Sharpe, James (DNB00)

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SHARPE, JAMES (1577?–1630), Roman catholic divine, born in Yorkshire about 1577, was perhaps connected with the family of Sharp of Little Horton. He became a convert to Roman catholicism, and, entering St. Alban's College at Valladolid on 21 June 1602, was ordained priest on 14 April 1604. He was admitted a member of the Society of Jesus in 1607–8, and for a time was professor of sacred scripture and Hebrew at the English Jesuit College at Louvain. In 1611 he was sent to England, where he made it his first endeavour to bring about the conversion of his parents. They, however, refused to listen to him, and kept him in strict confinement, seeking to reconvert him to protestantism. He obtained his liberty by proclaiming himself a priest, but thereby incurred the penalty of banishment. After a brief sojourn in Belgium he returned to England under the name of Francis Pollard, and was serving in the Yorkshire district in 1621. On 12 May 1622 he was professed of the four vows, and in 1625 he was labouring in Lincolnshire. In 1628 he had removed to Leicestershire; but he died in Lincolnshire, at the residence of St. Dominic, on 11 Nov. 1630.

He was the author of ‘The Examination of the Private Spirit of Protestants.’ The only edition of the complete work now extant is dated 1640. There was an earlier edition, for a second part, entitled ‘The Triall of the Protestant Private Spirit, the Second Part, which is Doctrinal,’ is dated 1635. Sharpe also left a manuscript endorsed ‘Annals of F. Polla[rd]. Divers examples of cruelty and persecution in England, especially about York, and of the constancy of Catholics in the time of King James, 1610, 14 Oct.,’ which is now at Stonyhurst College, and which has been printed in Morris's ‘Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers,’ 3rd ser.

[Foley's Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, ii. 617–25, v. 767, vii. 702, 1451; More's Hist. Prov. Angl. p. 359; De Backer's Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 1869, iii. 778.]

E. I. C.