Warmington, William (DNB00)

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WARMINGTON, WILLIAM (fl. 1577–1612), Roman catholic divine, born in Dorset about 1556, was matriculated from Hart Hall (now Hertford College), Oxford, on 20 Dec. 1577. The principal, Philip Randall, ‘was always in animo catholicus,’ and under his influence Warmington openly espoused the Roman catholic faith. In consequence he left Oxford, and studied philosophy and theology at Douai. After a brief visit to England in 1579, he was ordained sub-deacon at Douai on 24 Feb. 1579–80, deacon on 19 March, and priest on 25 May (Douai Diaries, pp. 154, 158, 161, 162, 165). He was again sent to England on 31 Jan. 1580–1 (ib. p. 175), was apprehended, and in February 1584–5 transported to Normandy with threats of more severe treatment should he return (Foley, Records of English Province, ii. 132). He became noted abroad for learning and piety, and was appointed chaplain to Cardinal William Allen (1532–1594) [q. v.] In 1594 he was described as ‘maestro di casa et servitore dal principio dal cardinalato’ (Letters and Mem. of Cardinal Allen, p. 375). After Allen's death in that year he returned to England as an ‘oblate of the holy congregation of St. Ambrose,’ and laboured zealously for several years. At length, on 24 March 1607–8, he was apprehended by two pursuivants, and ‘committed prisoner to the Clinke in Southwark.’ During the inactivity of his confinement he took occasion to consider more thoroughly the question of allegiance, and, becoming convinced of its propriety, concluded to take the oath. To justify himself he published his reasons in 1612 under the title, ‘A Moderate Defence of the Oath of Allegiance, wherein the Author proveth the said Oath to be most Lawful, notwithstanding the Pope's Breves’ (London, 4to). With this discourse he published ‘The Oration of Pope Sixtus V in the Consistory of Rome, upon the Murther of King Henry 3, the French King, by a Fryer,’ and ‘Strange Reports, or News from Rome.’ These things gave such offence that Warmington, who was set at liberty on swearing allegiance, found himself deserted by his former friends, and was driven to petition James I for an allowance. By the king's direction he was placed in the household of Thomas Bilson [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, where he passed the rest of his days in the unmolested profession of his religion.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 128; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714.]

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