The early mission to England
Between 1531 - Ignatius's begging mission in England - and 1580 - the foundation of a mission - Jesuit contact with England was sporadic. Yet many Englishmen entered the Society. They were distributed throughout the Jesuit world: Edmund Campion was sent to Prague; Thomas Stephens to India; John Yates to Brazil. Because of unrest at the recently founded English College in Rome in 1579, Pope Gregory XIII entrusted the college's administration to the Society despite the protests of Father General Everard Mercurian.
Seizing the opportunity, William Allen, leader of English Catholic exiles and later a Cardinal, with the support of Robert Parsons and other Jesuits persuaded Mercurian to approve a Jesuit mission to England. The first missioners, Parsons, Campion and Ralph Emerson, departed Rome in April of 1580. By the end of 1581, Campion had been executed and Parsons was back on the continent, never to return to England.