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religion to pray for him and with him : and he often repeated upon his knees, looking up towards heaven, In manus tuas, &c., and so with a sure hope, having commended himself to God, he protested he died a chaste maid, which he did acknowledge was Christ's special grace, and not his own ability or worthiness, and that he ever hated all carnal acts, and such sins for which the catholic religion or profession had been slandered; for which grace he rendered thanks to God. Then, I have been, saith he, indicted and accused that I was a priest, but I will neither confess nor deny the same; but at the last day, when all secrets are revealed, and Christ shall come in glory to judge the world, to whom I hope I am now going, he will then reveal what I am.' Then being ready to die, having stood long in his shirt, the weather being cold, and the morning frosty, yet showed he no shivering, nor once to quake, but most readily yielded his hands to be tied by the executioner; and the cart being ready to be drawn away, he asked if it were not good, or the fashion to have a handkerchief over his eyes? The people cried, Yes; one offering a foul one, which was refused. Mr. Almond said it was no matter : then a stander-by gave him a clean one, and tied it over his face, which still looked cheerful. Then he desired the executioner to give him a sign when the cart was to be drawn away,
that he might die with the name of his blessed Saviour Jesus, that sweet name of comfort, in his mouth.' He often repeated these words, In manus tuas Domine, &.c., and the sign being given, he cried, Jesu, Jesu, Jesu; and then hanging for about the space of three Pater-nosters, some of the standers-by pulling him by the legs to despatch his life ; he was cut down and quartered, his soul flying swiftly to Him that redeemed us all, for whose quarrel he protested he died. So far the MS,. written by an eye-witness.
As for Dr. King, bishop of London, who is supposed to have been the principal promoter of Mr. Almond's death ; instead of reaping any joy from the execution of this good priest, he is said to have been ever after a man of sorrows. And if we may believe what is confidently asserted by the catholic writers of those times, he was, before his death, favoured by a grace, seldom granted to persecutors, to become, himself, a catholic, and to die in the communion of that church, which he had cruelly persecuted. In the preface of a book, published in his name, after his death, and called, “The Bishop of London's Legacy:" he is introduced thus, addressing himself to our martyr. O happy Almond, who here upon earth, didst mask thyself under the name of Molineux! in thy blood, even in thy blood did I wash my hands : it was I that did further thy death. Be thou, O blessed saint, who now seest and hearest me, (Quid non vidit, qui videntum omnia vidit? What does he not see, who sees Him that sees all things?) be thou, I say, out of thy seraphical charity, as propitious to pray for the remitting of that crying sin, as I am ready to acknowledge the sin: and let thy blood (guilty of no other treason than in not being a traitor to Christ and his church) not resemble the blood of Abel, which cried for revenge against his brother, but rather the blood of Christ, which prayed for pardon of his crucifiers.' Epistle to the reader, p. 10, 11.-Mr. Almond suffered at Tyburn, December the 5th, 1612, in the 45th year of his age, the eleventh of his mission.
JOHN MAWSON-THOMAS ATKINSON.
JOHN MAWSON, LAYMAN.
I FIND this name in the list of those that suffered this year for the catholic religion: but with little or no particulars. He was apprehended whilst he was actually hearing mass : but as this is not capital, by our laws, he must have suffered on some other charge. Whether it was for being reconciled to the Roman catholic church ; or for assisting priests ; or for being instrumental in the conversion of others, &c., my short memoirs do not inform me : only that he suffered at Tyburn, upon the penal statutes then in force against the English catholics.
This year, 1612, according to B. W. in his manuscript concerning the English Benedictine congregation, Thomas Hill, D. D. who from a seminary priest, educated in the colleges of Rhemes and Rome, became a monk of the said congregation, was condemned to die for his priestly character ; but was not executed. He died afterwards, at Douay in 1644, in the 84th year of his age, the 53d of his priesthood, and the 33d of his religious profession. He was the author of a little book of motives to the catholic religion, entitled, A Quartron of Reasons, S.C., which archbishop Abbot undertook to answer.
During the three following years, 1613, 1614, and 1615, though the catholics were still great sufferers, on account of their recusancy, by heavy fines, close imprisonments, &c., yet I find none put to death for their religion. In the latter end of 1615, I find in the Douay diary, Mr. Smith, Mr. Blount, and Mr. Brown, priests, sent into banishment from Wisbich castle, and in the same year, father Robert Edmonds, O. S. B. died a prisoner for his faith, in the Gatehouse. But in the year 1616, the sword of persecution was again unsheathed, and no less than four priests, and one layman, were put to death upon the penal statutes.
THOMAS ATKINSON, PRIEST.–1616. *
Thomas ATKINSON was born in the East-Riding of Yorkshire, and educated in Douay college, during its residence at Rhemes, where he was ordained priest, as appears by the college diary, in 1588, and sent the same year upon the English mission. His missionary labours were employed in his native country, where, for near 30 years, he faithfully and zealously discharged every part of the duty of an apostolic pastor. • In recalling many, says my author, to the catholic faith ; in diligently visiting his flock, which were numerous, and spread in many distant places, to confirm them with the sacraments, to encourage them, and push them forward to the practices of virtue, and to arm them against the deceits and fury of their adversaries ; travelling always on foot ; frequently passing whole nights without sleep, either employed in the
From a letter sent over to Douay by a missionary priest in 1616, giving an account of the death of Mr. Atkinson, and the others that suffered that year, published the tol lowing year at Douay, under the title of Exeinplar Literarum, &r, pga 13. Item from two manuscripts in my hands.
functions of his ministry, or in his journeys; for by serving the same parts of the country for so many years, he was become so well knowo to the heretics, that he could not safely travel by day. Till at length, it pleased the divine Majesty, to reward these labours of his servant, and his tears, which he continually shed in prayer, and his most holy life by a glorious and triumphant death.'
Of Mr. Atkinson and his labours, thus also writes the lady Babthorpe, his cotemporary, in a manuscript which I have before me. • There was a good priest
, one Mr. Atkinson, in our country, who lived long in doing great service to God : taking great pains in serving the poor, who, without such pains, could not have had those helps and comforts that they stood in need of in that time. For divers years, he travelled afoot, enduring all weathers; and many times, when he had a weary and wet day, the houses to which he went, could not receive him in ; but he was obliged to stay in some out-house or corner, being both wet and cold, and even in the time of frost and snow, so long, till the owners of the houses could receive him in with safety. "This he used so long, that in a great frost, he got a fall and broke his leg; in the cure of which he suffered much, lighting on a bad surgeon. Yet after his recovery, he used his former charity and pains ; but not being able 10 travel much on foot, he had a horse to help him. In this man, God showed wonderful things at his taking and imprisonment.-One was, that his irons fell off his legs, when the keeper had fastened them on; which being reported to the lord Sheffield, who was the president of the North, he sent to the keeper to know if it were true, who confessed the truth. Another charity the good man used, was, when he came to poor folks houses, he would not let them be at any charge, but both found himself meat and them ; and gave them money 100 : so what he received from those that were able, he bestowed on the poor.
His apprehension and death, is thus briefly related, in a manuscript sent me from St. Omer's, writien the same year that he suffered, and agreeing perfectly with the printed account published at Douay.
• A venerable priest called Mr. Atkinson, a man of 70 years of age, or more, who had laboured in this yineyard about 30, (rather 28) years, in the province of York, going always on foot, and for the most part, by night, from one catholic house to another, to help. consess, and administer the holy sacraments; in this present year of our Lord, 1616, coming to the house of a catholic gentleman, “ Mr. Vavasour of Willitoft, ” was espied by a heretic, and suspected to be a priest; who maliciously advertised some officers of it: and they coming with all speed, met the said priest coming from the catholic house, and apprehended him ; carrying him with the gentleman, his wife and children, guarded with armed men, to the city of York. Where “it being the time of the assizes,” he was brought before the president and the judges there present. They examined him, Whether he was a priest or no? Which ihe holy man would not acknowledge, for fear of endangering the goods and lives of the gentleman, and his wife and children, « who had harboured him ;" yet would not directly deny, because he would not say any thing that might have any colour or appearance of untruth. Yet the judges, having no other proof or witness, condemned him to death, and gave sentence on him as a traitor.
• They found about him at his apprehension a pair of beads, some blessed grains, with a copy of indulgences granted by his holiness, which they there read publicly to the people, laughing and scoffing at them, and saying a thousand untruths of the use of them, as heretics are accustomed ; and by reason they found these things about him, they were confirmed in their opinion that he was a priest, and thereupon impanelled a jury and condemned him. And on the 11th of March, according to our style, he was drawn upon a hurdle from the prison to the place of execution, where he had his life offered him if he would take the oath, which he constantly refusing, was turned off the ladder, and being half dead, was cut down by the executioner, “ dismembered, bowelled, and quartered ;" all which he suffered with wonderful patience, courage and constancy, and signs of great comfort, seeing that now fulfilled in him which he had so long desired, not without some foreknowledge, by vision, from God, as himself secretly discovered to some friends that were with him in the saine prison, where, at this present are remaining about eighty other catholics, condemned most of them in a premnunire, that is to say, the loss of all their goods, and perpetual imprisonment.
• Á certain young man, a catholic, having a desire to get some relics of this holy martyr, bought of the hangman his stockings, which a protestant espying, caused the young man to be examined by the magistrate ; and being found to be a catholic, and the servant of a catholic gentleman, they sent him to prison, where he remains and suffers with the rest.
• After the condemnation and death of this holy man, the judges and justices of the assizes, perceiving their proceedings not to be pleasing io the people, (having condemned him against all law, without either wilness, or other substantial proof, only for having beads about him, and because he would not directly deny himself to be a priest,) endeavoured to satisfy the world, by producing afterwards a base wicked fellow, who witnessed before them, that the party condemned was a priest, and that he had sometimes seen him say mass. Mr. Atkinson suffered at York, March 11, 1615-16.
His Latin life, printed at Douay, 1617, confirms the truth of that extraordinary event, of his irons falling off his legs, when he was employed in prayer, as a thing well known and attested by many ; as also the vision he had before his apprehension, in which our blessed Lady revealed to him that he should glorify her Son, by suffering for his cause a cruel martyrdom.
JOHN THULIS, PRIEST, AND ROGER WRENNO, OR
John Thulis was born in Lancashire, at a place called Up-Holland, and performed the greatest part of his studies abroad in Douay college,
• From a printed account of their martyrdom, published at Douay in 1617, and from a manuscript in iny hands.
during its residence at Rhemes ; from whence, being now a student in divinity and in holy orders, he was sent to Rome, where he was made priest. After his return to England he fell into the hands of the adversaries of his faith, and was for many years a close prisoner in Wisbich castle; when, or how he escaped, or was released from thence, I have not found, but for the latter part of his time he seems to have exercised his missionary functions in his own country; at least there he was apprehended by order of William, earl of Derby, and committed prisoner in the county jail of Lancaster.
His Latin life, printed at Douay the year after his execution, informs us, that God Almighty had prepared this his servant for the crown of martyrdom, by many trials and crosses, which he had underwent with a wonderful courage and tranquillity of mind; and that once when he was brought to death's door by extremity of sickness, and had received all the rites of the church, he was divinely admonished that he was not to die that time, but to look for a more glorious death by martyrdom; that he was a man exceedingly mortified in his life ; and who had acquired so great a command of his passions, that, though by nature he was of a choleric disposition, he had so far overcome himself, that even in the midst of calumnies and lies, which were unjustly cast upon him, he behaved with that temper and meekness, and so moderated all his words, as if nothing had come out of his mouth but what had been well studied and meditated beforehand : insomuch that one of the judges, who sat upon him at his trial, was heard to say in the company of many gentlemen, that he had scarce met in all the north of England with a man of so much modesty, prudence, and temper.
In the same prison of Lancaster castle, where Mr. Thulis was confined, among other catholics, there was one Roger Wrenno, or Worren, a weaver by trade, but a zealous and devout soul. These two not long before the lent assizes, 1616, found means to make their escape out of prison about five in the evening; and making the best of their way, as they imagined, from that time till the next day, walking all that while a good round pace; when they thought they were now about thirty miles from Lancaster, they found themselves to be very near that town, God's holy will designing for them there the crown of martyrdom. So being discovered at sun rising in that neighbourhood, they were apprehended, and brought back again to their lodgings in the castle, where they were sure to be better looked to for the future. Soon after this, the assizes came on, when they were both brought to their trial, and both condemned. Mr. Thulis was sentenced to die as in cases of high treason, for being a priest, and exercising his priestly functions in this realm; and the weaver as in cases of felony, for relieving and assisting priests. Yet they both of them had their lives offered them, if they would take the new oath of allegiance; and as to Mr. Thulis, a gentleman of that country, (Mr. Ashton, of Leaver,) who was his godson, proffered him £40 a year for his life, if he would comply; but they both constantly refused the oath, as inconsistent with truth and their conscience.
The day appointed for their execution was the 18th of March, when Mr. Thulis was brought out of the castle, and laid upon a hurdle, in order to be drawn to the gallows. As he took his last leave of his