19th June 1605. Priest Hunt.
The many Catholic plots in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and the potential for religious strife, at a time when increasingly the country was turning Protestant, resulted in persecution and priest hunting to the reign of James I (VI).
This was shown Today in 1605,when the once Catholic Sir James Scudamore, but now fervently against the ‘Old Faith’, with three county officials organised a 30 mile sweep of the Herefordshire and Monmouthshire border, going from ‘house-to-house, village by village, all night and day, but only found altars, relics and images and a few old women and children’. The quarry however had fled into Wales.
The ‘sweep’ was outlined in a letter from the Bishop of Hereford to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, statesman and ‘trained in spy-craft’, demonstrates how Roman Catholics were ruthlessly hunted down.(1)
May it please your honour to be advertised that upon Wednesday last at evening being 19th June Sir James Scudamore accompanied with Mr Rudhall, Mr. Rowland Vaughan and Mr Reole, Justices of the Peace with such aid as I could give them went into The Darren and other places adjoining to make search and apprehend Jesuits and priests (their abettors and receivers, certain days before being riotously abroad with weapons).
Fear, often justified, in those times, as now, can turn to hatred, is often justified on the basis of difference in belief, be it religious or political.
So as anti-bodies fight of infection, so we have attempted to neutralise Catholics, from the time of the Reformation, other religious dissidents up to the 1660 Restoration, attempts at social reform until the early 20thc., along with the real threats posed by the later ‘isms’, and militancy in whatever form, of today.
(1) Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, trained in spy-craft, was a younger son of Elizabeth’s confidante, William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley, and principal minister, and protege of Sir Francis Walsingham, chief spymaster under the Queen.
Ref: Letter from Bishop of Hereford to Earl of Salisbury. June 22 1605.
Ref: Church History of England from Commencement of the 16th. Charles Dodd. 1841/books.google.co.uk.
Ref: flickr.com/Pic Image.