Friday, August 19, 2011

Hugh Green, English Martyr

Hugh Green was born in 1584 of Protestant parents; he took his degree at Cambridge in 1605, but then converted to Catholicism and went to Douai to study for the priesthood in 1610. He tried his vocation as a Capuchin, but left that order and was ordained in 1612.

In England he served the Catholics of Dorchester and was given refuge by Lady Blanche Arundell of Lanherne. Just before the beginning of the Civil War, Charles I passed another law making the presence of Catholic priests in England a crime punishable by death. Although Hugh Green intended to leave England under this ban, he was too late.

He was captured near Lyme Regis, imprisoned and then executed on August 19, 1642. The story of his execution is more appalling than usual: there was no experienced executioner available, so a barber-cum-executioner spent almost half an hour trying to locate his heart after he had been hung. Finally a soldier mercifully ended this torture. When his head was cut off, the Puritans used it as a football! As Archbishop Challoner notes, this was not an event repeated in the annals of the English martyrs. Blessed Hugh Green is honored at the Church of Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, and St. Ignatius, Chideock, Dorset. Please note that this is Jane Austen country, as any reader of Persuasion would remember Anne Elliott's fateful visit to Lyme Regis!

In a very strange coincidence, there was an American style football player named Hugh Green, who was born in 1959. He played for both the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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