Alfield, Thomas (DNB00)

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ALFIELD or AUFIELD, THOMAS, alias Badger (d. 1585), seminary priest, a native of Gloucestershire, was educated at Eton, and sent thence in 1568 to a fellowship at King's College, Cambridge. He was afterwards reconciled to the catholic church, and went over to the English college at Rheims, where he was ordained priest in 1581. He was sent on the English mission the same year. Soon after his arrival in this country he was apprehended and put to the torture. He so far yielded as to consent to go to the protestant church, whereupon he was set free. Afterwards he sincerely repented his weakness, and resumed his functions as a missioner. He imported into the kingdom some copies of Dr. Allen's ‘True and modest Defence of English Catholics that suffer for their Faith,’ and dispersed them with the help of Thomas Webley, a dyer. They were both arrested, and most cruelly tortured in prison. On 5 July 1585 they were arraigned at the sessions hall in the Old Bailey, and having been ‘found guiltie, condemned, and had judgment, as felons to be hanged, for publishing of books, containing false, seditious, and slaunderous matter, to the defamation of our Soveraygne lady the Queene, these were on the next morrow executed at Tyborne accordingly.’ Their offence being felony, they were only hanged, not butchered alive with the knife of the executioner.

[Cal. of State Papers, Domestic (1581–90), 153, 168, 243, 249; Diaries of the English College, Douay; Knox's Letters and Memorials of Card. Allen; Stowe's Annales (1614), 708; Rambler, N.S. vii. (1857), 420–31; Oliver's Hist. of the Catholic Religion in Cornwall, 103; Harwood's Alumni Eton. 182; Dodd's Church Hist. (1737), ii. 64; Challoner's Missionary Priests (1741), 168; Strype's Annals, iii. (i.), 708; MS. Lansd. 33, art. 58; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ix. 485.]

T. C.