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Campion, Edmund

Campion, Edmund (1540–81). Jesuit martyr. Son of a London bookseller, Campion was enabled to study at Oxford, where, with brilliant prospects as scholar and orator, he was ordained deacon (1568) despite catholic inclinations. Conscience prevailing, he was received at Douai (1573), then sent from Rome by the Jesuits to Bohemia to serve his novitiate, before being reordained in Prague. Part of the Jesuits' 1580 mission to English catholics and carefully non-political, unlike his companion Robert Parsons, Campion's ‘sweetness of disposition’ and eloquent preaching were so successful that the authorities were alerted, especially after Decem rationes, denouncing Anglicanism, appeared at St Mary's, Oxford. Captured at Lyford (Berks.) through a servant's treachery, and taken to the Tower, his refusal to recant led to torture on the rack, but he remained steadfast. Trumped-up charges of conspiracy to overthrow the queen, and an unjustly conducted prosecution, brought conviction of treason and hanging at Tyburn.

A. S. Hargreaves

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