John Seton D.D. (c.1498–1567) was an English Roman Catholic priest, known as the author of a standard logic text.
Born in or about 1498, Seton was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1528. Soon afterwards he was elected a fellow of St. John's, and graduated M.A. in 1532, B.D. in 1541.
Seton taught philosophy in his college, and gained a reputation as a tutor. He belonged to the "conservative humanist" group associated to St John's, a college sharply divided by the Protestant Reformation, with others of similar views including John Christopherson and Thomas Watson. He was also a good friend, however, of Roger Ascham who was one of the reformers there.
After being ordained priest, Seton became one of Bishop John Fisher's chaplains, and attended him the Tower of London. In 1542 he was one of the fellows of St John's who signed an appeal to the Visitor against John Taylor, the Master. In 1544 he proceeded D.D., and about that time was appointed one of the chaplains to Stephen Gardiner, at that time bishop of Winchester and chancellor of the university, who collated him to the rectory of Hinton, Hampshire; at Gardiner's trial in 1551 Seton gave testimony in his favour.
On the wall of the Venerable English College chapel in Rome, close to the altar, is a memorial to "the Reverend Nicholas Morton, priest, Englishman and celebrated doctor of sacred theology". The inscription proclaims that it was "his wish to be buried in the same tomb with the Reverend John Seton with whom he fled from England for the same cause, that of religion, and who came to Rome at the same time". The two priests died twenty years apart, but Morton's love and determination on joint burial had survived the interval.
Seton was present at the disputation with Peter Martyr held at Oxford in 1550. In 1553 he was installed canon of Winchester Cathedral, and in the following year prebendary of Ulskelf in the York Minster. He was one of the doctors of divinity who, by the direction of Bishop Gardiner, went to Oxford for the disputation with Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer, concerning matters of religion, and on this occasion he was incorporated D.D. there on 14 April 1554.
In 1555 Seton visited the Protestant John Bradford in prison, for the purpose of inducing him to recant; in 1558 he attended Thomas Benbridge on the same mission. Seton's name was on a list of Catholic clergy drawn up in 1561, described as learned but settled in papistry, and as having been ordered to remain within the City of London, or with twenty miles of it.
After suffering imprisonment, Seton left England and went to Rome, where he died on 20 July 1567.
Venerable English College by M. Williams
Hardcover: 361 pages
Publisher: Gracewing; 2nd edition (October 2006)
Amazon: Venerable English College
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