September 11, 2010


Catholics in England suffered long repression (ROBERT BARR, Associated Press)

STONOR, England – For nearly three centuries after the Reformation, Catholics in England were outlaws.

But in the turmoil and persecution that followed the break between King Henry VIII and Rome, noble families such as the Stonors clung to their faith, "in spite of dungeon, fire and sword," as the Victorian hymn "Faith of our Fathers" put it. [...]

The heavy fines and confiscation of Catholic lands depleted the wealth of the Stonors, who by the 14th century had owned 22 manors in eight counties plus 60 acres (24 hectares) of land in the center of London.

Various post-Reformation laws barred Catholics from entering London, traveling more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) from home or owning horses worth more than 10 pounds, but the Stonor family continued to live in some comfort in their grand house, nestled between hills in the countryside 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of London.

Camoys pointed out a painting from the more relaxed time of King James II, a Catholic who reigned from 1685 to 1688. The painting shows a large number of horses — clearly worth more than allowed — outside the house, along with a fine carriage.

Persecution ran both ways. Queen Mary, the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII, vigorously sought to uproot the Church of England; Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, author of the Book of Common Prayer, and Bishops Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were among scores burned at the stake during her reign from 1553 to 1558. Mary also bestowed a knighthood on Francis Stonor.

Pope Pius V fueled official paranoia in 1570 by publishing a bull pronouncing the Protestant Queen Elizabeth to be excommunicated and deposed. Nonetheless, Elizabeth knighted the second Francis Stonor as a gesture of reconciliation.

Pope Sixtus V supported the Spanish Armada and promised financial support for the invasion which never came, because the English navy repulsed the Spanish fleet in 1588.

And then we grew up.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2010 7:45 AM
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