Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 1600 in Lincolnshire

Blessed Thomas Benstead (aka Thomas Hunt) and Blessed Thomas Sprott were executed in Lincoln on July 11, 1600. According to the Catholic Encylopedia Sprott or Spratt was connected to the Archpriest controversy that divided Catholics in the latter part of Elizabeth's reign between the Appellants and the Recusants (see my review of the latest book about Margaret Clitherow):

English martyr, b. at Skelsmergh, near Kendal, Westmoreland; suffered at Lincoln with Thomas Hunt, 11 July, 1600. Sprott was ordained priest from the English College, Douai, in 1596, was sent on the mission that same year, and signed the letter to the pope, dated 8 November, 1598, in favour of the institution in England of the archpriest. Hunt, a native of Norfolk, was a priest of the English College of Seville, and had been imprisoned at Wisbech, where he had escaped with five others, some months previously. They were arrested at the Saracen's Head, Lincoln, upon the discovery of the holy oils and two Breviaries in their mails. When brought to trial, though their being priests was neither proved nor confessed, nor was any evidence produced, the judge, Sir John Glanville, directed the jury to find them guilty, which was done.

Thomas Benstead had studied at the Royal College of Saint Alban in Valladolid, Spain, and the English College of Saint Gregory in Seville, Spain. Ordained at Seville in 1599, he returned to England to minister to covert Catholics. He was almost immediately arrested at the Saracen’s Head, Lincoln with Blessed Thomas Sprott. He escaped, was caught again, and condemned for the crime of being a priest.

They were included among the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales beatified in 1987.

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