Confessor ; born about 1635; died 11 March, 1680 (O.S.). The Bromley branch of the Gerard family, which divided off from the original stock of Bryn in the fourteenth century, grew to power and affluence through Gilbert, solicitor-general to Queen Elizabeth, and as such an active persecutor of Catholics. Indeed he is said to have obtained the estate of Gerard's Bromley, through a court intrigue, from the Catholic Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn (father of John Gerard, S.J. ), as the price for which the knight bought off the prosecution against him for adhering to Mary Queen of Scots . In 1603 Gilbert's son Thomas was made Baron Gerard of Gerard's Bromley, County Stafford, but his grandson (the subject of this article), Richard of Hilderstone, County Stafford (by John, a younger son, d. 1673), was a Catholic, though how he became one is not known. Richard was a friend of the Jesuit missioners, had three sons at their college of St-Omer, and was trustee for them for some small properties. It would seem that he had been invited to a little function on the feast of the Assumption, 1678, when Father John Gavan (the future martyr ) made his profession, at the house of the Penderels at Boscobel, who had sheltered Charles II after the battle of Worcester ; and that after dinner the party visited the celebrated "Royal Oak", in which Charles had hidden. This came to the knowledge of Stephen Dugdale, afterwards an infamous informer, and became the occasion of Richard's imprisonment and death. For, during the fury of Oates's Plot, when witnesses were being sought to attest the innocence of the Catholic lords who were impeached, Richard Gerard manfully came forward, and his evidence was likely to have proved of capital importance. To obviate this, Dugdale accused him of having contributed to the funds of the alleged plotters (perhaps with some reference to the pensions paid for his boys at St-Omer) and of having conspired to murder the king. Examined by the Lords' committee (19 May, 1679) he confessed to the innocent meeting at Boscobel, and was thrown into Newgate, where he languished ten months without trial before he was freed by death. He was fortunate in being attended during his last hours by Father Edward Petre, who, in a letter written 29 March, 1680, speaks of his constancy and of his dying wish to be buried by the side of his friend, Father Whitbread, then recently martyred.
Several years later his third son, Philip (born 1 December, 1665), having entered the Society of Jesus 7 September, 1684, unexpectedly became seventh and last Lord Gerard of Gerard's Bromley (12 April, 1707, O.S.), through the deaths of various cousins and older brothers. Philip never claimed the title, and gave up all rights to the estates for a small yearly pension of 60 pounds, being obliged to leave the country by the action of a near connection, the Duke of Hamilton, who advertised the reward of 1,000 pounds for his arrest as a priest. It is curious that the four lords who have been among the English Jesuits all lived at the same time. Philip Gerard (d. 1733) was the contemporary of Father Gilbert Talbot (d. 1743), who became Earl of Shrewsbury in 1717; also of Father William Molyneux (d. 1754), who was Viscount Sefton in 1745; also of Father Charles Dormer (d. 1761), who was Baron Dormer in 1728.
St Blaise Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online