Watson, Thomas

, a Roman catholic prelate in the reign of queen Mary, was educated at St. John’s-college, Cambridge, of which he was elected fellow, and in 1553 master. In November of the same year the queen gave him the deanery of Durham, vacant by the deprivation of Robert Home. He had previously to this been for some time chaplain to Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, and was equally hostile to the reformed religion. In April 1554, he was incorporated D. D. at Oxford, and in August 1557, was consecrated bishop of Lincoln. In this see he remained until the accession of queen Elizabeth, when he was deprived on account of denying the queen’s supremacy; and remaining inflexible in his adherence to popery, he suffered confinement in or near London until 1580, when he was removed to Wisbech-castle, together with the abbot Feckenham, and several others. He died there Sept. 25, 1582, and was interred in the church-yard of Wisbech. He held several conferences with those of the reformed religion, and particularly was one of those appointed to confer with, or rather sit in judgment on Cranmer, Ridley f and Latimer, previously to their execution at Oxford. For some time he w,gs confined in Grindal’s house, and that prelate wished to converse calmly with him on the points in dispute at that time, but he answered that he would not enter into conference with any man. Watson is represented as of a sour and morose temper. Of his works we have heard only of, 1. “Two Sermons before queen Mary, on the real presence and sacrifice of the mass,” Lond. 1554, 8vo. 2. “Wholesome and Catholic doctrine concerning the seven Sacraments, in thirty Sermons,” ibid. 1558, 4to. Dodd mentions as his. antagonists or answerers, “A Sermon against Thomas | Watson’s two Sermons, by which he would prove the real presence,” ibid. 1569, 4to, by Robert Crowley; and “Questio in Thomam Watsonium Episc. Lincoln, aliosque, super quibusdam articulis de bulla papali contra reginam Eliz.” Francfort, 1621.

Bishop Watson has been confounded by Wood, Dodd, and others, with Thomas Watson, the sonnetteer, and they have attributed to the prelate the translation of the “Antigone” of Sophocles, which belongs to the other. Bishop Watson, indeed, who appears to have been at one time a polite scholar, composed a Latin tragedy called “Absolon;” but this he would not allow to be printed because in locis paribus, anapaestus was twice or thrice used instead of iambus"

Of Watson, the sonnetteer, we have very little personal history. He was a native of London, and educated at Oxford, where he applied all his studies to poetry and romance, in which he obtained an honourable name. An ample account of his various productions, valuable rarities in the poetico-commercial world, may be seen in our authorities. He is supposed to have outlived his namesake, the prelate, and died in 1591 or 1592. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Dodd’s Ch. Hist. Hutchinson’s Durham, vol. It. p. 117. —Strype’s Grindal, p. 78 —Gent. Mag. vol. LXIII. and LXVIII. Cens. Lit. vol. I. Philips’s Theatrura, by sir E. Brydges. Eliij’s Specimens, Bibliographer, vol, IV. —Warton’s Hist, of Poetry.