SOUTHWELL, Robert

(c. 1561-1595)
Robert Southwell served as a Jesuit missionary in England, wrote religious tracts and verse, was executed at Tyburn in 1595 for treason, and was canonized by the Roman Catholic church in 1970. Born in Norfolk, England, Southwell was educated at various Roman Catholic schools on the Continent, first at Douai, then as a Jesuit novitiate at Sant' Andrea, and finally at the Jesuits' Roman College. Upon completing his education, he served as a tutor and prefect of studies at the English College of Rome. In 1584 he was ordained priest. Most of Southwell's fame stems from his work as a missionary priest. Along with his superior, Henry Garnet, Southwell was sent to England in 1586 and ministered there until his arrest in 1592. He acted as priest for various Catholic households, including those of William, Baron Vaux of Harrowden, and Anne Howard, countess of Arundel. Once Southwell established a network of patrons, he as­sisted priests as they negotiated England's anti-Catholic policies.
Southwell viewed writing as an essential aspect of his ministry. He wrote theological tracts and spiritual verse that circulated widely in manuscript and were printed repeatedly, some by Southwell on a secret press. His works include Mary Magdalen's Funeral Tears, An Humble Supplication to Her Majesty, A Short Rule of Good Life, The Triumphs over Death, and An Epistle of Comfort. Many of these touch upon the importance of active faith and martyrdom and discuss the spiritual rewards for those being persecuted. With his poetry, South­well hoped to move poetic forms away from their emphasis on sensual topics; he used sonnets and songs to speak of holiness and divine love in St. Peter's Complaint and Moeniae.
In 1592 Southwell was caught by Richard Topcliffe, a priest hunter. Southwell was tortured but would not admit to being a priest. Eight months after his arrest, he decided that his silence hurt the reputation of the priesthood, so he confessed and asked for release or a trial. He was tried in 1595, found guilty of treason, and executed at Tyburn.
Bibliography
F. W. Brownlow, Robert Southwell, 1996.
Karen Nelson

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Southwell, Robert — ▪ English poet and martyr born 1561, Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk, Eng. died March 4, 1595, London       English poet and martyr remembered for his saintly life as a Jesuit priest and missionary during a time of Protestant persecution and for his… …   Universalium

  • SOUTHWELL, ROBERT —    poet, born in Norfolk; studied at Douay, and became a Jesuit priest; came to England as a missionary, was thrown into prison, tortured ten times by the rack, and at length executed at Tyburn as a traitor for disseminating Catholic doctrine;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Southwell, Robert — (1561? 1595)    Poet, b. at Horsham St. Faith s, Norfolk, of good Roman Catholic family, and ed. at Douay, Paris, and Rome, he became a Jesuit, and showed such learning and ability as to be appointed Prefect of the English Coll. In 1586 he came… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • SOUTHWELL (R.) — SOUTHWELL ROBERT (1561 1595) Poète et martyr, jésuite et missionnaire qui vécut dans la sainteté à une époque de persécutions, Southwell a composé des poèmes d’inspiration religieuse annonçant George Herbert et Richard Crashaw. Éduqué dans des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw — (* 1916; † 23. Mai 1978) war ein Politiker aus St. Kitts und Nevis. Bradshaw gründete 1940 die Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party. Von Juli 1966 bis zu seinem Tod war er Ministerpräsident des Inselstaates. Ministerpräsidenten von St. Kitts und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Bradshaw — Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (* 16. September 1916 in St. Kitts; † 23. Mai 1978) war ein Politiker aus St. Kitts und Nevis. Bradshaw war Mitglied der Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party. Von Juli 1966 bis zu seinem Tod war er Ministerpräsident des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Southwell (Jesuit) — For the diplomat, see Robert Southwell (diplomat) Saint Robert Southwell, S.J. (1561 1595). Line engraving by Matthaus Greuter (Greuther) or Paul Maupin, published 1608. Robert Southwell (c. 1561 – 21 February 1595), also Saint Robert Southwell,… …   Wikipedia

  • Southwell Minster — Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Southwell — (* um 1561 in Horsham St. Faith; † 21. Januar 1595 in Tyburn) war englischer Jesuit, Dichter und Märtyrer. Southwell wurde als Sohn eines katholischen Landadligen in der Nähe von Norwich geboren. Sein Vater schickte ihn im Kindesalter auf die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Dudley (explorer) — Robert Dudley Robert Dudley, 1590s. Engraving after a portrait by Nicholas Hilliard Born 7 August 1574 Richmond Palace, Surrey …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.