Worthington, Thomas (1549-1622?) (DNB00)

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WORTHINGTON, THOMAS (1549–1622?), president of Douay College, born in 1549 at Blainscough or Blainsco in the parish of Standish, near Wigan, Lancashire, was son of Richard Worthington, by his wife Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Charnock of Charnock in the same county (Dodd, Church Hist. ii. 391). His father, who was an occasional conformist, though at heart a firm catholic, sent him about 1566 to Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A, on 17 Oct. 1570. Afterwards going abroad, for conscience' sake, he was admitted into the English College at Douay on 15 Feb. 1572−3. In 1577 he was made B.D., and the year following he removed with the rest of the college to Rheims. Afterwards he was sent on the mission to England, where he laboured for several years with great success. In 1584 he was seized in his lodgings at Islington, and was immediately committed prisoner to the Tower, and ‘put into the pit.’ He was among the twenty-one Jesuits, seminarists, and other ‘massing priests’ who on 25 Jan. 1584−5 were shipped at the Tower wharf to be conveyed to France and banished the realm for ever by virtue of a commission from the queen (Holinshed, Chronicles, iii. 1379−80; Foley, Records, ii. 132).

Retiring to the English College at Rheims, Worthington remained there till he was appointed by Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Allen to the post of chaplain in Sir William Stanley's regiment in the Spanish service. He was created D.D. by the university of Trier in 1588. In 1590 he returned to Rheims, and was employed in reading a lesson of moral divinity; but in 1591 he was sent to Brussels, and remitted to the camp to exercise the office of chaplain again.

On the decease of Dr. Barret, president of the English College of Douay, Worthington was on 1 July 1599 appointed to be his successor by Cardinal Caetano, protector of the English nation. This appointment was made chiefly by the influence of Father Robert Parsons [q. v.], to whom Worthington took a secret vow of obedience, and under Worthington's direction new rules were imposed. The most eminent professors and doctors were dismissed; a Jesuit was appointed confessor to the students, and no alumnus was admitted to the college without the approval of the archpriest or the superior of the Jesuits in England. Subsequently the aggrieved clergy petitioned for a visitation, the result being that Worthington was removed from his office, and Dr. Matthew Kellison [q. v.] appointed in his place.

Worthington was now invited to Rome by the cardinal-protector, and he set out from Douay on 15 May 1613. On his arrival he had an allowance of two hundred Roman crowns a year, with an apartment and diet for himself and a servant. He was also made apostolic notary, and obtained a place in connection with the Congregation of the Index of Prohibited Books. While at Rome he was admitted a member of the Oratory. After residing for two or three years in Rome he obtained leave to return to his native country upon the mission. He died at the house of Mr. Biddle of Biddle or Biddulph, Staffordshire, in 1622 (Allen, Defence of Sir W. Stanley's Surrender of Deventer, ed. Heywood, p. xlv n.) Dodd states, however, that he died about 1626. Father Southwell asserts that he was a novice of the Society of Jesus at the time of his death.

There is a portrait of him in the print entitled ‘The Portraiture of the Jesuits and Priests as they used to sit at Council in England’ in the second part of ‘Vox Populi.’

Worthington's works are:

  1. ‘The Rosarie of Our Ladie. Otherwise called our Ladies Psalter. With other godlie exercises,’ Antwerp, 1600, 12mo (anon.) The preface, dated 25 March 1590, is signed ‘T. W. P.’
  2. ‘Richardi Bristoï Vigorniensis … Motiva,’' Arras, 1608, 2 vols. 4to; translated from the English, with a memoir of Bristowe prefixed.
  3. ‘Annotations, Tables, &c.,’ to the two volumes of the Old Testament printed at Douay, 1609−10 (cf. Cotton, Rheims and Douay, p. 25).
  4. ‘Catalogus Martyrum in Anglia ab anno 1570 ad annum 1612.’ Printed 1612 and 1614, 8vo. Prefixed to this extremely rare book is ‘Narratio de Origine Seminariorum, et de Missione Sacerdotum in Anglia.’ This catalogue and narration are taken mostly from the collection entitled ‘Concertatio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ in Anglia’ [see Bridgewater, John].
  5. ‘Whyte dyed Black. Or a Discouery of many most foule blemishes, impostures, and deceiptes, which D. Whyte haith practysed in his book entituled The way to the true Church. Written by T. W. P.,’ sine loco, 1615, 4to [see White, John 1570−1615]. In a reply to this Francis White [q. v.] wrote his ‘Orthodox Faith and Way to the Church.’
  6. ‘An Anker of Christian Doctrine Whearein the most principal pointes of Catholiqve Religion are proued by the only written word of God,’ 4 pts. in 3 vols. Douay, 1618−1622, 4to. The preface, dated 1616, is signed ‘Th. W.’ It has been stated that those volumes were printed in London, and that they were sold by the author at his lodgings in Turnbull Street for 14s. (Gee, Foot out of the Snare).

[De Backer's Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compngnie de Jésus, 1876, iii. 1574; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 388, 389, 391, iii. 88, and Tierney's edit, iii. 156, 158; Douay Diaries, p. 446; Foley's Records, ii. 104, vii. 866; Granger's Biogr. Hist, of England, 5th edit. ii. 80; More's Hist. Missionis Anglicanæ Soc. Jesu, p. 285; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 194; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 228; Panzani's Memoirs, p. 88; Register of the University of Oxford, i. 279; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, p. 770; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 406, and Fasti, i. 185; T. G. Law's Archpriest Controversy, 1898 (Camden Soc.)]

T. C.