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and passed the night, after the manner of the primitive church, in watching, prayer, and spiritual colloquies ; whilst, for his part, he was employed almost all the night in hearing confessions. On the next day, he treated them all with a dinner, where he, and some of the more honourable sort of his flock, serred them that were poor, and waited upon them, and then dined off their leavings. When he sent them home, he gave each of them a groat in alms ; and when all had dined, he distributed what remained, to the poor of the parish. His zeal had made him as well known in all that neighbourhood, as the very parson of the parish. Some reprehended him for going about so publicly; to whom he replied, Let them fear that have any thing to lose, which they are unwilling to part with ; which was not his case, who had set his heart upon nothing in this world : and was even desirous to lay down his life for God's cause. He could not be persuaded by his friends to retire farther off from danger, to a house of a kinsman of his in Cheshire, being desirous, if it pleased God, to shed his blood at Lancaster.
He was beginning to recover of his illness, but was as yet very weak; when he was apprehended, on Easter Day, 1641, in the following manner, according to the account which he himself sent out of prison to his brother Rudesind. A neighbouring minister, who had with him, at church, a numerous congregation, instead of entertaining them on that solemn day with a sermon and prayers, as usual, proposed to them as a work more worthy their zeal for the gospel, to go along with him to apprehend Barlow, that noted popish priest, whom they would now be sure to find in the midst of his flock; whereas were they to stay till church time was over, they would miss the opportunity. They relished the proposition, and being about four hundred in number, armed with clubs and swords, followed the parson, marching in front in his surplice, to the house, where Mr. Barlow having finished mass, was making an exhortation to his people, about one hundred in number, on the subject of patience. The catholics that were within, as soon as they perceived the house was besieged, would have persuaded the man of God to hide himself, there being more than one private place for that purpose in the house, but he would by no means consent to secure himself, and leave his sheep to the mercy of these wolves : wherefore, exhorting them all to constancy, and putting them in mind, that these light and momentary tribulations would work in them an eternal weight of glory; and telling them, withal, how ready he was, for his part, to suffer all things for Christ, he ordered them to open the doors. The inob immediately rushed in, crying out, Where is Barlow? Where is Barlow ? He is the man we want : and laying hands upon him, they secured him, letting the rest go, upon giving caution for their appearance. In the mean time, they searched the whole house, and broke open Mr. Barlow's chest, in hopes of finding money : but see the wonderful providence of our Lord ! though there was a considerable sum of money there, which had been lately sent him by some charitable gentlemen to be given to the poor; and though they rumaged, and turned over all his clothes, and other things, yet they could not find this bag : for which providence, Mr. Barlow was very thankful, and gave
proper orders afterwards, for the disposing of the money, according to the intention of the donors.
Mr. Barlow being now in the hands of this mob and their minister, (who, it seems, had acted in this whole affair without any warrant,) was carried by them, the same day, before a justice of peace, who sent him, guarded by sixty armed men, to Lancaster castle. Some of his flock would have attempted to rescue him in the way out of their hands, but he earnestly entreated them not to think of it. He was carried to jail in a sort of a triumph by this armed mob, who insulted over him, and treated him with contempt, which was to him, a subject of joy ; though at this time he was yet so weak, that he could not sit on horseback without one behind him, to support him. He was kept in prison from Easter till the summer assizes : and in the mean time, instead of being weakened or cast down by his sufferings, he wonderfully recovered his strength and health. He would not hear of the proposition made by his friends, of using their interest to have him removed up to London, or sent into banishment, as many others had been: but desired them to be easy, and not to concern themselves about him ; for that to die for this cause, (viz: for being a catholic priest,) was, to him, more desirable than life ; that he must die some time or other, and could not die a better death. To some also, upon this occasion, he imparted in confidence, the vision which he had of father Arrowsmith. In prison, he often entertained himself with the book of Boetius de consolatione, which the jailor taking notice of, took the book away : at which, Mr. Barlow smiling, said, If you take this little book away, I will betake myself to that great book from which Boetius learned his wholesome doctrine, and that book, you can never take away from me: and this is what he continually practised, by mental prayer. My author adds, that when any one came to visit him in prison, he would not suffer the time to be lost in vain or worldly talk; but entertained the party with such discouses only, as were for his instruction and edification.
After above four months imprisonment, his trial came on, on the 7th of September, before Sir Robert Heath: who is said to have had instructions from the parliament, if any priests were convicted at Lancaster, to see the law executed upon him, for a terror to the catholics, who were numerous in that county. The indictment being read, Mr. Barlow freely acknowledged himself a priest, and that he had exercised his priestly functions for above twenty years in this kingdom. The judge asked him, why he had not obeyed the king's proclamation, commanding all priests to depart the realm before the 7th of April last past? Mr. Barlow answered, that several persons there present, and especially they who had brought him to prison, very well knew, that he was then so weak, by a long and grievous illness, that he was no ways in condition to obey the proclamation.
The judge asked him, what he thought of the justice of those laws, by which priests were put to death? He answered, that all laws made against catholics on account of their religion, were unjust and impious : for what law, said he, can be more unjust than this, by which priests are condemned to suffer as traitors, merely because they are Roman, that is true priests? For there are no other true priests, but the Roman ;
and if these be destroyed, what must become of the divine law, when none remain to preach God's word, and administer his sacraments ? Then said the judge, What opinion have you of the makers of those laws, and of those, who, by their office see them put in execution ? Mr. Barlow replied, if, my lord, in consequence of so unjust a law, you should condemn me to die, you would send me to heaven, and yourself to hell. Make what judgment you please, said the judge of my salvation ; for my part, though the law has brought you hither as a criminal and a seducer of the people, I shall not pass so uncharitable a sentence upon you. I am no seducer, said Mr. Barlow, but a reducer of the people, to the true and ancient religion. The judge, as he asterwards acknowledged, was astonished at the constancy of his answers, and his intrepidity, and put him in mind that his life was in his hands, and that it was in his power to acquit him, or condemn him : and dont you know and acknowledge, said he, That I sit here as your judge? I know said the prisoner, and acknowledge you judge, but in such causes only, as belong to the temporal court and tribunal; but in spiritual inalters, and in things belonging to the court of conscience, be pleased to take notice, that I am juilge ; and therefore, I tell you plainly, that if by that unjust law, you sentence me to die, it will be to my salvation, and your damnation. Upon this, the judge directed the jury to bring him in guilty ; and the next day, pronounced sentence upon him, in the usual form. Mr. Barlow heard the sentence, with a cheerful and pleasant countenance, and said aloud, thanks be to God; and then prayed heartily to the divine Majesty, to forgive all that had any ways been accessory to his death. The judge applauded his charity in this, and granted hiin what he petitioned for, viz: a chamber to himself, in the castle, where, for the short remainder of his time, he might, without molestation, apply himself to his devotions, and prepare for his exit.
On Friday, the 10th of September, he was brought out to suffer according to sentence, and laid upon the hurdle, on which, he was drawn to the place of execution. carrying all the way in his hand, a cross of wood, which he had made. When he was come to the place, being taken off the hurdle, he went three times round the gallows, carrying the cross before his breast, and reciting the penitent psalm, Miserere. Some ministers were for disputing with him about religion, but he told them it was unfair, and an unseasonable challenge, and that he had something else to do at present, than to hearken to their fooleries. He suffered with great constancy according to senience, and so passed from short labours and pains to eternal rest and joy, in the tisty-fifth year of his age, the twenty-fifth of his religious profession, and the twenty-fourth of his priesthood and mission.
SEVEN PRIESTS AND CONFESSORS.
In the December ollowing the execution of Mr. Barlow, I find seven priests at once condemned in the sessions at the Old Bailey, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, for their character and priestly functions. They
were condemned on the 8th of December, and were to have been executed on the 13th. At the desire of the French ambassador, the king being willing to have them reprieved and banished, sent a message to both houses of parliament, to know their thoughts upon the matter. This message being sem December the 11th, from the lords to the house of commons, and there read, it was singly voted upon these following priests : •Resolved, that John Hammon, John Rivers, alias Abbot, Walter Coleman, and N. Turner, priests, shall be put to execution according to law.' See Nelson's Impartial Collections, vol. ii. p. 731, 732, &c. However, his majesty having been pleased to grant his reprieve to all the seven, on the Thursday following, December the 14th, both houses agreed to join in a petition, that his majesty would take off the reprieve, and order all the seven to be executed. To which his majesty, on December the 16th, returned his answer, that he would take the matter into consideration.
This reprieve of the condemned priests, who were shortly after reduced to the number of six, by the death of one of them, was perpetually objected to the king by the parliament; till bis majesty, answering from York their petition concerning the magazine of Hull, &c., told them, .concerning the six condemned priests, it is true they were reprieved by our warrant, being informed that they were (by some restraint,) disabled to take the benefit of our former proclamation, since that, we have issued out another, for the due execution of the laws against papists, and have most solemnly promised, upon the word of a king, never to pardon any priest without your consent, who shall be found guilty by law : desiring to banish these, “the six,” having herewith sent warrants to that purpose, is upon second thoughts you do not disapprove thereof. But if you think the execution of these persons so very necessary to the great and pious work of reformation, we refer it wholly to you, declaring hereby, that upon such your resolution, signified to the ministers of justice, our warrant for their reprieve is determined, and the law to have its course.' So far the king. And my lord Clarendon, in his history, vol. I, part 2, p. 490, tells us, that this unexpected answer did not a little disturb the parliament. because the king, by referring the matter to them, removed the scandal from himself, and laid it at their doors : and certain it is, that we hear no more of this affair, and that these condemned priests were all suffered to linger away their lives in Newgate, though no less than eight of their brethren were executed in different parts of the kingdom, within the compass of that one year, 1642.
It remains, that we should here put down the chief particulars we have been able to discover concerning these seven condemned priests ; and first, as to their order ; father Angelus Mason, in his preface to his Certainen Seraphicum, iells us, that excepting father Coleman, who was a Franciscan, all the rest were either of the secular clergy, or of the venerable order of St. Bennet. Then as to other particulars, to begin with those that were first by parliament voted to die.
1. John Ilammon, or Hammond, was a priest of Douay college, ordained and sent upon the English mission in 1625. He was a gentleman of learning and merit, a leading man amongst his brethren ; a member of their chapter; and superior of the secular clergy in the west of England.
2. John Rivers, alias, Abbot, a Londoner, was also a priest of Douay college ; he was ordained in 1612, at which time I find he left the college, in order to enter the society of Jesus. But this design proved ineffectual; for by the account of father Angelus, above quoted, when he was condemned to die, he was still a secular priest.
3. Walter Coleman was descended from a good family in Staffordshire, who, going abroad, studied his humanity in the English college of Douay, then returning home, after some years spent among his friends, being disgusted with the pleasures and vanities of the world, he determined to leave all, and to follow Christ, in a life of poverty, humility, and mortification. Upon this he entered among the English Franciscans in their convent at Douay, where he was called father Christopher, of St. Clair. He died in Newgate, anno, 1645. He was author of a small poem, called, The Duel of Death. See more of him in Certamen Seraphicum, p. 184, &c.
4. John Turner was a priest of the English college of Douay, ordained and sent upon the mission in 1625. He seems to have survived all the rest in prison, and consequently to have endured the longer martyrdom.
5. The other three, (whose names are not recorded in Mr. Nelson's collections,) were, as far as I can gather from other records, Mr. Henry Myners, who died prisoner of the common side of Newgate, anno, — Father Lawrence Mabbs, 0. S. B., who died prisoner in the same jail, anno, 1641. And father Peter Wilford, 0. S. B., called in religion father Boniface, who died in the same prison, March 12, 1646, being fourscore years of age, or upwards. B. W., in his manuscript, says ninety.
Father Mason, in his Certamen Seraphicum, p. 192, speaking of father Coleman, gives this short eulogium of all his six companions ; that they had all laboured for a long time upon the mission, with great fruit in gaining souls to God: that they had suffered all the incommodities of a prison for many years ; that they were condemned merely on account of their priesthood; and that they received the sentence of death with great joy, giving God thanks that they were thought worthy to suffer in his cause.
THOMAS REYNOLDS, ALIAS, GREEN, PRIEST.*
THOMAS REYNOLDS, whose true name was Green, was born in the city of Oxford, towards the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign; and as great numbers of the brightest and most hopeful young men in both universities in those days, disliking the new religion, went abroad to be
* From Mr. Ireland's Douay diary; a manuscript relation by father Floyd, S. J. andther manuscript in the collections of Mr. Knaresborough; and Chifletius, in his Palma Cleri Anglicani, printed at Antwerp, in 1645, p. 22.