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Stephen Goffe

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(Or Gough)

Oratorian; b. 1605; d. at Paris, Christmas Day, 1681. He was the son of Stephen Goffe, Protestant rector of Stanmer in Sussex, and was educated at Merton College, Oxford, becaming M.A. in 1627. He took orders and became chaplain to Colonel Vere's regiment in the Low Countries. Subsequently the Earl of St. Alban's obtained his appointment as one of the chaplains to Charles I, in which capacity he was created D.D. in 1636. He was often employed in secret negotiations in France, Flanders, and Holland. During the Civil War he was arrested and charged with attempting to rescue the king, then a prisoner at Hampton Court. After the execution of the king (whose death-warrant was signed Stephen's brother William), he went to France, where he became a Catholic. Dodd and other Catholics have disproved the story that the Sorbonne admitted the validity of his Anglican orders. He became an Oratorian on 14 Jan., 1651, at Notre-Dame-des Vertues near Paris, where he became superior in 1655. Here he helped English exiles, both Protestants and Catholics, using his influence with Queen Henrietta Maria on their behalf; and on her appointment he acted as tutor to the young Duke of Monmouth. He was a learned man and maintained a correspondence with Vossius and other scholars. Some of his letters were printed by Colomesius in 1690, and others, still in manuscript, are in the British Museum (Addit. manuscript 6394).

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