Harris, William (1546?-1602) (DNB00)

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HARRIS, WILLIAM (1546?–1602), catholic divine, born in Lincolnshire about 1546, was educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he was admitted B.A. 26 Jan. 1564–5. Shortly afterwards he was elected a fellow of his college, and on 10 July 1570 he commenced M.A. (Boase, Registrum Univ. Oxon. i. 256). Renouncing protestantism he proceeded to Louvain, where he pursued his studies, and was ordained priest. In 1575 he was admitted into the English College at Douay, and in the same year was sent on the English mission (Douay Diaries, pp. 7, 24). In a confession by Robert Gray, priest, preserved among the State Papers (Dom. Eliz. vol. ccxlv. No. 138), he is referred to as being at Cowdray, the seat of Viscount Montagu, in 1590. He is there described as ‘a tall man, blackish hair of head, and beard.’ Fuller says that ‘his writings were much esteemed by the papists,’ and that he was ‘as obscure among protestants as eminent with the popish party’ (Church Hist., ed. Brewer, ii. 419, v. 257). He composed a work, in ten books, entitled ‘Theatrum, seu Speculum verissimæ et antiquissimæ Ecclesiæ Magnæ Britanniæ, quæ ab Apostolicis viris fundata, et ab ahis sanctissimis Doctoribus a generatione in generationem propagata, in nostram usque ætatem perpetuò duravit.’ Dodd expresses a doubt whether this work was ever published. The author died in England in 1602.

[Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 801; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 379; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 724; Wood's Fasti, i. 164.]

T. C.