Persall, John (DNB00)

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PERSALL, alias Harcourt, JOHN (1633–1702), jesuit, born in Staffordshire in 1633, of an ancient catholic family, made his humanity studies in the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer. He entered the Society of Jesus at Watten on 7 Sept. 1653, under the name of John Harcourt, and was professed of the four vows on 2 Feb. 1670–1. About 1668 he had been appointed professor of philosophy at Liège, and from 1672 to 1679 he was professor of theology there, appearing from that time under his real name of Persall. In 1683–5 he was a missioner in the Hampshire district. He was appointed one of the preachers in ordinary to James II, and resided in the jesuit college which was opened in the Savoy, London, on 24 May 1687. Upon the breaking out of the revolution in December 1688 he effected his escape to the continent. In 1694 he was declared rector of the college at Liège. He was appointed vice-provincial of England in 1696, and in that capacity attended the fourteenth general congregation of the society held at Rome in the same year. In 1701 he was a missioner in the London district, where probably he died on 9 Sept. 1702.

Two sermons by him, preached before James II and his queen, and printed separately in London in 1686, are reprinted in ‘A Select Collection of Catholick Sermons preached before King James II,’ &c., 2 vols., London, 1741, 8vo.

[Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 494; Foley's Records, v. 300, vii. 588; Jones's Popery Tracts, p. 455; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 157.]

T. C.