Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sir Francis Tregian and Thomas Pounde, SJ

Sir Francis Tregian, who was imprisoned for almost thirty years after the execution of St. Cuthbert Mayne on November 29, 1577, finally released after Elizabeth I's death in 1603 with the accession of King James VI of Scotland, was sent a poem by another prisoner he shared incarceration in Marshalsea Prison, Thomas Pounde, the Jesuit lay brother sometime after December 1, 1581. Pounde was also in prison for almost 30 years, moving around quite a bit:

b. at Beaumond (or Belmony), Farlington, Hampshire, 29 May, 1538; d. there, 26 Feb., 1612-13; eldest son of William Pounde and Helen, sister or half-sister to Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. He is reported to have been educated at Winchester College. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn, 16 Feb., 1559-60, and his father dying the same month, he then succeeded to Beaumond, and soon after was appointed esquire of the body to Queen Elizabeth. He acted the part of Mercury in Gascoigne's Masque, performed before the queen at Kenilworth in 1565. During the reveries (sic) of Christmastide, 1551, after dancing before the queen, he received a public affront from her, which induced him to retire from the court.

Shortly afterwards he was reconciled to the Church, probably by Father Henry Alway, and after some time of seclusion at Beaumond, began an active career as a proselytizer. He was in the Marshallsea for six month in 1574; in Winchester Gaol for some months in 1575-6; and in the Marshallsea again from 9 March, 1575-76. to 18 Sept., 1580, being made a Jesuit lay-brother by a letter dated 1 Dec., 1578 from the Father-General Mercurian, sent at the instance of Father Thomas Stevens, S.J., the first Englishman to go to India. From the Marshalsea Pounde was removed to Bishop's Stortford Castle, and thence to Wisbech. Then he was in the Tower of London, 13 Aug., 1581 to 7 Dec., 1585. He was in the White Lion, Southwark, from 1 Sept., 1586, till he was sent back to Wisbech in 1587, where he remained nearly ten years. He was again in the Tower of London, from Feb., 1596-7, to the autumn of 1598, when he was again committed to Wisbech. From Wisbech he was relegated to Wood Street Counter where he remained for six weeks from 19 Dec., 1598. After that he was in the Tower again until 7 July, 1601. He was then in Framlingham castle for a year. In 1602 he was in Newgate, and in the following year he was indicted at York. Afterwards he was in the Gatehouse, Westminster, for some time, and then in the Tower (for the fourth time) for four months, and lastly in the Fleet for three months. He was finally liberated in late 1604 or early in 1605, having spent nearly thirty years in prison. These facts are but the dry bones of the career of an heroic man, whose real biography has yet to be written. . . .

Note Pounde's early Court experience in performance before Queen Elizabeth I. He was also a poet, who sent--from the Tower of London--a long poem commemorating the martyrdom of Saint Edmund Campion, SJ and companions to Tregian, then held in the Fleet Prison. The 19th century convert and biographer of then Blessed Edmund Campion, Richard Simpson, discovered the poem.

The text may be found in Robert S. Miola's Early Modern Catholicism: An Anthology of Primary Sources.

Since Saints Edmund Campion, SJ, Ralph Sherwin, and Alexander Briant, SJ will be the next subjects in our series on the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales on the Son Rise Morning Show (Monday, July 6), this poem and its provenance is a nice link in the chain between the martyrs. Look for the preview of this episode on the First Friday of July this week.

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