Summary on the reports from the Scottish mission, [1675]


Summary on the reports from the Scottish mission, [1675]


Other religious orders
Scottish colleges


Summary on the reports of the mission in Scotland. In PF meeting of 23 July 1674 they took the following measures: a) the children sent to the Colleges have to be approved by the prefect and the children of Catholics have to go to PF schools; b) there is a need for new subjects to increase the numbers of missionaries, especially for the mountains. New missionaries should come from the Colleges, where everyone has sworn an oath. They will also buy a house for the old and crippled missionaries; c) an Irish bishop will be send to Scotland to administer the sacrament of confirmation; and d) There will be a visit to the Scottish mission. The decisions has been sent to Alesandro Winstero [Alexander Winster] on 23 August 1674, to which he responded with a letter from 25 April 1675. In his letter, he praised the measures taken by PF, especially the planned acquisition of the house. He responds with the following: 1) it already has been custom for the last few years to send the children to the Colleges. The children from the Lowlands however, cannot be sent to the school which is located in the highlands, not only because of the distance, but also because of language barriers. There are also more schoolmasters needed; 2) the missionaries cannot spread over the kingdom because there are 14 subjects and only nine missionaries. In some places there are so many converts that three missionaries are not enough, however it is impossible to stay in others because of persecution. It would not be of much help to call on those who are obliged by oath to work for the mission. Winster can only think of two people, Gio' Lesleo [Giovanni Lesley?] in France, and Jacomo Bamsaio in Bergamo, but they are both old and disabled. He ordered Franc'o Bianchi [Francis White] to call two Irish priests to the mission, but he did not receive any response that they actually arrived. Winster also asks the procurator [William Lesley] to send Ephrem Benedino to the mission, a Scot of great virtue who is staying in Regensburg; 3) he does not think its a very good idea to send an Irish bishop to Scotland, because it would be not only difficult for him to travel there, but also because it might bring renewed persecution to an area that is currently living at peace; 4) he gives the numbers of Holy Ornaments, and also asks PF to organize a visitation to the mission. He informs PF about the progress of the mission, as in some parishes of 600 people there are only 10 Catholics left. This is probably due to the fact that these places are not often visited by protestant missionaries. In the Lowlands the Catholic faith spreads slowly because there is more opposition, and in Teviotdale and Mercia [Merse?] the people are all Puritans. Winster also praises his missionaries, including Gio' Irvino da Beltia [John Irvin, "Belty"], who has worked in the mission for eight years;  he is now asking permission to leave the mission, and enter a benedict monastery in Germany. Winster thinks that Ephrem Benedino who is staying in Regensburg might take his place. There is also Giorgio Innes who has been in the mission since 1672, and is staying in the province of Galloway. Innes needs to be given a provision from PF. It was hoped that his family would support him but they did not. David Burnett is disabled and it would be wise to send him to the Scottish College in Paris; its noted that Barclai [Robert Barclay] would happily receive him. His place could be given to Giorgio Gordon, who is currently staying at the Scottish College in Paris. David Burnet wrote a letter telling about his merits for the mission in his province and the books that he wrote in the vulgar tongue. He also states that it would be wise to choose a foreigner for the visit to the mission. The procurator [William Lesley] suggest to let Gio' Valcher [John Walker] make a Cathechism in the English language, as had previously been decided in 1670. Books writtem in English on controversies can be found for a good price in Paris and London, however it would be best to have a translation of Spandano's church history. This could be made by either the English Jesuit College in Rome or another English priest chosen by Cardinal Nortfolk. Alexander Lesley has also written a letter to PF to inform them of his merits for the mission. PF has chosen him to conduct the visit. Another letter has arrived from Robert Monro who writes about his work in the mountains. He says that if there were missionaries who could speak Scottish Gaelic, the whole area would quickly become Catholic. The procurator [William Lesley] states that the mountain areas are very poor, and they need financial support to send their children to the Colleges. When the visitor is leaving the kingdom, it would be benificial to take some students with him. Lesley also recommends Atanasio Chalmers as missionary (he is currently staying in S. Scolastica in Subiaco), and asks for the patents of missionary in the border region between Scotland and England. Lesley also asks for an extra provision for the missionaries in Scotland, as there has been a famine.
Date discussed: 1676-01-10
Additional comments




APF SOCG 457, 128r-130v, 138r-v, 144v




This summary also appears in the ACTA: APF ACTA 46, 2r, 9v-12r.
See for the mentioned letter of Alexander Lesley: APF SOCG 457, 133r (database item 788).
See for the mentioned letter of Robert Monro: APF SOCG 457, 134r-v (database item 789).
See for the mentioned letter of Alexander Winster: APF SOCG 457, 135r-136v (database item 790).










Origin: [Rome]


PF, “Summary on the reports from the Scottish mission, [1675],” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed July 14, 2024,