Antwerp and the World
Richard Verstegan and the International Culture of Catholic Reformation
Richard Verstegan is the usual English name of a man who went through early life as Richard Rowlands, before reverting to his ancestral Dutch surname in exile. Born in Mid-Tudor London around 1550 and dying in the Baroque Antwerp of 1640, his ninety-odd years of life saw numerous religious, political and military conflicts, in some of which he was a minor player and on almost all of which he commented in his writings. After studying at Oxford without taking a degree, training as a goldsmith and illegally printing a Catholic book, he fled to France, where he worked as a propagandist for the faction of the Duke of Guise. Imprisoned in France for these activities, he fled to Rome, and eventually settled in Antwerp, where he worked for almost fifty years as, variously, a newswriter, engraver, publisher, editor, translator, polemicist, antiquarian, cloth merchant, poet and satirist. He is one of the earliest identifiable European newspaper journalists, having worked on Abraham Verhoeven's Nieuwe Tijdinghen (Antwerp, 1620-1629).