Holywood, Christopher (DNB00)

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HOLYWOOD, CHRISTOPHER (1562–1616), jesuit, was born in 1562 at Artane, near Dublin, where his family were landowners. In 1582 he became a member of the Society of Jesuits at Dôle in France, and was subsequently professor of divinity and philosophy there and at Padua. Holywood was in 1599 appointed to the mission of the jesuits in Ireland. Disguised as a merchant, he sailed for England, but was arrested on landing at Dover. He declined to take the oath of supremacy; was examined before, Cecil, secretary of state; and was detained in custody at London, and afterwards at Wisbech and Framlingham, where he occupied himself with literary work. On his liberation Holywood returned to the continent. After some time passed at Douay, Amiens, Rouen, and St. Malo, he returned to Ireland on 16 March 1604. As a superior of the jesuits’ mission in Ireland, he laboured zealously amidst difficulties and perils, some of which he describes in letters, still extant, addressed to the general of jesuits. James I, in his speech to the agents from Ireland at Whitehall in April 1614, denounced Holywood for his efforts to induce the Irish catholics to send their children to the continent for education. Holywood died on 4 Sept. 1616. His name has been latinised Holiuudius, but he appears himself to have used the equivalent ‘a sacro bosco.’

His works—replies to Dr. William Whitaker and other protestant controversialists—are entitled:

  1. ‘Defensio decreti Tridentini et sententiæ Roberti Bellarmini, S. R. E. cardinalis, de authoritate Vulgatæ editionis Latinæ, adversus sectarios, maxime Whitakerum. In qua etiam fuse admodum refutatur error sectariorum de Scripturæ interprete et judice controversiarum. Authore Christophoro a Sacrobosco, Dubliniensi Societatis Jesu, olim sacræ theologiæ in alma academia Dolana professore.’
  2. ‘De investiganda vera ac visibili Christi ecclesia libellus.’ Both works were published in 8vo at Antwerp in 1604, and the first was reissued in 1619 with additions by the author.

[Historiæ Catholicæ Iberniæ Compendium, 1621; Bibliotheca Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, Rome, 1675; Collections towards Biog. Of Jesuits, 1838; Bibliothèque des écrivains de la compagnie de Jesus, 1858; Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1874; Ibernia Ignatiana, 1880; Foley’s Records of English Province, vii. 1882]

J. T. G.