YEPES, Diego de

Historia particular de la persecucion de Inglaterra, y de los martirios mas insignes que en ella ha auido, desde el año del Señor. 1570

Madrid, por Luis Sanchez, 1599


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. (16), 894 (i.e. 864), (24). [§⁸, A-3I⁸, 3K⁴] Roman and Italic letter. Woodcut initials head and tail-pieces, autograph of ‘L. Gompertz’ with his acquisition note dated 1872 on fly. Light age yellowing, intermittent browning and mostly marginal spotting, worm trails in blank upper margin in first part of the work, at gutter and in blank lower margin towards end, light waterstain on a few leaves, the odd thumb mark. A good, unsophisticated copy in contemporary vellum, title manuscript on spine, all edges sprinkled blue, string ties, lacking clasps.

First edition of this important description of the persecution of Catholics in England in the reign of Elizabeth I, by the Bishop of Tarazona, Diego de Yepes. The work is of great historic and social interest, and provides much insight into the lives of Catholics in Britain, and the dissemination of their stories across Europe. “In fact, it is worth emphasising that whatever cognizance that Europeans obtained concerning events in England during the last decades of the 16th century came primarily from the published writings of figures like Persons and Allen and their fellow exiles, or alternatively figures such as Diego de Yepes whose ‘Historia particular de la persecucion de Inglaterra’ shows that he was in close contact with them.” Brian C. Lockey ‘Early Modern Catholics, Royalists, and Cosmopolitans.’ Yespes also seems to have been in contact with the indefatigable Verstegen whose close contacts with English recusants were important in the compilation of this work. “Though few remain, Petti estimates that (Verstegen) must have sent thousands of dispatches to key authors throughout Europe, funnelling through the news he received from his contacts in England. Dispatches to influential English exiles such as Robert Persons, Francis Englefield, Roger Baynes and Cardinal William Allen remain to this day, but he was also in touch with numerous other prominent Catholics throughout Europe who subsequently used his information for their own ends. Petti recognises Verstegan’s hand in, for instance, Pedro de Ribadeneira S.J.’s Historia Ecclesiastica del Reyno de Inglaterra (1593) and Diego de Yepes’s Historia Particular de la Persecucion de Inglaterra (1599).” A Ewing ‘A Comparative Analysis of Catholic and Puritan Polemics, 1618- 1628.’ A good example of the dissemination of these stories across is given by the English Nun Dorothy Arundel: “How did English nuns gain an international audience in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? One route was to write about persecution and martyrdom. The currency of such accounts was heightened in Counter-Reformation Europe, where the religious wars as well as efforts to halt or reverse the exponential growth of Protestant congregations gave strong impetus to the circulation of narratives strengthening Catholic identity. The religious orders were already transnational networks, transcending as well as embracing local and national allegiances. .. Dorothy Arundell, who resided at her widowed mother’s home, Chideock Castle, in Dorset, provides one example. This recusant community was raided in 1594; Dorothy and her sister Gertude – who both went on to found the exiled Benedictine convent at Brussels in 1598 – were among those arrested. Their priest, John Cornelius, was subsequently executed, reportedly making his Jesuit vows on the scaffold. Within a short time, Arundell had composed a narrative of the martyred priest, which was quickly absorbed by Jesuit historians across Europe. Her account was first publicised in Spain in the history of English persecution compiled by the Bishop of Tarazona, Diego de Yepes, in collaboration with the English Jesuit, Joseph Creswell: Historia particular de la persecucion de Inglaterra (Madrid, 1599).” Marie-Louise Coolahan. ‘Nuns’ Writing and Martyrology.’

A very good copy of the first edition of this most interesting work.

BM STC Spain C16th p. 220. Palau 377815. “Obra muy estimada en Inglaterra. Refiere la introduccion y succesivo establecimiento de la reforma anglicana en aquel pais y las persecuciones sufridas por los catolicos, con las biografia de mas de un centenar victimas de sus creencias”

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