Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two More Yorkshire Martyrs

Blessed John Fingley or Finglow: An English martyr; b. at Barnby, near Howden, Yorkshire; executed at York, 8 August, 1586. After matriculating from Caius College Cambridge in 1573, he was ordained priest at the English College, Reims, 25 March, 1581, whence the following month he was sent on the English mission. After labouring for some time in the north of England, he was seized and confined in Ousebridge Kidcote, York, where for a time he endured serious discomforts, alleviated slightly by a fellow-prisoner. He was finally tried for being a Catholic priest and reconciling English subjects to the ancient Faith, and condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Blessed Robert Bickerdike: Martyr, a Yorkshire layman, b. at Low Hall, near Knaresborough (date unknown), but residing at York; d. 5 August (or 8 October), 1585. Arrested for giving a priest, St. John Boste, a glass of ale, he was also accused at his trial of using treasonable words. He was acquitted, but Judge Rhodes, determined to have his blood, had him removed from the city gaol to the Castle and tried once more at the Lammas Assizes on the same charge. He was then condemned. One of his offences was that, when Blessed Francis Ingleby was being dragged on the hurdle to execution, hearing a minister's wife say: "Let us go into the Tolbooth and we shall see the traitorly thief come over on the hurdle", he said, "No; no thief, but as true as thou art". These words were supposed to be the cause of his death. He suffered at York.

These two martyrs were among the 85 beatified in 1987 by Blessed John Paul II. I've recently finished Eric Ives' The Reformation Experience, in which he comments on how the missionary priests ignored northern England, well at least the Jesuit missionaries. I think he errs in thinking that the Jesuits were the only priests in the mission field. From the occurences of martyrdom in York, including St. Margaret Clitherow, crushed to death for refusing the plead when she hid Catholic priests in her Protestant husband's home, there was missionary activity in northern England!

No comments:

Post a Comment