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John Talbot

English Catholic layman, b. 1535(?); d. 1607(?)

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Talbot, JOHN, English Catholic layman, b. 1535(?); d. 1607(?). Only son and heir of Sir John Talbot, of Grafton, Worcestershire, he was the father, by Katharine, d. of Sir William Petre, of the Rev. George Talbot, Catholic priest, and ninth Earl of Shrewsbury. He became a member of Lincoln’s Inn, February 10, 1555-6. It was when passing through Smithfield, London, in July, 1580, with Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, that Bl. Robert Johnson, the martyr, was recognized by Sledd, the informer. Indeed, Fr. Persons, S.J., calls Bl. Robert “Mr. Talbot’s priest” (Cath. Rec. Soc., II, 27), though, as it appears, he was, rather, Lady Petre’s. Talbot was committed to the custody of the Dean of Westminster, August 24, 1580, and afterwards removed to the house of his brother-in-law, Sir John Petre, in Aldersgate Street. On October 1, 1581, the plague being then rife in the City, he was moved to some other house within ten or twelve miles of London. In 1583 the priest, Hugh Hall, confessed that he had in past years been entertained by him. Later Talbot was restricted to the house of one Henry Whitney, at Mitcham, Surrey, and two miles round it. In 1588 he was imprisoned in Wisbech Castle for having heard Mass contrary to the provisions of the statute 23 Eliz. c. i. From December 9, 1588, to about May 13, 1589, he was liberated on bail, owing to his own and his wife’s bad health. He then seems to have been restricted to his house in Clerkenwell. On March 12, 1589-90, he was ordered into confinement at the house of Richard Fiennes at Broughton in Oxfordshire, whence he was released on bail for a fortnight on May 24, 1590. He was again allowed out on bail on December 20, 1590, and July 22, 1591. In 1592 he was at “Bickslie” (Bexley or Bickley?) Kent. On August 27, 1592, the recusants formerly imprisoned at Ely, Banbury, and Broughton were ordered back to their respective prisons; but an exception was made (September 17, 1592) in favor of John Talbot. However, next year we find him in Ely gaol. Thence he was liberated on bail for a considerable period to act as umpire in a family dispute. Later on he was allowed to take “the Bathes”, presumably at Bath, on account of his health. Between Michaelmas,1593, and March 10 following, he paid £120 in fines for recusancy. After wards he was imprisoned in Banbury Castle, whence he was released on bail for two months, February 27, 1596-7, his leave being subsequently extended on April 29, 1597, and November 6, 1597. In 1601 he was living in Worcestershire and pressure was brought to bear on him to secure his influence to promote the candidature of Sir Thomas Leighton as one of the parliamentary representatives of the shire. In 1604 he was paying £20 a month in fines for his recusancy, the benefit of which was on August 26 granted to Sir William Anstruther, who on October 13 in the same year obtained his pardon. On the following December 8 a warrant was issued for the release to him of £160, due from him to the Crown in fines for recusancy. In 1605 he was suspected of complicity with the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot, one of whom, Robert Winter of Haddington, near Droitwich, had married his daughter Gertrude. Robert Winter, however, declared that he had said nothing on the subject to his father-in-law, knowing that he would not join the plot under any circumstances. Indeed he had actually driven the fugitive conspirators from his door. Talbot was, nevertheless, arrested, and on December 4, 1605, examined. On September 26, 1606, the value of his recusancy was granted to Lord Hay. His second son, John, father of the tenth Earl of Shrewsbury, died in London in 1607, and he himself probably died about the same year.

JOHN B. WAINEWRIGHT


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