's Missionary Priests, 1743, ii. 88; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 160; Downside Review, September 1884, p. 256; Foley's Records, i. 61, iv. 654; Gillow's Dict. of English Catholics, iii. 305; Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, p. 517; Snow's Benedictine Necrology, p. 48; Weldon's Chronicle, p. 183, Appendix, p. 8; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 562.]

T. C.