Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Radford, John

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RADFORD, JOHN (1561–1630), jesuit, born in Derbyshire in 1561, was educated at Douay College while it was temporarily located at Rheims. Having completed his studies in humanity and theology, he was ordained priest in 1587, and returned to England on 17 Jan. 1589. There he wrote ‘A Directorie teaching the Way to the Truth in a briefe and plaine Discourse against the Heresies of this Time. Wherunto is added a Short Treatise against Adiaphorists [i.e. Laodiceans], Neuters,’ &c. The preface was dated 10 April 1594, and the dedication to ‘George Blackwell, archipresbyter,’ in 1599, but the book was first published, ‘probably at Douay’ (Brit. Mus. Cat.), in 1605. The book circulated in England, and John Manby (or Manly) of Broughton, Northamptonshire, ascribes his conversion in 1607 to ‘Father Parsons's “Christian Directory,” and a controversial work written by Mr. Radford,’ adding that he was afterwards received by Radford into the catholic church. Radford doubtless carried on the perilous work of a catholic missionary in the part of England most familiar to him. On 30 Oct. 1606 Father Robert Jones, alias North, wrote to Parsons at Venice, recommending that the latter should communicate further with Radford, who, the writer suggested, ‘might be admitted at home, and would prove a sufficient jorneyman’ (Stonyhurst MSS. Archives aiii/1 (Anglia), vol. iii. letter 71). Parsons accepted the view of his correspondent, and Radford accordingly entered the Society of Jesus in 1608. On 2 January 1618 he was made a spiritual coadjutor. He remained at Northampton until after 1621, when he came to London. John Gee [q. v.], in his ‘Foot out of the Snare,’ London, 1624, mentions his name without comment in a ‘list of Jesuites now [1623] resident about the City of London;’ and when papers and goods belonging to jesuits were seized at ‘a house near Clerkenwell, on 19 March 1627–8,’ by order of the council, Radford's name appears among the ‘Veterani Missionarii.’ He soon transferred his missionary work to Devonshire, where he died, at ‘the residence of the Blessed Stanislaus,’ on 9 Jan. 1630, aged 69. In the ‘Archives Générales’ he is eulogised as ‘homo devotus et in missione multos perpessus labores. Laboravit ante ingressum in Societatem jam in missione, ita ut simul omnes computando 39 annos ibidem expleverit.’

[Foley's Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, vol. vii.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Charles I, vol. xcix.; Archives Générales de la Compagnie de Jésus.]

E. L. R.