Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tregian, Francis
TREGIAN, FRANCIS (1548–1608), Roman catholic exile, son of Thomas Tregian, by his wife Catharine, eldest daughter of Sir John Arundell, was born in Cornwall in 1548. At an early age he married Mary, eldest daughter of Charles, seventh lord Stourton, by Anne, daughter of Edward, earl of Derby (Harl. MS. 110, f. 100 b). He frequented the court of Elizabeth in the hope that he might render assistance to the persecuted catholics. According to his biographer, however, he lost the favour of the queen by rejecting her amatory advances. He was arrested at Wolvedon (now Golden) in Probus, Cornwall, on 8 June 1577, for harbouring Cuthbert Mayne [q. v.], a catholic priest. On 16 Sept. he was indicted at Launceston, and by a sentence of præmunire he was stripped of all his property and condemned to perpetual imprisonment. The value of his estate was estimated at 3,000l. per annum, which, with all his ready money, was seized by the queen (Gilbert, Parochial Hist. of Cornwall, iii. 360). He was imprisoned afterwards in Windsor Castle, the Marshalsea prison, London, the king's bench, and the Fleet. Recovering his freedom at the solicitation of the king of Spain after twenty-eight years' incarceration, but ruined in fortune and impaired in constitution, he retired to the continent, and in July 1606 arrived at the English College, Douay, on his way to Spain. He was received at Madrid with honour and respect, and Philip III granted him a pension of sixty cruzados a month. He died at Lisbon on 25 Sept. 1608. His remains were interred in a marble sepulchre in the jesuit church of St. Roch. His grave was opened by Father Ignatius Stafford on 25 April 1625, and it is stated that the body was found perfect, and that many miracles were wrought by the relics (Catholic Miscellany, June 1823, ii. 242).
Some English verses by him are prefixed to Richard Verstegan's ‘Restitution of Decayed Intelligence,’ 1605.
At St. Mary's College, Oscott, there is a manuscript entitled ‘The Great and Long Sufferings for the Catholic Faith of Francis Tregian.’ A summary is given in Polwhele's ‘Cornwall,’ v. 156, and in Gilbert's ‘Cornwall,’ ii. 282; and the whole manuscript is printed, with some additional matter, in Father John Morris's ‘Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers’ (1st ser. 1872, pp. 61–140). One of the rarest of printed books is ‘Herovm Specvlvm De Vita DD. Francisci Tregeon, Cvivs Corpvs septendecim post annis in æde D. Rochi integrum inventum est. Edidit F. Franciscus Plunquetus Hibernus, Ordinis S. Bernardi, nepos ejus maternus. Olisipone [Lisbon], cvm Facvltate, Ex officina Craesbeeckiana, Anno 1655.’[Life by Francis Plunquet, Lisbon, 1655; Addit. MS. 24489, f. 296; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 757, iii. 1348; Butler's Hist. Memoirs of English Catholics (1821), iii. 382; Camden's Hist. of the Princess Elizabeth (1688), p. 224; Challoner's Missionary Priests (1741), i. 449; Collect. Topogr. et Geneal. iii. 109; Cotton. MS. Titus B. vii. 46; Dublin Review, xxiv. 69; Lingard's Hist. of England (1849), vi. 332; Madden's Hist. of the Penal Laws (1847), p. 121; Oliver's Cornwall, pp. 2, 9, 203; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 196.]