Sir Edward Petre, 3rd Baronet

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Edward Petre

Sir Edward Petre, 3rd Baronet, SJ (1631 – 15 May 1699) was an English Jesuit who became a close adviser to King James II and was appointed a privy councillor.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church which originated in sixteenth-century Spain. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

James II of England 17th-century King of England and Ireland, and of Scotland (as James VII)

James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.


Early life

Petre was the son of Sir Francis Petre, 1st Baronet, of Cranham (Essex), head of a junior branch of the family of the Barons Petre, by his marriage to Elizabeth Gage, a daughter of Sir John Gage, both strong Roman Catholics. In 1649 he was sent for his education to the Jesuit College at St Omer and entered the Society of Jesus in 1671.[ citation needed ]

Baron Petre

Baron Petre, of Writtle, in the County of Essex, is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1603 for Sir John Petre. His family has since been associated with the county of Essex. He represented Essex in parliament and served as Lord Lieutenant of Essex. Lord Petre was the son of Sir William Petre, Secretary of State to Henry VIII, Mary I, Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Sir William acquired Ingatestone Hall and the surrounding manor from Henry for the full market value after it had been surrendered to the King by Barking Abbey during the Suppression of the Monasteries.

Colleges of St Omer, Bruges and Liège

The Colleges of St Omer, Bruges and Liège were successive expatriate institutions for the Catholic education of English students and were run by the Jesuits.


Petre served as a chaplain and adviser to James II of England and was an unpopular and galvanising presence at James's court. James, as a Roman Catholic reigning over a nation of Protestants, aroused much ire, and much of it was directed at Petre, his close advisor on religious matters.

Before James's accession in 1685, Petre was vice-provincial of his order. James soon made him clerk of the closet, a position without political power. Later that year, James wrote to ask Pope Innocent XI to make Petre a bishop in partibus (a bishop without a see, now called a titular bishop), but Innocent refused. In 1686, Lord Castlemaine, James's ambassador to Rome, renewed the application, while James urged it forcibly on Ferdinando d'Adda, the papal nuncio in London. If the Pope was unmoved, the king was characteristically obstinate. James and Castlemaine continued to push for a bishop's position for Petre through 1687, and further requested that Petre be made a cardinal, but the pope steadfastly refused. James contemplated making Petre Anglican Archbishop of York when the see fell vacant, but the pope would not grant Petre a dispensation to hold it, and he even directed Petre's superiors to rebuke him for his excessive ambition. Petre was made a privy counsellor and Clerk of the Closet the same year.

Pope Innocent XI 17th-century Catholic pope

Pope Innocent XI, born Benedetto Odescalchi, was Pope from 21 September 1676 to his death. He is known in Budapest as the "Saviour of Hungary".

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese. By definition, a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop, the tradition of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place. There are more bishops than there are functioning dioceses. Therefore, a priest appointed not to head a diocese as its diocesan bishop but to be an auxiliary bishop, a papal diplomat, or an official of the Roman Curia is appointed to a titular see.

After his nomination to the Privy Council, the popular charges against Petre became more fervid than ever, reaching their height in insinuations made about the controversial birth of James Francis Edward Stuart, Prince of Wales, in 1688. Like many at James's court, Petre at first trusted Lord Sunderland, but he was also among the first to detect that minister's duplicity and to break with him. Modern scholars have given mixed reviews of Petre's behaviour, and contemporary sources on both sides are biased. The Catholic Encyclopedia says of him "with little gift for politics, nor paying much heed to them, he was nevertheless severely blamed when things went wrong. He was also regardless, almost callous, as to what was said about him by friend or foe." Petre fled to France soon after William III's armies landed in England, and he remained with James in his exile. He became head of his old college of St Omer in 1693. He was later transferred to Valten in Flanders, where he died in 1699.

James Francis Edward Stuart British prince

James Francis Edward Stuart, nicknamed The Old Pretender, was the son of King James II and VII of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his second wife, Mary of Modena. He was Prince of Wales from July 1688, until just months after his birth, his Catholic father was deposed and exiled in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James II's Protestant elder daughter, Mary II, and her husband, William III, became co-monarchs and the Bill of Rights 1689 and Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Catholics from the British throne.

Prince of Wales title granted to princes born in Wales

Prince of Wales was a title granted to princes born in Wales from the 12th century onwards; the term replaced the use of the word king. One of the last Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was killed in battle in 1282 by Edward I, King of England, whose son Edward was invested as the first English Prince of Wales in 1301.

Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland English nobleman and politician of the Spencer family

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Petre baronets

The Petre Baronetcy, of Cranham Hall in the County of Essex, was a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created in circa 1642 for Francis Petre. The third Baronet was a Jesuit and close adviser to King James II. The title became extinct on the death of the fifth Baronet in 1722.


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<i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i> Eleventh Edition 11th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica

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