Huddleston, John (1608-1698) (DNB00)

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HUDDLESTON or HUDLESTON, JOHN (1608–1698), Benedictine monk, born at Farington Hall, near Preston, Lancashire, in 1608, was the second son of Joseph Hudleston, esq., of Farington Hall and Hutton John, Cumberland, by Eleanor, second daughter of Cuthbert Sisson, esq., of Kirkbarrow, Westmoreland (Gillow, Dict. of English Catholics, iii. 463). He served in the royal army, studied at the English College at Douay, and after being ordained priest was sent back to the English mission. There is a tradition that at one period he was chaplain at Grove House, Wensleydale, Yorkshire (Barker, The Three Days of Wensleydale, p. 96). In 1651 he was residing in the family of Thomas Whitgrave, esq., at Moseley, Staffordshire, and had under his tuition three young gentlemen—Sir John Preston, Francis Reynolds, and Thomas Palin, the two latter being Whitgrave's nephews. Charles II, after his defeat at the battle of Worcester, 3 Sept. 1651, was conducted by Colonel Charles Gyfford to Whiteladies, and, disguised as a peasant and attended by John Penderell, he removed to Moseley on 7 Sept. In order to guard against a surprise, Hudleston was in constant attendance on the king; Whitgrave occasionally left the house to observe what passed outside, and the three pupils were stationed as sentinels at the garret windows. On one occasion, as Whitgrave and Hudleston were standing near a window, they were alarmed by a cry of 'Soldiers!' The king was hurriedly shut up in the priest's hiding-place, and Whitgrave, descending, went to meet the troops, who seized him as a fugitive cavalier from Worcester, but he convinced them that for several weeks he had not quitted Moseley, and persuaded them to depart without searching the mansion. That night the king proceeded to Bentley, after promising to befriend Hudleston.

Some time after this Hudleston joined the Benedictines of the Spanish congregation, and was professed while on the mission. At the Restoration Charles II fulfilled his promise by inviting him to take up his residence in Somerset House, where, under the protection of the queen-dowager, he could live without disturbance on account of his sacerdotal character. At the thirteenth chapter of the English Benedictines, held at Douay in 1661, he was elected to the titular dignity of cathedral prior of Worcester (Weldon, Chronicle, p.198). He acted as secretary of the next chapter, held at Douay in 1666. Shortly after the death of Henrietta Maria in 1669 he was appointed chaplain to Queen Catherine of Braganza with a salary of 100l., besides a pension of a similar amount. In 1671 he and Vincent Sadler, another Benedictine monk, visited Oxford to see the solemnity of the 'act,' and on that occasion Anthony à Wood made their acquaintance. During the excitement produced by Titus Oates's pretended revelations, the lords, by their vote on 7 Dec. 1678, ordered that Hudleston, Thomas Whitgrave, the brothers Penderell, and others who were instrumental in the preservation of his majesty's person after the battle of Worcester, should for their said service 'live as freely as any of the king's protestant subjects, without being liable to the penalties of any of the laws relating to popish recusants, and that a bill should be introduced for that purpose (Lords' Journals, xiii. 408; cf. London Gazette, 21 Nov. 1678). Barillon and Burnet assert that Hudleston was excepted out of all the acts of parliament made against priests, but this is a mistake. When Charles II lay on his deathbed the Duke of York brought Hudleston into his presence (5 Feb. 1684-5), saying, 'Sir, this good man once saved your life. He now comes to save your soul.' Hudleston then heard the dying king's confession, reconciled him to the Roman church, and administered the last sacraments. Hudleston continued to reside with the queen-dowager at Somerset House until his death in September 1698 (Macaulay, Hist. of England, iii. 723). All writers who mention Hudleston speak of him with respect except Macaulay, who describes him as an honest but illiterate monk.

Hudleston edited the 'Short and Plain Way to the Faith and Church,' composed by his uncle, Richard Hudleston [q.v.], London, 1688, 4to, together with 'Charles II's Papers found in his Closet after his Decease' (which had been already published in 'Copies of Two Papers,' 1686, and gave rise to much controversy), and 'a brief account of what occurred on' Charles's deathbed. At the end of the work is, with separate title-page, 'A Summary of Occurrences relating to the Miraculous Preservation of … Charles II after the Defeat of his Army at Worcester in 1651. Faithfully taken from the express personal testimony of those two worthy Roman Catholics, Thomas Whitgrave … and Mr. John Hudleston, priest.' This is reprinted in Foley's 'Records,' v. 439-46. Hudleston's brief account of Charles II's deathbed is reprinted in the 'State Tracts,' London, 1692-3. Its facts were confirmed by a curious broadside, entitled 'A true Relation of the late King's Death,' one folio half-sheet, by 'P[ère] M[ansuete], A C[apuchin] F[riar], Confessor to the Duke.'

A good picture of Hudleston was formerly in the possession of Mrs. Cust at Carlisle (Pennant, Tour into Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides, 1774, p.60). His portrait, engraved from the original in the possession of R. Huddleston of Sawston Hall, Cambridgeshire, was published in the 'Laity's Directory ' for 1816. An original portrait by Housman, 1685, 'ætatis suæ anno 78,' is at Hutton John.

[Addit. MS. 5871, f. 27 b; Burnet's Hist. of his own Time, i. 607; Caii Vindiciæ (Hearne), ii. 598; Catholic Magazine and Review, v. 385-394; Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion (Macray), lib. xiii.§§87, 88; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 490; Echard's Hist. of England, 3rd edition, ii. 692, 693, 1046, 1051; Foley's Records, v. 439, 583n., 591n.; Higgons's Remarks on Burnet's Hist. of his own Time, 2nd edition, p.279; Lingard's Hist. of England, 1849, viii. 322, x. 106; Macaulay's Hist.of England, 1858, i. 437; Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, p. 518; Weldon's Chronicle, pp. 188, 190, 198, 225, 238, App. p.6; Wood's Autobiog. (Bliss), p. lxix.]

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