A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Lingard, John

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Lingard, John (1771-1851). -- Historian, b. at Winchester of humble Roman Catholic parentage, was in 1782 sent to the English Coll. at Douay, whence he escaped from the revolutionaries in 1793, and returning to England, went to Crookhall Coll., near Durham, and afterwards to Ushaw. Ordained a priest in 1795, he became Vice-Pres. and Prof. of Philosophy at the latter coll. In 1806 he pub. The Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, and while a missioner at Hornby, Lancashire, began his History of England to the Accession of William and Mary (8 vols., 1819-30). In the preparation of this work L. had access to material hitherto unpub., and not available for Protestant historians, such as documents in the Vatican and other Roman Catholic sources, and was consequently able to throw new light on various parts of his subject. The work was attacked by various writers from the Protestant standpoint. L. replied to his critics with the result that it is now generally admitted that the history, while in parts coloured by the theological and political point of view of the author, is generally an impartial and valuable work, and it remains a leading authority on the Reformation period viewed from the side of the enlightened Roman Catholic priesthood. This opinion is supported by the fact that the Ultramontane party among the Roman Catholics regarded the book as a dangerous one in respect of the interests of their Church.