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WILLIAM FREEMAN, PRIEST,*
MR. FREEMAN, who was sometime known by the name of Mason, was born in Yorkshire, and performed his studies in Douay college, during its residence at Rhemes. Here he was ordained priest, in 1587, and from hence he was sent upon the English mission in the beginning of 1589. The particulars of his missionary labours I have not been able to learn, nor could I any where meet with the account of his life and martyrdom, quoted by the bishop of Chalcedon to his catalogue. Dr. Champney, who, in all probability, had seen it, relates that Mr. Freeman having intelligence that a neighbouring justice of peace had a design to make a strict inquisition after priests in that neighbourhood, to withdraw himself further from the danger, went into another county. But as God would have it, he met the danger he sought to fly, and was there taken up upon suspicion, and committed to prison ; and afterwards prosecuted and condemned, on account of his priesthood, at the instance chiefly of the archbishop of Canterbury, Whitgift. When he heard the sentence pronounced against him, he sung Te Deum, &c. When he was drawn to the place of execution, he carried a crucifix on his breast, protesting aloud, That if he had many lives, he would most willingly lay them down for the sake of him, who had been pleased to die upon a cross for his redemption. When he came to the place of execution, where some others, for divers crimes, were also appointed to die that day, he petitioned that he might be the first to go up the ladder : but this was refused, the sheriff being in hopes that the sight of their death might terrify him, and bring him to a compliance, in which case his life was to be saved: but this sight, as he declared, had a contrary effect upon him, and only served to give him a more ardent desire of dying for Christ. So that, with the royal prophet, he cried out, As the hart desires after the fountains of water, so does my soul after thee my God. O! when shall I come and appear before thy face ! and so great was the joy of his heart, that it manifestly discovered itself in the serenity and cheerfulness of his countenance, to the admiration and edification of the beholders.
He was hanged, drawn, and quartered, at Warwick, the 13th of August, 1595. Bishop Yepez says in September, 1595.
Molanus, in his catalogue, signifies, that he suffered most cruel torments at, or before his death, p. 31. Gulielmus Freemannus Collegii Duaceni Presbyter, post varios cruciatus, et belluinam immanitatem heroice superatam, &c. William Freeman, priest of the college of Douay, died, after having heroically overcome divers torments, and the brutal cruelty of the persecutors.
1596.—This year is the first, since 1580, that passed without the execution of any priest in this kingdom ; and yet even this year could
* From the catalogue of the bishop of Chalcedon; from Dr. Champney's manuscript history, and from bishop Yepez, 1. 5.c. 9.
not pass without seeing some catholic blood shed for religious matiers : for I find no less than four catholic laymen put to death, as in cases of high treason, at York, in the latter end of November of this year, barely on a religious account. These were George Errington, gentleman, born at Herst, in Northumberland, William Knight, son of Leonard Knight, a wealthy yeoman of South Duffield, in the parish of Hemingbrough, in Yorkshire, William Gibson, yeoman, born near Rippon, in the same county, a most exemplary and religious man, who, for many years had been prisoner for his conscience in York Castle, and Henry Abbot, a zealous convert, who lived in Holden in the same county.
Now their case was as follows: a certain protestant minister, for some misdemeanor, was put into York Castle, where the three former of the persons above named, and several other catholics were prisoners for their recusancy : as, during a great part of this reign, most of the prisons of this kingdom were plentifully stocked with such kind of offenders. This unhappy man, to reinstate himself in the favour of his superiors, took a method that will be justly detested by all honest men of what persuasion soever, which was to insinuate himself into the good opinion of the catholic prisoners, by pretending a deep sense of repentance for his former life, and a great desire of embracing the catholic truth; so that they, believing him to be sincere, directed him, after he was enlarged, to Mr. Abbot, the zealous gentleman mentioned above, in order to procure a priest to reconcile him. Mr. Abbot used his endeavours, and carried him to Carlton, to the house of esquire Stapylton, but did not succeed. Soon after, the traitor, having got enough to put them all in danger of the law, acoused them to the magistrates, to show his zeal for the protestant religion So they were all arraigned for persuading the parson to be reconciled to the church of Rome, which is high treason by the sanguinary laws of this reign. Being brought to the bar, they confessed that they had, according to their capacity, explained to the traitor the catholic faith, and its necessity to salvation; and withal, had exhorted him to a serious amendment of his life, but had used no other persuasions. Upon this, they were all found guilty by the jury, and had sentence to die, and were executed at York.
They suffered with fortitude and joy, November 29, 1596.
Two catholic gentlewomen were, for the same cause, condemned at the same time to be burnt alive, viz: Mrs. Ann Tesse and Mrs. Bridget Maskew; but they were reprieved, and continued in prison till the queen's death; and then, by the means of friends, were pardoned by king James I. Mr. Stapylton also, and his lady, underwent great trouble upon this occasion.
The manuscript, from which I have the greatest part of these particulars, adds a very remarkable history with relation to Wm. Knight, uncle to the Willám Knight who suffered, and a great enemy of his nephew, and of all catholics, which I shall here set down in the writer's own words : • There happened in Hemingbrough parish, a thing worth memory, which was this; there was a catholic man who had been long confined in York Casle, for his conscience, and having procured liberty to return home, after many years' imprisonment, he went one time to visit an old man of his acquaintance, and perceiving him not likely to
live long, entered into some good talk with him concerning his soul, and used some persuasions to move him to provide for death, and the salvation of his soul, by making himself a catholic. This came to the knowledge of one William Knight, “ who was uncle to the other of that name, whom I have mentioned before, that was a martyr, and was the first cause of his nephew's imprisonment, and that upon this occasion : the good youth coming to man's estate, went to his uncle about some land that was due to him: whether his uncle had the land in his possession, or the writings, I remember not. But knowing his nephew to be a catholic, he took him and sent him to prison, where he remained till he got the crown of martyrdom. If he would have gone to church, his uncle would have given him his land." This bad William Knight, hearing of the good counsel this prisoner had given his neighbour, determined to bring him within the danger of the statute of persuasion, which is treason; and, for that end, took the minister of the parish with him, whose name was Knighton, and some others to be witnesses, determining to take the old man's oath, that the other had persuaded him. As they were going, Knight was forced to stay to untruss, and was in such manner handled, that he was obliged to turn back, so the minister and the rest, entertaining no such malice, returned without proceeding any farther. Knight's disease left him not till he died, which was within a short time ; how few days I am not certain. I had this from the minister himself, who acknowledged it to be God's just judgment upon him.' So far the manuscript.
WILLIAM ANDLEBY, OR ANDLABY, PRIEST.- 1597.*
WILLIAM ANDLEBY was a gentleman by birth, born at Etton, in Yorkshire, and brought up in the protestant religion, and in a great aversion to the church of Rome ; following withal the liberties of the world and the flesh, which are so much condemned by the old gospel, and so little restrained by the new. When he was about twenty-five years of age, his curiosity carried him abroad to see foreign countries. In his travels he came to Douay, where Dr. Allen had not long before instituted an English college or seminary for supplying England with pastoral missioners. Mr. Andleby had beard much of the man, and was desirous of seeing and conferring with him; making no doubt but he could convince him of the absurdity of the Roman catholic religion. Dr. Allen received him very courteously, and treated with him upon the controverted points of religion, with that strength of argument, joined with that candour and sweetness of temper, that Mr. Andleby was quite silenced and confounded ; however, though he acknowledged himself unable to answer, yet he would not yield up the cause, or consent to
* From the Douay diary, the bishop of Chalcedon's catalogue, Dr.and Champney's
embrace the catholic faith ; but, after some days' conference, took his leave of the doctor, with design of going to the wars, which the Hollanders were then engaged in against the king of Spain. The doctor told him, since he saw his conferences had not been able to conquer the hardness of his heart, he would try another means, which was, by having recourse to prayer, and imploring the almighty master of hearts, to vouchsafe to touch his with his divine grace, and open it to receive his saying truths; and so they parted.
Dr. Allen was as good as his word, recommending to God, by fervent prayer, this strayed sheep: when, behold! the wonderful change of the right-hand of the Most High! Mr. Andleby, of his own accord, returns the next morning bathed in tears, and desires of the doctor to be instructed and received into the catholic church. The doctor glorifying God for his wonderful work, received him with great joy; and as Mr. Andleby desired to make his confession to no other than Dr. Allen him'self
, he heard his general consession, and received him into his college ; where, after some year's probation, and an exemplary application to piety and learning, he was, at length, presented to holy orders, and was ordained priest, at the same time with Mr. Sherwin, Mr. Laurence Johnson, and others, by the bishop of Cambray, at Chateaux Cambresis, the 23d of March, 1577, and was sent upon the English mission the 14th of April, 1578; the last of those that went from Douay, before the removal of the college to Rhemes.
His missionary labours were in his own country of Yorkshire; and his zeal of souls was such, as to spare no pains, or fear no dangers, where he could be serviceable to any. For the first four years of his mission, he travelled always on foot, meanly attired, and carrying with him, usually in a bag, his vestments, and other utensils, for saying mass; for his labours lay chiefly amongst the poor, who were not stocked with such things. Afterwards, humbly yielding to the advice of his brethren, he used a horse, and went something better clad. Dr. Champney alledges, as an instance of his zeal and industry in helping souls, that whereas many catholics were kept prisoners for their conscience in Hull castle, and no one was allowed to have access to them, or speak to them, otherwise than in presence of the keeper, who was a bttter enemy of their religion ; Mr. Andleby and Mr. Atkinson (who afterwards suffered under king James I.) with incredible labour and danger, in spite of motes and walls, gates and bars, found means several times to come at them, and to comfort and assist them.
Wonderful was the austerity of his life in frequent watchings, fastings, and continual prayer. He never spoke but where the honour of God, and his neighbour's good, required it. His recollection was so great, that, even upon his journies, he was always in prayer, mental or vocal, with his soul so absorbed in God, that he often took no notice of those he met; by which means he sometimes was exposed to suspicions and dangers from the adversaries of his faith, into whose hands he fell, at length, after twenty years' labour in the vineyard of his Lord; and was condemned, barely on account of his character and functions, and hanged, drawn, and quartered, at York, on the 4th of July, 1597.
Thomas Warcop and Edward Fulthrop, Yorkshire gentlemen, were executed at the same time with Mr. Andleby; the former for having harboured or entertained Mr. Andleby in his house ; the latter for being reconciled to the catholic church.
1598.—This year, on the first of April, John Britton, gentleman, was executed at York, as in cases of high treason. He was born at Britton, in the west riding of Yorkshire, and being of old a zealous catholic, was, for a great part of his life, exposed to persecutions, on account of his conscience, and generally obliged to be absent from his wife and family to keep himself farther from danger. At length, being now advanced in years, he was falsely accused, by a malicious fellow, of having uttered some treasonable words against the queen; for which he was condemned to die. He refused to save his life by renouncing his faith, and thereupon was put to death.
PETER SNOW, PRIEST.*
PETER SNow was born at, or near, Rippon, in Yorkshire, says the Reverend Mr. Ralph Fisher, in his relation of him: but in the Douay catalogue he is marked down to have been of the diocese of Chester. He performed his higher studies at the college then residing at Rhemes, where he was made priest in 1591, and sent the same year upon the English mission. Here he laboured till 1598, when, going towards York, in company of Ralph Grimston, of Nidd, gentleman, about the feast of St. Philip and James, he was apprehended with the same gentleman. They were both shortly after arraigned and condemned: Mr. Snow, of treason, as being a seminary priest, and Mr. Grimston of felony, as being aiding and assisting to him; and, as it is said, lifting up his weapon to defend him
at the time of his apprehension. They both suffered at York, June 15, 1598.
JOHN JONES, ALIAS, BUCKLEY, PRIEST.-0. S. F.
JOHN JONES was born of a gentleman's family, in the parish of Clenock, in the county of Caernarvon. At what place he had his education, or where he was made priest, I have not yet found ; only I have seen a list of priests, prisoners in Wisbich castle, 1587, in which I meet with
* From a Douay manuscript, and the journal of the college.
+ From the bishop of Chalcedon's catalogue, Dr. Champney's manuscript history, and a relation of his death penned by father Garnet, and recorded by bishop Yepez. 1. 5. c. 10.