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English Catholic Exiles in Late Sixteenth-Century Paris

English Catholic Exiles in Late Sixteenth-Century Paris

Katy Gibbons
Volume: 79
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    English Catholic Exiles in Late Sixteenth-Century Paris
    Book Description:

    Religious exile was both a familiar and a deeply discomforting phenomenon in Reformation Europe. In the turbulent context of the later sixteenth century, a group of English Catholic exiles in Paris became a source of serious concern to the Protestant government at home and a destabilising presence in their host environment; their residence in Paris coincided with and contributed to a crisis in authority for the French Crown, and the buildup to the Spanish enterprise of England. This book uses a range of evidence from both sides of the Channel to investigate the polemical and practical impact of religious exile. It reconstructs the experience and priorities of the English Catholic laity and clergy in Paris, moving beyond contemporary stereotypes of the exiles, and the traditional historiographical view of English Catholicism as isolated and introverted. It emphasises the importance of placing English Catholic experience into a broader European context, shedding light on the significant place of France in their activity, thus offering a new angle entirely on the relationship between England and the continent in the early modern period. Katy Gibbons is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-967-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Katy Gibbons
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. Editorial Conventions
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    By 1580 the English government was increasingly concerned about large numbers of its Catholic subjects overseas. These exiles confirmed suspicions of an imminent foreign attack on England, in which Catholic exiles were to take a central role. With Spanish and papal support for uprisings in Ireland, rumours of an anti-English League and the imminent arrival of the Jesuits in England, the Elizabethan regime feared the worst. The key arena for this activity was France, England’s close neighbour and old rival. Both Catholic and Protestant reports noted that Catholics were moving into France, ‘daily … from Rome and other places’.¹ One...

  7. 1 The Home and Host Contexts for Elizabethan Exiles
    (pp. 15-48)

    In 1581 William Allen, leader of the English Catholic mission and founder of the college at Douai, wrote that he and others ‘were constrained to flee and forsake our countrie … by the warrant and example of Christ … and other our forefathers in faith, in the like persecutions’.¹ This view was reiterated elsewhere: Thomas Hide wrote that those who ‘lye and live as strangers scattered in dispersion’ were ‘afflicted Catholics’, suffering for their faith.² In letters to England Thomas Copley claimed that he had left for ‘libertie of conscience in matters of faith’.³ These presentations were full of suggestive...

  8. 2 Between Civility and Piety: Exile Niches in an Urban Environment
    (pp. 49-83)

    The foreboding expressed by English informers about the gathering of English Catholics in Paris was a comment on their potential to influence events both at home and overseas. However, whilst exile involvement in invasion plots has long been acknowledged, the interactions between exiles and their hosts in Paris have been overlooked. Paris was a key node in an international network of Catholics interested in the future of England: the significance of the French environment, both for the future of the French kingdom and for the immediate fate of English Catholics, should not be underestimated.

    The exile state presents a dilemma...

  9. 3 Exile in Action: Communicating and Propagating the Cause of Radical Catholicism
    (pp. 84-112)

    In June 1587 large crowds flocked to the churchyard of the Left Bank church of Saint-Séverin. They had come to view a tableau depicting the sufferings that English Catholics were enduring at the hands of the Protestant regime. Stafford, the English ambassador, reported with a sense of alarm: ‘I never saw a thing done with that fury nor with that danger of a great emotion: not so few as five thousand people a day come to see it, some English knave priests … point with a rod and show everything; affirm it to be true and aggravate it.’ Moreover, he...

  10. 4 Making Sense of Exile: Alternative and Competing Representations
    (pp. 113-142)

    The appearance of works relating to England in Paris in the 1580s had a particular resonance for French audiences. Whilst the exile example was being put to use in Paris, it was also highly contested across the Channel. This chapter moves outwards from the specific context of Paris, and ‘French’ publications, to explore debates over exile in English-language polemic and in manuscript sources created by or for individual exiles. The legitimacy and purpose of exile was a central question for those looking to stabilise the English Protestant state, and for those trying to construct and defend the English Catholic community....

  11. 5 Returning or Remaining? Divisions and Longer-Term Developments in English Catholicism
    (pp. 143-169)

    Michael Questier, following John Bossy, has argued that English Catholicism in the 1580s was exceptional in its purism and evangelism. This, he says, gave way by the late 1580s to serious internal divisions and conflict over the nature and structure of the Catholic Church in England.¹ This observation is in part borne out by English Catholic interactions with France. The intensive engagement between exiles and their Parisian hosts in the 1580s came to a peak with the League takeover of the city in 1588. However, English and French Catholics did not cease to be of interest to each other, even...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 170-178)

    On 22 March 1594, the day that Henri IV regained Paris from the Catholic League, action was taken to respond to English demands. According to L’Estoile, ‘on the suit of the English ambassador, the tableau showing the cruelty of the English Queen against the Catholics, installed by the League in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, was removed on the express command of His Majesty’.¹ This conceivably was the very same tableau that had been displayed in the Saint-Séverin churchyard in 1587.² Henri IV was willing to concede to English requests because he wanted England on side against Spain, and because it...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 179-196)
  14. Index
    (pp. 197-206)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 207-207)