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to God, he was cast off the ladder, and was suffered to hang till he was dead. The last words which were heard out of his mouth were, Bone Jesu. Being dead, he was cut down, bowelled, and quartered. His head was set upon a stake or pole amongst the pinnacles of the castle, and his quarters were hanged on four several places thereof.
Divers protestants, beholders of this bloody spectacle, wished their souls with his. Others, wished they had never come there. Others said, It was a barbarous act to use men so for their religion, &c. The judge departing the next day out of the town, was observed to turn up and down, or rather prance his horse, and looking towards the martyr's head, and not thinking it to be conspicuous enough, sent back a command to have it set higher by six yards than any of the pinnacles. So far the printed account of F. Arrowsmith, published soon after his death.
His life, published in 1737, adds from other ancient memoirs, that the judge who condemned him, sitting at supper, on the 22d of January, 1929–30, felt a blow, as if some one had struck him on the head : upon which, he fell into a rage against the servant that waited behind him ; who protested that he had not struck him, nor did he see any one strike him : a little after he felt another blow like the first; and then in great terrors he was carried to bed, and died the next morning.
The same life relates, that F. Arrowsmith, during his confinement, reconciled to the church one of the felons, who was executed on the 29th of August, the day after the martyrdom of the holy man ; and that he died very penitent and constant in the catholic religion, though his life was offered him, if he would have returned back to protestancy.
• There is a letter extant,' (says the ancient printed relation of F. Arrowsmith's death,) of this blessed man, the first he wrote after he was imprisoned, which hath these words. All particulars did so cooperate to my apprehension and bringing hither, that I can easily discern more than an ordinary providence of Almighty God therein. And surely it will appear, that whatsoever followed in his story could not but be guided by the like Providence, if these particulars be considered; upon which I will here reflect in a word. First, the known clemency of his majesty, who hath professed, that he likes not to draw blood in case of religion ; and the constant practice of the same ever since his inauguration to this crown; so that I make myself sure, and it is since known to be most certain, that this act of the judge was no way encouraged by the king's majesty. Secondly, when the blessed man was flying from his persecutors at the time of his apprehension, he was extraordinarily well mounted; and yet whatsoever desire he had, and diligence he used, it was not possible to put his horse to any speed. Thirdly, a kinsman of his own, whom he had in nature of a servant, well known to be a stout man, forsook him and fled away, when the least resistance might have preserved him. And fourthly, when he was studying his course of divinity in the seminary of Douay, he had twice received extreme unction, but yet was delivered at those times, and reserved to this most glorious and victorious end.' F. Arrowsmith, suffered at Lancaster, August the 28th, 1628. Ætatis 43. Missionis 15. Societatis 5.
RICHARD HERST, LAYMAN.*
The day after father Arrowsmith suffered, a lay-catholic named Richard Herst, was also executed in the same place ; condemned by the same judge, under the colour of wilsul murder ; but in truth and in the sight of God, for the profession of the catholic faith. His case is thus related by the same author, from whom we have transcribed our account of the death of Mr. Arrowsmith.
• Richard Herst being a recusant convict, warrants went out to arrest him, and carry him before the bishop of Chester. This warrant was put into the hands of one Christopher Norcross, a pursuivant belonging to that bishop; and he associated one Wilkinson, and one Dewhurst, as assistants to himself in that service. This latter, besides his meanness, was of so infamous a life, as that at the self-same time, the officer of the parish had a warrant in his hands for the apprehending and carrying him to the house of correction for his lewdness. Herst was then actually holding the plough, and a youth belonging to him drove it, and a maid of his, was leading a harrow in the same field. Norcross and the other two advanced towards him with the warrant: and Wilkinson struck at him with a staff: whereupon the maid run hastily towards the house, crying out, that they were killing her master in the field : and hereupon both herself and her mistress, a manservant and one Bullen, (who happened to be at the house at that time,) were all coming on to help Herst. When Wilkinson and Dewhurst perceived this, they made towards that new company, and Wilkinson struck the servant down, as also the other who came with him. In this confusion the maid gave Dewhurst a blow on the head, who partly on that occasion, partly also to apply himself close to Wilkinson, made more haste than good speed, and ran so disorderly over the hard ploughed lands, as that he fell down, and broke his leg. Of which hurt growing worse and worse, and the same striking up into his body, being far from good remedies, he died about the end of thirteen days: before which time the hurt of his head was grown quite whole; and the poor wretch declared at his death, both how much it afflicted him that he had been employed in such a business, and that he came to his death by no other hurt but his fall, which was verified afterwards by the oaths of two witnesses. And it is both true and certainly known, (and nothing was so much as offered to prove the contrary,) that at the time when the maid gave Dewhurst that blow upon the head, Herst was distant from both him and her above thirty yards, and that withal, he gave no direction or encouragement at all, that any such thing should be done.'
Thus stood the case: and how this should be made a wilful murder in Herst, it is hard to conceive: yet so were matters managed, the same jadge Yelverton (who has been lately spoken of in the story of father Arrowsmith,) especially concurring thereunto, that, contrary to all show
* From the relation of his death, published in 1630 Vol. II.
of truth and justice, the man was condemned to die, and was executed August 29. It is true, his life was promised him if he would take the oath ; but he refused to live upon any such conditions as were inconsistent with his conscience. The day before he was to suffer, he was called upon to go with the other prisoners to church to hear a sermon : but he assured them, that if he had a thousand lives he would rather lose them all than go willingly there: but the high-sheriff ordered him to be dragged thither by force, whilst he on his part made all the resistance that he could, though to his very great hurt; being trailed upon the ground by his legs over a ragged and stony way, for twenty or thirty rods from the prison to the church. When he was there, he cast himself upon the ground, and thrust his fingers into his ears, that he might not hear their doctrine. But when he was to go back again to prison, he went very merrily, telling some catholics whom he met in the waythey have tortured my body, but I thank God, they have not hurt my soul.
Two of his friends found means to see him that evening, and stayed with him in prison till midnight, in prayer and spiritual conversation, who also returned to him the next morning. To them he seemed to be very desirous to be dissolved and to be with Christ; for he would be often saying, They stay long: when do you think they will come? As soon as the sheriff was come to the prison, which was about one o'clock in the afternoon, to take all the prisoners out to execution, he read the dead warrant, wherein all their names who were to die, were inserted, and among the rest that of Mr. Arrowsmith, at the hearing of whose name, Mr. Herst said, You have already sent him to heaven; and I hope I shall not be long after him, for I trust much in his prayers. And looking up towards the top of the castle, where the priest's head was placed, the officer asking what he looked at ? I look, said he, at the head of that blessed martyr, whom you have sent before, to prepare the way for us: meaning himself and the other who had been reconciled in prison. In the way to execution, he gave some alms according to his small ability, as he had done before to the poor prisoners in the castle: and being met in the street by Mr. King, the vicar of the town, who questioned him about his faith, he answered, I believe according to the faith of the holy catholic church. The vicar demanded further of him, how he meant to be saved ? He answered with his usual cheerfulness, not by your religion, Mr. King. But he further asking him, whether he meant to be saved by the merits of Jesus Christ? He sharply replied, Will you be accounted a divine, and ask me such a question ?
In the way to execution he carried in his hand a picture of Christ crucified, on which he had his eyes fixed; and frequently repeated to himself short ejaculatory prayers. When he came in sight of the gallows, he said, Gallows, thou dost not affright me; and coming to the place, he kissed the post. Some few ministers were there to importune him again in point of religion, but he regarded them not. The sheriff telling him, he was to be the first man to die, he most earnestly and devoutly recommended himself to the merciful hands of God, begging the prayers and intercession of the blessed virgin, his angel guardian, and
all the saints, especially St. John Baptist, it being the day of his decollation. And looking up at the executioner, who was busy in fastening the rope, but knew not readily how to do it right, he merrily called him by his name, and said, Tom, I think I must come and help thee. Such was his courage and serenity of mind upon the very brink of death. Then ascending the ladder, after divers short speeches of devotion, and repeating three or four times the holy names of Jesus and Mary, he was turned off, and so passed from this mortal life to a happy immortality, August 29, 1628.
The following declaration of his case was written by himself not long before he died.
• Whereas I have been an humble petitioner to his excellent majesty for a pardon for the death of one Henry Dewhurst, and his gracious pleasure was, that I should have a legal trial before that my pardon could pass; and trusting in the innocency of my cause, yielded my body, and put myself in trial before judge Yelverton; who did inform the jury that I was a recusant, and had resisted the bishop's authority, and that it must be found murder for an example. And, whereas, the jury, after learning the matter, was not willing to find the murder in me : three of them, whereof the foreman of the jury was one, went to the judge to his chamber after dinner, who took the foreman by the hand, and told him they must find it murder for an example. This did one of the jury testify unto me when I came from the bar, and did report to divers of my friends ; and he was one of the three that went to the judge. And now, whereas the judge hath certified my lord keeper, that it was so foul a murder as he did never hear of, upon which certificate my pardon is stayed, and my life I am certain to lose for the fact; wherefore, for the satisfaction of the world, and the clearing of my friends who have sued for my pardon, and especially for the queen's excellent majesty, who hath been an earnest suitor for my life ; the man had no hurt but only on his leg, which was found to be the cause of his death, and he confessed on his death bed, that he broke it himself, and this was given in evidence before the coroner, as may appear by the coroner's verdict, and the examination of witnesses taken before Sir Ralph Ashton and the coroner, which verdict and examination will appear contrary to the judge's certificate. And that the man had no mortal wound but only in his leg, and that I never gave him stroke, nor was within five or six yards of him when he received his hurt; all this will appear to be true by examinations and depositions taken before Sir Ralph Ashton and the coroner, which was all the evidence that came against me at the assizes ; All this I declare only for the satisfaction of the world, &c. All this I take on my death, as I hope to be saved, and for no hope of life. So far the declaration. The like is found in a letter written by him about the same time, to a person of honour.
He wrote also three letters to his ghostly father a little before his death, in the first he delivers himself in the following words :
DEAR AND REVEREND SIR,I received your letter with news of death, at which I am not much dismayed, I thank my Lord and Saviour ; the more malicious my enemies are, the greater is my comfort, for I do
constantly believe that my religion is the cause of their malice ; and my greatest desire is to offer my blood in so good a cause. And although my flesh be timorous and fearful, I yet find great comfort in spirit, in casting myself upon my sweet Saviour with a most servent love, when I consider what he hath done and suffered for me, and my greatest desire is to suffer with him; and I had rather choose to die a thousand deaths, than to possess a kingdom, and live in mortal sin ; for there is nothing so hateful to me as sin, and that only for the love of my Saviour. I do most constantly believe that he hath afflicted me to save me; and I trust I shall die truly humbled, for the which I desire your good prayers, that I may persevere to the end; for of myself I can do nothing without his grace.'
In the second he writes thus : • Now I am preparing for my soul, for the which I most humbly desire your good prayers, and likewise I desire you to commend my case to the prayers of some good priests and catholics; and I do freely offer myself into the hands of my sweet Saviour, neither desiring life nor death, but according to his blessed will, hoping that he will dispose all things for the good of my soul.'
In the third, written upon the very day of his execution, he speaks thus : Dear and reverend Sir, now I take my last leave; I am now dying, and am as willing to die as ever I was to live, I thank my Lord and Saviour, who, I trust, will never fail me. I have comfort in Christ Jesus, and his blessed mother, my good angel, and all the blessed saints; and I am much comforted in the valiant and triumphant martyr that is gone before me, and I do much trust in his good prayers. How I have been used, you will hear, and likewise, what I had offered to me, if I would have taken the oath. I hope my friends will truly understand, that my greatest desire is to suffer; and I would I had as many lives to offer as I have committed sins. Now, dear sir, prepare yourself also to suffer, and animate your ghostly children in suffering. Once again, I desire you to say, and to procure some masses for my sinful soul ; and if it please God to receive me into his kingdom, I shall not be unmindful of you, and of all my good friends. I pray you, remember my poor children, and encourage my friends about my debts ; and let it appear, that my greatest worldly care is to satisfy them as far as my means will extend. Once again, adieu : I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ Jesus. I trust we shall once meet in heaven, to our eternal comfort : now I take my last leave, this execution day, about eight o'clock, and commit you to Christ Jesus.'
These letters were published, with the relation of his death, in 1630. He left behind him, six young children, and his wife big with child.
From this year, till 1641, I find no more blood shed for religious matters, though as to other penalties, they were frequently inflicted upon priests and other catholics ; severe proclamations were issued out against them, heavy fines laid upon them, and the prisons filled with them ; insomuch, that in the compass of one year alone, there were at least twenty-six priests of divers orders, seized and committed to that one prison alone, called the Clink; to speak nothing of those that were elsewhere confined.
In the year 1640, John Goodman, priest, was tried and condemned,