September 2018: New Account on English Layman’s Encounters with Jesuits in the 1590s

The newest edition of Cambridge University Press’s Camden Series of annotated primary source documents features “the continental travels of the Irish landowner Henry Piers and his conversion to the Catholic faith in Rome, during the heightened political and confession tensions of the 1590s.” The volume is edited and introduced by Brian Mac Cuarta, SJ, the director of the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.


Of particular interest in this document are the recollections that Piers has of his encounters with Jesuits in Rome and Spain. For example, as Mac Cuarta notes on the blog of the Royal Historical Society, Piers stayed at Rome’s English College, where, “under Jesuit guidance, he deepened his knowledge of the Catholic faith, and followed the seminary courses in philosophy.”


The volume of “Piers’s account,” Mac Cuarta continues, “adds vivid detail to our understanding of the febrile world of the Elizabethan Catholic exiles in late sixteenth-century Rome, where spies mingled with seminarians, and an appearance before the Inquisition was normal for many northern Europeans.”


Piers’s travels continued into Spain, “where he visited English Jesuit colleges in Valladolid and Seville,” hinting at connections he made through the Jesuit Robert Persons.


More information about Henry Piers’s Continental Travels, 1595–1598–including Mac Cuarta’s helpful introduction and bibliography–is available at the Cambridge University Press website.

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