Robert Ware: The Hunting of the Romish Fox.
Fear of "The Catholic Menace" dominated English politics from the Elizabethan period until after Thomas' time. Titus Oates's activities typified the paranoia. Full emancipation of Catholics arrived in 1829, with the passing of the Catholic Relief Act, but even after then, speakers in Parliament mentioned their fears.
As early as 1543, William Turner, later Dean of Wells, a contemporary of the poet Spenser, wrote The Hunting and Finding Out of the Romish Fox, an anti-Catholic treatise. He studied under Latimer, and was ordained by Ridley. Like them, he was persecuted. In 1683 Robert Ware, son of the historian Sir James Ware (1594–1666) published an anti-Catholic book of the same name, which appears to cover much the same ground. Its title page claims that it was based on papers collected by his father. Sir James Ware was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and a son of Sir James Ware, an earlier Secretary of Ireland. His papers contain nothing to support Robert's claim. The claim was simply a device to give the book a ring of authenticity. A University lecture I found on the Web a while back and didn't bookmark, calls Sir James a respected historian and his son something like "one of the greatest forgers."
The book itself has been analysed by pro-Catholic critics, who point out that events described in it, such as Catholic conferences, never took place. The following discussion from The Church in Ireland During the Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth (1553-1603), gives a typical example of the work:
On the return of the Earl of Sussex he paid the usual official visit in state to Christ’s Church, where apparently the English Litany (probably that prescribed by Henry VIII.) was sung after the Mass. In connexion with this celebration a story was put in circulation by Robert Ware in 1683 that the clergy, dissatisfied with the change in liturgy, determined to have recourse to a disgraceful imposture to prevent further innovations. On the following Sunday when the Archbishop and Deputy assisted at Mass, one of their number having inserted a sponge soaked in blood into the head of the celebrated statue of the Redeemer, blood began to trickle over the face of the image. Suddenly during the service a cry was raised by the trickster and his associates, “Behold Our Saviour’s image sweats blood.” Several of the common people wondering at it, fell down with their beads in their hands, and prayed to the image, while Leigh who was guilty of the deception kept crying out all the time, “How can He choose but sweat blood whilst heresy is now come into the Church?” Amidst scenes of the greatest excitement the archbishop caused an examination to be made; the trick was discovered; Leigh and his accomplices were punished by being made “to stand upon a table with their legs and hands tied for three Sundays, with the crime written upon paper and pinned to their breasts”; and to complete the story, a recent writer adds, “the Protestants were triumphant, the Roman party confounded, and Curwen’s* orders to have the statue broken up were obeyed without demur.” Needless to say there is no foundation for such a tale. It first saw the light in that collection of gross inventions, The Hunting of the Romish Fox, published by Robert Ware in 1683, and is unsupported by any contemporary witnesses. It was not known to Sir Robert Ware†, from whose papers the author pretended to borrow it; it was not known to Sir Dudley Loftus who devoted himself to the study of Irish history, and who, as nephew of Elizabeth’s Archbishop of Dublin, would have had exceptional opportunities of learning the facts, nor was it known to Archbishop Parker, to whom, according to Ware, a full account was forwarded immediately. The author of it was employed to stir up feeling in England and Ireland so as to prevent the accession of James II., and as a cover for his forgeries he pretended to be using the manuscripts of his father.According to the book, the Pope was negotiating with Elizabeth I for her Church of England to acknowledge the Pope's authority and to remain in communion with the Church of Rome. In return the Pope would allow her to keep her own theological doctrines and liturgy, as some Churches do today. That appears to have been a common story, but without any foundation at all.
*Archbishop of Dublin †This must mean Robert's father, Sir James Ware.
A copy of the book is in the Boykett family.
mother was a Ware, descended from an English family. There
appears to be no connection with either Sir James or Robert.
According to works on peerage, Robert had only daughters, so the
surname would have had to continue from one of his siblings.