Gerard, John

Biography: Real name John Gerard. Jesuit. Born Etwall, Derbyshire, 1564. Early life spent at Etwall and Bryn, Lancashire. Matriculated Exeter College, Oxford Dec 1575, but left Easter 1576 because he refused to go to church and returned to Bryn. Arrived at the English College in Douai 1577, and moved with it to Rheims 1578. Transferred to the College de Clermont, Paris 1580. Visited Rouen 1581. Returned to England 1583 due to health and financial matters. Captured at Dover and sent to London when he tried to return to the continent in Nov 1583. Committed to the custody of his uncle, then Marshalsea prison March 1584. Released 1585 after sureties paid, but left for France May 1586 (forfeiting the sureties), and then Rome in August 1586. Recieved into the English College in Rome April 1587 and entered the Society of Jesus in Rome in August 1588. Dispatched almost immediately to England, returning October or November 1588. Apprehended April 1594 and confined in the Counter, and then the Clink. Whilst there he established a chapel above his cell. Transferred to the Tower of London April 1597, from which he dramatically escaped in October 1597 by swinging on a rope over the Tower ditch. Travelled between rented houses in London and country residences til he left England May 1606, as many of his friends were indicted for involvement in the Gunpowder Plot and he was publicly proclaimed a traitor. Stayed in the Low Countries (probably Brussels), then Rome in September 1606. Appointed English confessor at St Peter's 1607. Returned to Brussels May 1609, then Louvain as assistant to the novice master there. Appointed rector and novice master at Liege, 1613-21. Tertian director in Ghent 1623. Returned to Rome 1627. Accusations of involvement in the Gunpowder Plot revived 1630 but died away August 1631. Died Rome 1637.

Biography Date: 1564-1637

Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB;


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