The Englishmen who were members of the Italian or Cassinese Benedictine Congregation in the seventeenth century have been neglected, mainly because, unlike the Englishmen who joined Spanish monasteries, the Cassinese did not perpetuate themselves and thus did not produce historians who would keeptheir memory alive. This is a pity, since several of them are important figures: Robert Gregory Sayer (1560-1602), who gained an international reputation as a moral theologian, which, it has been claimed, remains unrivalled among Englishmen; Roland Thomas Preston (1567-1647), whose prolific literaryoutput against the papal deposing power at least assures him of a place in the history of Anglo-Gallicanism; and Robert Anselm Beech (1568-1634), who was the agent in Rome who negotiated the setting up of the Benedictine mission to England and defended it against attack.
The Anglo-Italians failed to perpetuate themselves because in 1616 they refused to unite with the other English monks, mainly in order to remain loyal to Preston, whom the others condemned for his writings. This article deals, first, with their attempt to found a community of their own at Paris, and, then, with their final years as a group. These two episodes have not been noticed before, and they have to be reconstructed entirely from manuscripts in the archives of the Archbishop of Westminster, the Abbey of S. Pietro at Perugia, the Congregation ‘de Propaganda Fide’ and the Vatican Library.