Abington, Thomas (Habington)

views updated


Recusant and antiquarian; b. Thorpe, near Chertsey, Surrey, England, Aug. 23, 1560; d. Hindlip, near Worcester, Oct. 8, 1647. He was the son of John Abington, cofferer to Elizabeth I, and he attended Lincoln College, Oxford, and in 1579 went to the Continent to pursue his studies. At Rheims he was converted to the Catholic faith, and some time later he returned to England. The cause of the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots elicited his devotion, and he became involved, along with his brother Edward, in the Babington Plot. Edward was executed (Sept. 30, 1586), but Thomas was committed to the Tower of London where he remained for six years. Released by order of Elizabeth (he was her godson), he retired to Hindlip Castle, the country seat his father had built in Worcestershire. For harboring priests (the house had 11 priest holes), Abington was arrested in January 1606, when four JesuitsFathers Garnet and Oldcorne, and Brothers Owen and Ashleywere found there. On the charge of complicity in the Gunpowder Plot, all four were executed; but Abington, who was tried with them, was released on the intercession of Lord Monteagle, his brother-in-law. Forbidden to leave Worcestershire, he devoted his remaining years to local antiquarian researches.

Bibliography: j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time, 5v. (New York, 18851902) 3:7476. h. foley, ed., Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, 7 v. (London 187782) 4.1:3334. Dictionary of National Biography, from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 8:857858.

[r. i. bradley]