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RALPH CROKETT AND EDWARD JAMES, PRIESTS.»
Ralph Crokett was born at Barton, upon the hill in Cheshire, performed his studies at Rhemes, and was an alumnus and priest of the college then residing in that city: from whence, he was sent upon the English mission in 1585. The particulars of his missionary labours, or of his apprehension and trial, I have not found, only, that he was prosecuted and condemned upon the penal statute of 27 Elizabeth, and had sentence to die, as in cases of high treason, barely upon account of his priestly character and functions.
He was drawn, hanged, bowelled, and quartered, at Chichester, October 1, 1588.
Edward James was born at Braiston, in Derbyshire, and was, for some time, student in the college of Rhemes; from whence, he was sent to Rome, 158S. Here he was made priest; and from hence he was sent upon the English mission. He was apprehended, prosecuted, and condemned, barely upon account of his priestly character; and was hanged, bowelled, and quartered, on the same day, and at the same place, with Mr. Crokett.
Their quarters were set upon poles over the gates of the city; through one of which a catholic man passing early in the morning, found one of these quarters which had fallen down, which, by the size, was judged to be Mr. Crockett's, (he having been a tall man, whereas, Mr. James was of low stature.) This quarter was carried off, and sent over to Douay, where I have seen it.
JOHN ROBINSON, PRlEST.f
Mr. Robinson was born at Fernsby, in the North Riding of Yorkshire. His character, in Dr. Champney is, that he was a man of extraordinary christian simplicity and sincerity; in a word, a true Israelite, in whom there was no guile. After having lived some time in the world, in a married state, becoming a widower by the death of his wife, he went over to Rhemes, where the college then was; and there applying himself to his studies, was, at length, made priest, and sent upon the mission. He no sooner came to England, than he was apprehended in the very port, and sent up to London; where, after some months imprisonment, he was brought to the bar, and condemned to die upon account of his priestly character. Dr. Champney relates of him, that he was used to say, If he could not dispute for his faith, as well as some others, he could die for it as well as the best. He was sent down to suffer at Ips
* From the bishop of Clialeedon's catalogue, and the Douay Journals. + from the Douay catalogues, Champney's manuscript, and the relation of the Reverend Mr. Joseph Haynes.
wich, in Suffolk, where he was hanged, bowelled, and quartered, October 1, 1588. Concerning him, thus writes the Reverend Mr. Haynes, Mr. John Robinson, a secular priest, being, in the year 1588, prisoner in the Clink at London, when the rest that had been there prisoners with him (whom he called his bairns, and they, for his age and sincerity, called him father,) were, for the catholic faith, sent into divers parts of the kingdom to be executed; the good old man, being left alone, lamented for divers days together exceedingly, until at last, a warrant was sent from the council to execute him also. The news whereof, did much revive him; and to him that brought the warrant, he gave his purse, and all his money, and fell down on his knees and gave God thanks. Being to set forward in his journey, they willed him to put on boots; for it was in winter, and as far as Ipswich in Suffolk, where he was sent to suffer. Nay, said the good man, these legs had never boots on yet, since they were mine, and now surely they shall perform this journey without boots, for they shall be well paid for their pains.'
He left behind him, a son, Francis Robinson, who was also a priest, and a true heir of his father's virtue.
The next that occur, in the catalogues of those that suffered this year, 1588, are Mr. Hartley and Mr. Weldon; of whom Mr. Stow, in his Chronicle, writes thus; 'The 5th of October, J. Weldon and W. Hartle)'-, made priests, at Paris, and remaining here contrary to the statute, were hanged, the one at the Mile's-End, the other nigh the theatre; and Robert Sutton, for being reconciled to the see of Rome, was hanged at Clerkenwell.
WILLIAM HARTLEY AND JOHN WELDON, PRIESTS.*
William Hartley was born in the diocese of Litchfield, performed his higher studies in the college of Rhemes; from whence, he was sent priest upon the English mission, anno 1580. Mr. Stow says, he was ordained at Paris, which may very well be; for the superiors of the college had an indult from the pope, to present their alumni for holy orders, to any of the bishops of the province of Rhemes, or Sens, one of which, the bishop of Paris was at that time. Mr. Hartley had not laboured above a twelvemonth, in the vineyard of his Lord, before he was apprehended in the house of Lady Stoner, and carried prisoner to the Tower, August the 13th, 1581, together with Mr. John Stoner and Mr. Steven Brinkley, lay gentlemen. Here he was confined till September 16, 1582, and then, was translated from the Tower to another prison, where he remained till January, 1585; when, with about twenty
* From the Dourv diary and catalogues, and from the journal of things transacted in the Tower, from 1560 till 1585.
other priests, he was shipped off into banishment. Upon this occasion he returned to Rhemes, to the college; but after some short stay there, set out again for England, being more afraid of being wanting to the cause of God, and the salvation of souls, than of a cruel death, which he was certainly to look for, if he fell again, as most probably he would, into the hands of the persecutors. In effect, he was again apprehended, some time in or before the year 1588, and then brought upon his trial, and condemned to die, upon account of his priestly character. He was executed near the theatre. October 5, 1588, his mother looking on, as Raissius relates, "Catalog. Martyr Anglo Duac, p. 52," and rejoicing exceedingly, that she had brought forth a son, to glorify God by such a death.
On the same day, John Weldon, priest "of the college of Douay, according to Champney and Molanus," condemned for the same cause, was drawn to Mile's-End-Green, and there executed. About the same time, (some say the same day,) Richard Williams, a venerable priest, who had been ordained in England, before the change of religion, was also, for religious matters, hanged at Holloway, near London.
Robert Sutton, layman, suffered on the same day at Clerkenwell. The cause of his death, was purely his religion, viz: because he had been reconciled to the church of Rome. His life was offered him, at the gallows, if he would acknowledge the queen's ecclesiastical supremacy, as I learn from the copy of a letter, which I have in my hands, written by Mr. William Naylor, who was an eye-witness of his death. 'I saw says he, one Mr. Sutton, a layman, and a schoolmaster, put to death at Clerkenwell, in London; to whom the sheriff promised to procure his pardon, if he would but pronounce absolutely the word all; for he would that he should acknowledge the queen to be supreme head in all causes, without any restriction; but he, " Mr. Sutton," would acknowledge her to be supreme head in all causes temporal, and for that he would not pronounce the word all, without any restriction, he was executed. This I heard and saw.' So for Mr. Naylor.
JOHN HEWIT AND EDWARD BURDEN, PRIESTS.*
These two were both priests of Douay college, during its residence at Rhemes. The former fell into the hands of the adversaries of his faith whilst he was as yet only deacon, and was sent into banishment in 1585, when returning to Rhemes, be was made priest, and sent upon the mission. The latter, who was a native of the bishoprick of Durham, and educated in Trinity college, Oxford, was made priest in 1584, an^l sent into England in 1586. They were both condemned upon account of their priesthood, and were hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, the former on the 5th of October, the latter on the 29th of November, 1588.
* From the Douay diaries and catalogues.
This same year also, William Lampley, layman, suffered at Gloucester, for the catholic religion.
JOHN AMIAS AND ROBERT DALBY, PRIESTS.—1589.*
John Amias, (some call him Ann,) was a native of Yorkshire, an alumnus of Douay college during its residence at Rhemes, where he was made priest the 25th of March, 1581, and sent upon the English mission on the 5th of June of the same year, together with Mr. Edmund Sykes.
Robert Dalby was a native of the Bishoprick of Durham, an alumnus also and priest of the same cellege, sent upon the mission in 1588. They both fell into the hands of the persecutors, and were condemned to die the death of traitors, upon account of their priestly character. They suffered together at York, on the 16th of March, 1588-9. Dr. Champney, in his manuscript history, " ad annum Elizab., 31," gives the following account of them. 'This year, on the 16th of March, John Amias and Robert Dalby, priests of the college of Douay, suffered at York, as in cases of high treason, for no other cause but that they were priests, ordained by the authority of the see of Rome, and had returned into England, and exercised there their priestly functions for the benefit of the souls of their neighbours. I was myself an eye-witness of the glorious combat of these holy men, being at that time a young man, in the twentieth year of my age; and I returned home confirmed by the sight of their constancy and meekness, in the catholic faith, which, by God's grace, I then followed, for there visibly appeared in those holy servants of God, so much meekness, joined with a singular constancy, that you would easily say, that they were lambs led to the slaughter.
'They were drawn about a mile out of the city to the place of execution, where being arrived, and taken off the hurdle, they prostrated themselves upon their faces to the ground, and there employed some time in prayer, till the former, "Mr. Amias," being called upon by the sheriff, rose up, and, with a serene countenance, walked to the gallows and kissed it: then kissing the ladder, went up. The hangman, having fitted the rope to his neck, bid him descend a step or two lower, affirming, that by this means he would suffer the less. He then, turning to the people, declared, " That the cause of his death was not treason, but religion; but here he was interrupted, and not suffered to go on. Therefore, composing himself for death, with his eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, forgiving all who had any ways procured his death, and praying for his persecutors, he recommended his soul to God, and being flung off the ladder, quietly expired, for he was suffered to hang so long till he seemed to be quite dead. Then he was cut down, dismembered and bowelled, his bowels cast into a fire that was prepared hard
* From the Douay diary, the bishop of Chalcedon'* catalogue, and the manuscript history of Dr. Champney, who was an cye-witneas of their death.
by for that purpose, his head cut off, and the trunk of his body quartered. Ail this while his companion, " Mr. Dalby," was most intent on prayer; who, being called upon, immediately followed the footsteps of him that had gone before him, and obtained the like victory. The sheriff's men were very watchful to prevent the standers by from gathering any of their blood, or carrying off any thing that had belonged to them. Yet one, who appeared to me to be a gentlewoman, going up to the place where their bodies were in quartering, and not without difficulty making her way through the crowd, fell down upon her knees before the multitude, and, with her hands joined, and eyes lifted up to heaven, declared an extraordinary motion and affection of soul. She spoke also some words which I could not hear for the tumult and noise. Immediately a clamour was raised against her as an idolatress; and she was drove away, and whether or no she was carried to prison, I could not certainly understand.' So far Dr. Champney.
GEORGE NICOLS AND RICHARD YAXLEY, PRIESTS.*
George Nicols was a native of Oxford, and an alumnus and priest of Douay college, during its residence at Rhemes; from whence he was sent upon the mission, in 1583. My author gives him the character of a man of extraordinary virtue and learning, and of a zealous and laborious missioner, who, during the six years of his mission, was the happy instrument, in the hands of God, of the conversion of many souls. His mission was chiefly in and about Oxford: where, amongst other pious adventures, the writers of his life particularly take notice of the reconciliation of a noted highwayman, who being apprehended and committed to Oxford castle, was, by the conversation of some catholics, who were prisoners there for their religion, brought to a sense of his crimes, and a desire of confessing them, and dying in the catholic faith; insomuch that he did nothing else, night and day, but bewail his sins, longing for the hour when he might cast himself at the feet of a catholic priest to confess them. His catholic fellow prisoners found means to acquaint Mr. Nicols with these particulars; and failed not to instruct their convert how to prepare himself for a visit from this gentleman; who, on the very morning of the day of execution (no opportunity offering before) came to the jail, together with a crowd of others, whose curiosity brought them to see this famous malefactor before his death; and passing for a kinsman and acquaintance of the prisoner, after mutual salutations, he took him aside, as it were to comfort and encourage him, and heard his confession, for which he had prepared himself by spending the whole night before in prayers and tears; and which he
* From the Douay catalogues and Father Ribadaneira, in his appendix to Dr. Saunders, chap. 3, from the bishop of Tarrasona's history of the persecution, book V., chap. 3, and from Dr. Champney's Manuscript.