Bailey's father was Lewis Bayly, Bishop of Bangor, and a brother was the scholar and clergyman John Bayly (1595/6–1633). Bailey was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He began as a priest within his father's diocese; in 1634 he became Rector of Holgate, Shropshire, and in 1638 the sub-dean of Wells. He served as a commissioned officer in defence of Raglan Castle in 1646, and was briefly imprisoned in Newgate gaol for writing against the Commonwealth after Charles I was executed in 1649.
In that year he also defended Charles against allegations that he had been a Roman Catholic. In Certamen Religiosum he reported on religious discussions from 1646 between Charles and Henry Somerset, 1st Marquess of Worcester, at Raglan Castle. Bailey attended the Marquess, as his chaplain. The work proved controversial, and was attacked by Hamon L'Estrange, Christopher Cartwright, and Peter Heylyn.
However, Bailey then made his way to Europe, and had himself converted to Catholicism by the time of his 1654 End to Controversy. A Life of John Fisher was issued under Bailey's name in 1655, though it was in fact a re-publication of a much earlier text which Richard Hall (d. 1604) had translated into Latin.
- The royal charter granted unto kings, by God himself, 1649
- Certamen religiosum, 1649
- An End to Controversy between the Roman Catholique and the Protestant Religions Justified, 1654
- Venn, J.; Venn, J. A., eds. (1922–1958). "Bayly, Thomas". Alumni Cantabrigienses (10 vols) (online ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- An answer to the Marques of Worcester's last paper; to the late King. [electronic resource] : Representing in their true posture, and discussing briefly, the main controversies between the English and the Romish Church. Together with some considerations, upon Dr Bayly's parenthetical interlocution; relating to the Churches power in deciding controversies. To these is annext, Smectymnuo-Mastix : or, short animadversions upon Smectymnuus in the point of lyturgie (1651)
- John J. LaRocca, ‘Hall, Richard (c.1537–1604)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 20 Dec 2007
- Catholic Encyclopedia article
- Thompson Cooper, ‘Bayly, Thomas (d. c.1657)’, rev. Stephen Wright, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 20 Dec 2007
- Works by or about Thomas Bailey (priest) in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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