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CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON—RICHARD HORNER. 215
CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON, PRIEST. »
Mr. Robinson was born at Woodside, in the county of Cumberland, and was a priest of Douay college, during its residence at Rhemes. He was ordained, and sent upon the English mission in 1592. His missionary labours seem to have been in his own country; where, at length, he was apprehended, and committed to prison. During his confinement, he had some conferences with the then bishop of Carlise, whose name also was Robinson. This protectant prelate, expressed a great deal of good nature, in regard to his namesake, and spared no pains to bring him over to the new religion, by persuasions and promises; but this generous soul was proof against all his allurements and fair speeches, and remained constant in his faith. He was sentenced to die, as in cases of high treason, barely on account of his being a Roman catholic priest, and exercising his functions in this nation. His meek behaviour at the place of execution, the sweetness of his words, and of his countenance, and the constancy and cheerfulness with which he died, touched the hearts of many of the spectators, and was the occasion of many conversions.
He suffered at Carlisle, August the 19th, 1598.
RICHARD HORNER, PRIEST, f
Richard Horner was born at Bolton-Bridge in Yorkshire, and was educated in Douay college; where he was made priest, soon after the return of that community from Rhemes to Douay, viz: in 1595; and from thence, was sent, that same year, upon the English mission; where, falling into the hands of the adversaries of his faith, he was arraigned and condemned, merely as a catholic priest; and after having suffered much in prison, was executed at York, as in cases of high treason.
He suffered with great courage and constancy, September 4, 1598.
1599.—In this year, most of our catalogues of martyrs, place the death of Matthias Harrison, priest, who by some, is confounded with Mr. Harrison, who suffered at York, in 1602 : but the lists of the priests ordained and sent from Douay college distinguishes them, and call the latter, James Harrison, of the diocese of Litchfield, ordained in 1583, and sent from Rhemes upon the mission in 1584; whereas the former, is there called Matthias Harrison, of the diocese of York, and was ordained, after the return of the college to Douay, in 1597; and from thence sent, the same year, upon the mission. Dr. Champney, in his manuscript, also distinguishes them, and tells us, that Mr. Matthias was
* From Dr. Champney's manuscript, and the bishop of Chalcedon's catalogue, t From the same manuscript and catalogue.
this year hanged, bowelled, and quartered, at York, barely on account of his priestly character.
This year, also, I find two of the laity executed for religious matters, viz: Mr. John Lion, who was hanged, bowelled, and quartered, at Okeham, in Rutland, July 16, for denying the queen's spiritual supremacy. "Catalog. Chalced. citans acta martirii ejus, and relationes fide dignorum ex certa scientia." And Mr. James Doudal, an Irish merchant, native of Wexford, who, for the same cause, was hanged, bowelled, and quartered, at Exeter, August 13. Whose burying place, says his countryman, John Mullen, of Cork, is said to be illustrated with divine miracles to this day, p. 93. Appendix to his Idea togatse constantix.
CHRISTOPHER WHARTON, PRIEST. 1600.
Christopher Wharton was born at Middleton, in Yorkshire, and brought up in Trinity College, Oxon; of which college, he was some time fellow; and there also took the degree of master of arts: but preferring the old religion before the new, he left Oxford, and went over to Rhemes, where the English college then resided; and, after some time, he was made priest by the Cardinal de Guise, then archbishop of that city, March 31, 1584 ; and from thence was sent upon the English mission, in 1586. He is much commended by Dr. Worthington, in his account of sixteen Martyrs, p. 81, for his humility, charity, and other great virtues, which God was pleased to reward with the crown of martyrdom. When, or how, he was apprehended, I have not learnt; but that he was taken in the house of Mrs. Eleanore Hunt, widow; who for harbouring him, was also committed prisoner to York Castle, where 1 find them both, in 1599.
Mr. Whar.on was brought upon his trial in the Lent Assizes, 1600, and indicted for being a seminary priest, and returning into the realm contrary to the statute of Elizabeth 27. He acknowledged himself to be a priest; but added, that he was so, as indeed he was, before that statute was made, leaving it to his accusers to prove when he was ordained priest: for, considering his age, he might, for ought they knew, have been ordained before the first year of queen Elizabeth, and consequently be out of the danger of that statute. At his trial, many odious things were objected against the pope, cardinals, missionary priests, and catholics in general; whom they were pleased to charge with idolatry, superstition, treasons, and what not. All which charges
• From a printed relation of sixteen martyrs, published by Dr. Thomas Worthington, in 1601; from the Douay diaries and catalogues, and from Dr. Chanipney s manuscript.
Mr. Wharton assured them, were unjust slanders; and withal, quite impertinent to the indictment, and the question upon which his life depended, which was to know the time when he was made priest* And, as to the dissentions between the jesuits and the seminary priests, which they also objected and amplified, he answered briefly, 'that in the catholic Roman religion, (which he professed, and for which he was ready to die,) there is neither idolatry, nor superstition, nor falsehood, nor contrariety of doctrine: and though there are dissentions sometimes amongst the catholics, either priests or others, yet these differences are not in articles of their faith, but in other matters ; as of some particular jurisdiction, right or title, spiritual or temporal, and the like: and that, for his own part, he had no such controversy with any catholic, nor breach of charity with any person whatever.'
As to the point concerning the time of his ordination, after a few conjectures which proved nothing, Mr. Saville, baron of the exchequer, (who was also his judge,) affirming that he knew him in Oxford some years after the time mentioned in the statute, and that he was not then taken for a priest, the jury was directed to find him guilty of the indictment; and he was condemned of high treason. Mrs. Hunt also was condemned of felony, for receiving him into her house; as if she also had known him in Oxford to have been no priest, and to have been made priest afterwards, whereas, indeed, she knew not at all, till a litile time before he was apprehended in her house. She utterly refused to save her life by going to the protectant church; but though she was sentenced to die, and lost all her worldly substance, yet she did not suffer, as was expected, but was permitted to linger away in prison, under the benefit, as it was called, of a reprieve.
Mr. Wharton had also the usual baits offered him of life, liberty, and promotion, if he would conform, which he generously rejecting, suffered death according to sentence, with great constancy, at York, the 28th of March, being Easter-Week, 1600.
JOHN RIGBY, GENTLEMAN."
John Rioby was a younger son of Nicholas Rigby, a gentleman of an ancient family, of Harrock, in the parish of Eccleston, in Lancashire, whose circumstances being narrow, obliged him to take to service, where, through human frailty, (though he was always a catholic in his heart,,) he sometimes went to the protestant church; for which he afterwards heartily repented, and confessing himself to Mr. Jones, alias Buckley, then a prisoner, was by him reconciled to God, and from that time, lived a very exemplary life, and was the instrument of the reconciliation of divers others, and, amongst the rest, of his own father, in his old age. Whilst he was in the service of Sir Edmond Huddlestone, his daughter, Mrs. Fortesque, widow, was summoned to the Sessionshouse in the Old Baily, for causes of religion; and she being sick, and not able to appear, sent by Mr. Rigby to testify the same for her in that court. Upon which occasion Sir Richard Martin, one of the commissioners, who had for some time entertained a grudge against Mr. Rigby, began to question him concerning his own religion, and finding him to be a catholic, and that he refused to go to church, or take the oath of the queen's supremacy, he, with the lord mayor, and the rest of the commissioners, ordered him to Newgate. The next day he was again examined in the Sessions-house by the lord chief justice, where he again professed his religion, and withal acknowledged, That he had some limes gone to the protestant church, though he was always, in heart, a catholic; but being convinced in his own conscience, that this way of acting was not consistent with his soul's salvation, he had been reconciled by Mr. Buckley, in the Clink, and for two or three years had not gone to church. To which examination, the lord chief justice caused him to set his hand. What follows, is an abstract of an account written by himself in prison, of his trial and examinations.
* From Dr. Worthington's printed account of his martyrdom, published the fallowing year.
'Then my lord commanded the keeper to take me, and to put on me an iron chain; which, when it came, 1 willed him to put it on in God's name, and said aloud,—1 would not change my chain, for my lord mayor's great chain; and I gave the fellow six pense for his pains. By-and-by, my lord chief justice sent me word to provide myself, for I was to be arraigned forthwith. 1 bid the messenger tell his lordship,— I never heard so good news in my life before; and so I was commanded to the common jail. But (expecting every day to be arraigned) the Tuesday following I was removed to the White Lion, in Southwark, and was there quiet, till the 3d of March. "N. B. He was first examined and committed on the 14th of February, 1599-1600." And Wednesday the 3d of March, in the common sessions, with a number of felons, I was brought to my trial. In the forenoon 1 was called, and appeared; but nothing was said to me. When the justice went to dinner, we also went home to prison; and being at dinner, justice Gaudy sent his man for me, and I went willingly with my keeper: and so coming to them at justice Dale's house, where the judges dined, justice Gaudy called me to him, and asked my name, which 1 told him. Were not you committed by lord chief justice, and examined by him? Yea, my lord. You know your own hand? so he showed me my hand; and I said, this is my hand: I pray you give me leave to speak for myself. You shall, said he; I well perceive you have thought better of the matter. I am told by one of my lord of Canterbury's gentlemen, that you are now sorry for what you have done, and willing to become a good subject, and go to church. If you will so do, her majesty is merciful. How say you? Will yon go to church now ?—No, my lord. Good my lord, whosoever informed your lordship, that ever I did yet yield in any point of my profession, was not my friend, nor ever had any consent thereto. I assure you, my lord, I am a true subject, and obedient to her majesty, and her laws, in any thing which may not hurt my conscience: but to say that I will go to church, I never will. Yea, rather than your lordships should have any light suspicion of me of such a consent, take my lirst answer as it is; there is my hand, here is my whole body, most ready I am, and willing, to seal it with my blood. We were told, said one of the judges, you were a simple young man, and willing to recant; but we see now, thou art a resolute, wilful fellow, and there is no remedy, but law must proceed. Let me have law, in the name of Jesus: God's will be done.
'The next day, being Thursday, we went again to the sessions at St. Margaret's Hill, where about two in the afternoon, I was called to the bar. About an hour after, I was called again, and bidden to hold up my hand; which I did. My indictment was read, and it was a sharp one. Then my lord bid me speak: and I answered, briefly, in this manner:
1st. 'Whereas, 1 am charged in my indictment, that I was reconciled; it is very true; to God Almighty I so was, and I think lawfully might be; and, as I remember, it is also allowed in your book of common prayer, in the visitation of the sick, that if any man find himself burthened in conscience, he should make his confession to the minister; which confession manifesteth a breach between God and his soul; and, by this humble confession, he craveth pardon of his sins, and reconciliation to God again, by the hands of his minister.
2dly. 'Whereas, 1 am charged, that I was reconciled from my obedience to her majesty, and to the Romish religion. I will depose the contrary; for I was never reconciled from any obedience to my princess, for I obey her still; nor to any religion, for although I sometimes went to church against my will, yet was I never of any other religion than the catholic, and therefore needed no reconciliation to religion.
3dly. 'Whereas, in my former answers, \ said I went to church, it is true, for fear of temporal- punishment I so did, but never minded to fall from the old religion, and therefore needed no reconciliation.
4thly and lastly. 'I humbly beseech your good lordships, as you will answer it before God, to explicate the meaning of the statute to the jury: if the meaning thereof be to make it treason for a man fallen into the displeasure of God, through his sins, to be reconciled to God again, by him to whom God hath committed the authority of reconciliation? if this be treason, God's will be done.
* Then said both the judges, it was by a Romish priest, and therefore treason. I answered, it was by a catholic priest, who had the liberty of the prison, and was free for any man to come to him to relieve him; and, therefore, by the statute, no treason. Again, my lords, if it be not inquired of within a year and a day, there can be no advantage taken against me by this statute, if you wrong me not. Whereto replied one that sat under the judge; all this will not serve thy turn, for the jury must find it treason. Nay then, Sir, said I, if it must be, let it be; God's will be done. Then said justice Gaudy her majesty and her laws are merciful; if you will yet conform yourself, and say here, before the jury go forth, that you will go to church, we will proceed no farther. My lord, said I, if that be all the