Robert Persons moved swiftly in 1593 to create his new establishment at SaintOmer. From highly placed friends in England, he learned that the government of Elizabeth I was about to restrict further the education of Catholics. Certainly, by the end of December that year, the privy council had issued letters to the lords lieutenant of the counties of England and Wales, requesting them to certify

Following his successes in creating English seminaries at Valladolid and Seville in 1589 and 1592, Persons was on good terms with Philip II of Spain. He was able in 1593 to secure from the Spanish king an annual grant of 1,920 crowns to support the education of 16 students at St Omers – a sum increased to 2,000 crowns in March 1594.2 This grant was to be paid without fail from duties raised within the Spanish Netherlands and derived from ‘the Licences and Pastports at Graveling [Gravelines] or if those be hindered out of the more sure Licences in the Country’.3