Buckley, Robert (DNB00)

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BUCKLEY, ROBERT or SIGEBERT (1517–1610), Benedictine monk, was professed at Westminster in Queen Mary's reign, during the brief revival of that abbey under Abbot Feckenham. He was imprisoned on refusing to take the oath of supremacy, and remained in captivity during the whole of Elizabeth's reign. Weldon informs us that Father Anselm Beach ‘landed at Yarmouth in the year 1603, where he spent that winter, and at Mr. Francis Woodhouse, of Cisson, near Wendlam [Wendling?], found the Reverend Dom Sigebert Buckley, the only monk left of the old monks of Westminster, whom King James a few months before had ordered to be freed from his prison at Fromegham [Framlingham]. From which time he and F. Thomas Preston took care of the old man till his happy exit from this world’ (Chronological Notes, 46). Being the sole surviving monk of Westminster, the rights of the abbey and of the old English congregation of St. Benedict were vested in him. Arrangements were made with the general chapter of the Monte Cassino congregation that their fathers in England should become aggregated to the old English congregation. Buckley, who had been arrested after the discovery of the Gunpowder plot, received at the Gatehouse prison in London, on 21 Nov. 1607, the profession of two of the monks lately arrived from the continent—viz. of Robert (Vincent) Sadler and of Edward Maihew; and on 15 Dec. 1609 he surrendered all his powers and authority for perpetuating the succession to Father Thomas Preston. The old monk, who had become quite blind, died shortly after this, on 22 Feb. 1609–10, aged 93, ‘and because the heretics would not let him be buried in the churchyard, F. Anselm of Manchester and Father Thomas Preston buried him in an old chapel or country hermitage near Ponshall, the seat of Mr. Norton, in Surrey or Sussex’ (Weldon, Chronological Notes, 76). It may be added that three separate congregations of the Benedictine order existed in England for a time, namely the Spanish, the Italian, and the renewed English congregation. A union among them was felt to be most desirable, and after many difficulties and obstacles was secured by the brief Ex incumbenti of Pope Paul V in 1619.

[Dodd's Church Hist. i. 527, also Tierney's edit. iv. 89; Snow's Necrology of the English Congregation of the Order of St. Benedict, 30; Reyner's Apostolatus Benedictinorum in Angliâ, 247, Append. i. 4; Weldon's Chronological Notes, 46, 47, 49, 60, 62, 76, Append. 4; J. Stevens's Hist. of the Antient Abbeys, i. 182; Sweeney's Life of Augustine Baker, 20–5; Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, 473.]

T. C.