Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lassels, Richard

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LASSELS, RICHARD (1603?–1688), catholic divine, son of William Lassels of Brackenborough, Lincolnshire, born about 1603, was, according to Wood, 'an hospes for some time in this university [Oxford], as those of his persuasion have told me, but whether before or after he left England they could not tell' (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 818). On 6 Sept. 1623 he was admitted a student in the English College at Douay, where he was known by the name of Bolds. He was made professor of classics in 1629, and was ordained priest 6 March 1631–2. He became tutor to several persons of distinction, with whom he made three journeys into Flanders, six into France, five into Italy, and one tour through Holland and Germany. The last person with whom he travelled was Lord Lumley (afterwards Earl of Scarborough). During his residence in England he was appointed a canon of the chapter and archdeacon of a district. He was recommended for the posts of agent for the clergy at Rome and president of Douay College, but he declined all preferments. He died at Montpelier in France in September 1668, and was buried in the church of the Barefooted Carmelites in the suburb of that city.

He was author of: 1. 'An Account of the Journey of Lady Catherine Whetenhall from Brussels to Italy in 1650,' Birch MS. 4217 in British Museum. 2. 'The Voyage of Italy: or a Compleat Iourney t[h]rough Italy; in two parts. Opus posthumum: Corrected & set forth by his old friend and fellow Traueller S[imon] W[ilson],' a secular priest, Paris, 1670, 12mo. Dedicated to Richard, lord Lumley, viscount Waterford. Some copies have a title-page dated London, 1670, 12mo. Edward Harwood says that John Wilkes described this book as 'one of the best accounts of the curious things of Italy ever delivered to the world in any book of travels' (Lowndes, Bibliographer's Manual, ed. Bohn, p. 1314). A second edition, 'with large additions, by a modern hand,' but according to Dodd 'wretchedly defaced and altered,' appeared in two parts at London, 1698, 8vo. A French translation was published in 2 vols. Paris, 1671, 12mo. The work was reprinted by Dr. John Harris in his 'Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca,' vol. ii. London, 1705, fol. 3. 'A Method to hear Mass' (1686?). There appeared at London in 1864, 12mo, 'St. George's Mass Book: containing the original preface of R. Lassels, printed 1686, with various extracts, 2nd edit., compiled and edited by Thomas Doyle, D.D.' 4. 'A Treatise on the Invocation of Saints.' 5. 'An Apology for Catholics,' 2 vols. 8vo, manuscript.

[Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 304; Schroeder's Annals of Yorkshire, ii. 330; Holmes's Descriptive Cat. of Books, iv. 60; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iv. 516.]

T. C.