Two groups of Catholic martyrs in Elizabethan England, in 1594 in Dorchester and in 1597 in York--both comprised of a priest and the laymen who protected him:
Blessed John Cornelius, priest and martyr
Blessed Thomas Bosgrave, martyr
Blessed John Carey, martyr
Blessed Patrick Salmon, martyr
John, Thomas, John and Patrick were executed together at Dorchester on July 4, 1594: John Cornelius, who trained for the priesthood at Douai and Rome, was arrested in April; his companions were arrested for assisting him. John became a Jesuit while imprisoned in London. All of them were from Ireland:
Father John Cornelius, their leader, was born in 1557 to Irish parents who had moved to Great Britain. A Dorsetshire Catholic knight, Sir John Arundel, sent him to Oxford University to study. But John was too Catholic in his convictions to be pleased with the "new religion" that dominated the University. Feeling called rather to the Catholic priesthood, he crossed the Channel and enrolled at the English college in Rheims for holy orders. From Rheims he went on to the English College in Rome to complete his theology, and it was at Rome that he was ordained a priest.
Return to England as a Catholic priest was at that time forbidden under pain of death. But Father John, a man of prayer and zeal, saw in that law a challenge rather than a deterrent, as did the rest of the contemporary English priests who set service to persecuted Catholics as their top priority. His assignment was to the Catholics of Dorset. These priests' ministry was a "cloak-and-dagger" operation, since they were always in danger of discovery and arrest. Their capture could mean also the arrest and punishment of anybody who assisted them.
Naturally, the missionaries' terms of service were usually short, for the police were alert and aggressive. Cornelius (he also went by the alias of Mohun, although his real surname seems to have been O'Mahony) was finally seized by the sheriff of Dorset on April 24, 1594, at the Chideock Castle of Lady Arundel.
Having seized the priest by surprise, the Sheriff was about to hurry him off hatless. Now, in that hat-conscious age, to be hatless was to appear uncivilized. Thomas Bosgrave, a gallant young Cornish nephew of Sir John Arundel and a witness to the arrest, stepped forward and offered Father John his own hat. "The honor I owe to your function," he declared, "may not suffer me to see you go bareheaded!" It was a simple gesture of charity to a priest, but he was to pay for his piety. The Sheriff promptly arrested Bosgrave, too, for "aiding" a Catholic clergyman. He likewise arrested two serving-men of this Catholic household, Dubliners John Carey and Patrick Salmon. Content, no doubt, with the day's work, the county official then led his catch off to jail.
Cornelius, the most important of them, was taken to London to be examined by Queen Elizabeth's Privy Council. The Council had him stretched on the rack to force him to name all those who had given him shelter or assistance. Torture would not open his lips, however, so he was sent back to Dorchester for trial, along with the three lay captives. On July 2, the court declared the priest guilty of high treason under the law that forbade Catholic priests to enter England and remain there. Bosgrave, Carey and Salmon were pronounced guilty of felony for aiding and abetting Father John. The sentence was the same for all: hanging, drawing, and quartering.
After the court had published its judgment, it offered all four men a reprieve if they would give up their Catholic faith. All four refused.
The execution took place at Dorchester two days later. The three laymen were hanged first. Each made a Catholic profession of faith before the trap was sprung. Father John then kissed the feet of his hanging companions. He was not allowed to make any formal statement; but he did manage to state that he had been lately admitted into the Jesuits, and would have been en route to the Jesuit novitiate in Flanders had he not been arrested.
Blessed William Andleby, priest and martyr
Blessed Henry Abbot, martyr
Blessed Thomas Warcop, martyr
Blessed Edward Fulthorp, martyr
Fr Andleby served in Yorkshire, and Henry, Thomas and Edward were three laymen who assisted and sheltered him; they were executed together at York on July 4 in 1597 under Elizabeth I. Blessed William Andleby was a convert--he had thought to argue Doctor William Allen out of his Catholic faith and instead found himself argued into it:
He was born at Etton in Yorkshire of a well-known gentle family. At twenty-five he went abroad to take part in the religious wars in the Spanish Netherlands, and called at Douai to interview Dr. Allen, whom he attempted to confute in argument. Next day he recognized that Allen was right, was converted, and eventually became a priest. Mention is found of his having served at Mr. Tyrwhitt's, in Lincolnshire, and also of his having succoured the Catholic prisoners in Hull blockhouse. "His zeal for souls was such as to spare no pains and to fear no dangers. 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 things for saying Mass; for his labours lay chiefly among the poor, who were not shocked with such things. Afterwards, humbly yielding to the advice of his brethren, he used a horse and went somewhat better clad. Wonderful was the austerity of his life in frequent watchings, fastings, and continual prayer, his soul so absorbed in God that he often took no notice of those he met; by which means he was sometimes exposed to suspicions and dangers from the enemies of his faith, into whose hands he at last fell after twenty years' labour in the vineyard of the Lord." (Challoner). He was condemned for his priestly character, and suffered with three laymen, John Abbot, Thomas Warcop, and Edward Fulthrop--Abbot and Fulthrop were also converts to Catholicism from the Church of England.