In case you are thinking “Wimbish hasn’t got a catholic priest”, John Gerard lived 400 years ago in the times between the Spanish Armada and the Gunpowder Plot – a time when being a catholic priest in England was very dangerous indeed.
The Wiseman family at Broadoaks Manor (then called Braddocks) were staunch Catholics and the room once used as a private chapel still exists as does the priest-hole in the fireplace where John Gerard was hidden from the agents of protestant Queen Elizabeth.
John Gerard escaped with his life and, safely in Rome, wrote his autobiography (in Latin). In English translation [John Gerard The autobiography of a hunted priest], the book has been reprinted as a paperback: it can be bought on Amazon
Anyone interested in Wimbish history is recommended to get a copy.
Wimbish vicar's book still in print after 430 years
William Harrison (1534-1593) is usually described as being the Rector of Radwinter but he was also vicar of Wimbish from 1571-1581.
He was something of a “Vicar of Bray” having converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and back as safety and good sense required in the transitions from Henry 8th to Bloody Mary & Elizabeth 1st.
Harrison’s fame is a result if his fascinating “Description of England” which provides maybe the best insight into society and life in Elizabethan times. The book is still in print (buy it on Amazon) and the text is available free online.