The Tudor Society

October 16 – Cardinal William Allen

Cardinal William AllenOn this day in Tudor history, 16th October 1594, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Cardinal William Allen died at his home in the via Monserrato, Rome, while in exile. He was buried in Rome, in the English College's Church.

Allen founded the English Colleges at Douai and Reims, and helped found the one at Rome. He supported a Spanish invasion of England.

Allen, who'd been a canon at York and principal of St Mary's Hall, Oxford, left England for Mechelen in 1565 after pressure was put on him to swear the oath of supremacy, recognising Elizabeth I as supreme governor of the church in England. He was ordained as a priest in Mechelen before heading to Douai, where, in 1568, he set up a seminary to train English priests to be missionaries in England. Ten years later, he moved with the college to Reims, where the Douai-Reims Bible was translated under his patronage.

In 1579, Allen helped to establish the English College at Rome, and in 1580, he set about planning missions to England.

Following Pope Pius V's excommunication of Elizabeth I, Allen supported the idea of Elizabeth being deposed by a Spanish invasion. In 1587, he was made a cardinal at King Philip II of Spain's request, and he prepared himself to go to England following what he thought would be the success of the Spanish Armada. Unfortunately for Allen, in 1588, the Spanish Armada was defeated.

He spent his final years in Rome.

His works included "A Defense and Declaration of the Catholike Churches Doctrine touching Purgatory, and Prayers of the Soules Departed" (1565), "An Apology for the English Seminaries" (1581), "Apologia Martyrum" (1583), "An Answer to the Libel of English Justice" (1584), "An Admonition to the Nobility and People of England and Ireland, concerning the present Warres made for the Execution of his Holines Sentence, by the highe and mightie Kinge Catholike of Spain, by the Cardinal of Englande" (1588), and "A Declaration of the sentence and deposition of Elizabeth, the usurper and pretended Queene of England" (1588).

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October 16 – Cardinal William Allen