Stephenson, Thomas (DNB00)

STEPHENSON, THOMAS (1552–1624), jesuit, was born in 1552 of catholic parents at Windlestone in the parish of St. Andrews, Auckland, Durham. He studied his humanities in England, and went through the higher course at the English College of Douay, then temporarily settled at Rheims, where he arrived on 22 June 1581. He was ordained priest there on 21 Dec. 1581, and was sent to the English mission on 13 April 1583. He was arrested on 13 Feb. 1583–4, committed to the Tower of London, and tried for high treason, but made so bold a defence that his life was spared, and after a year's confinement in the Tower he was sent into banishment, arriving at Rheims with seventy-one fellow-priests on 3 March 1584–1585. On seeking admission to the Society of Jesus he was sent to the novitiate at Brünn in Moravia on 11 Dec. 1585, and he was made a spiritual coadjutor on 3 June 1597. He spent twelve years at Prague and Olmütz as professor of Hebrew and Greek, and then became secretary to Robert Parsons [q. v.] in Rome. He was again sent to the English mission in 1605, being stationed for some time in the Suffolk district. He retired to Liège in 1621, and died at Watten on 23 March 1624.

He has been credited with the authorship of translations into Latin of several of Father Parsons's works, as well as of:

  1. ‘A large Catechism for the Instruction of the Ignorant.’
  2. ‘Historia Sacra ab Orbe Condito usque ad Christi Salvatoris Adventum,’ St. Omer, 1622.
  3. ‘The Life of Thomas Pounde.’

None of his works are in either the British Museum or the Bodleian library.

[De Backer's Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1876), iii. 940; Dodd's Church History, ii. 418; Douay Diaries; Foley's Records, i. 471, vii. 739; More's Hist. Prov. Anglican. Soc. Jesu, p. 19; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 198; Sochero's Hist. Prov. Austriæ Soc. Jesu, viii. 355; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 768; Tanner's Societas Jesu Apostolorum Imitatrix.]

T. C.