Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blessed Francis Ingleby and His Brother "The Fox"

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Blessed Francis Ingleby was an English martyr, born about 1551; suffered at York on Friday, 3 June, 1586 (old style).

According to an early but inaccurate calendar he suffered 1 June (Cath. Rec.Soc. V, 192). Fourth son of Sir William Ingleby, knight, of Ripley, Yorkshire, by Anne, daughter of Sir William Malory, knight, of Studley, he was probably a scholar of Brasenose College, Oxford, in and before 1565, and was a student of the Inner Temple in 1576.

On 18 August, 1582 he arrived at the English College, Reims, where he lived at his own expense. He was ordained subdeacon at Laon on Saturday, 28 May, deacon at Reims, Saturday, 24 September, and priest at Laon, Saturday 24 December, 1583 and left for England Thursday, 5 April 1584. (These four dates are all new style).

He laboured with great zeal in the neighbourhood of York, where he was arrested in the spring of 1586, and lodged in the castle. He was the one of the priests for harbouring whom the St. Margaret Clitherow was arraigned. At the prison door, while fetters were being fastened on his legs he smilingly said, "I fear me I shall be overproud of my boots." He was condemned under 27 Eliz. c. 2 for being a priest. When sentence was pronounced he exclaimed, "Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium". [From Psalm 26: "I believe I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living", one of the Psalms in the Office of the Dead.]

Fr. Warford says he was short but well-made, fair-complexioned, with a chestnut beard, and a slight cast in his eyes.

Blessed Francis is one of the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1987. The Portal, the magazine published by the Ordinariate of Our Lady in Walsingham in England, has more about the martyr in their May 2012 issue.

Francis' brother David, with whom he joined the Northern Rebellion, was also devoutly Catholic and just as Francis risked death by returning to England as a Catholic priest, David risked death by aiding Catholic priests. According to the Ingleby family history website:

His brother David (1547-1600) became known as ‘the Fox’ for his ability to outrun his pursuers. He was the man who guided the seminary priests around the North of England, leading them from one safe house to another. He married Lady Ann Neville, daughter of the exiled earl of Westmoreland – and another staunch Catholic [Charles Neville, who led the Northern Rebellion with Thomas Percy, the Earl of Northumberland]. David was heavily implicated as a co-conspirator of John Ballard in the Babington treason, a conspiracy to remove Elizabeth I from the throne and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. He and Francis were described as ‘the most dangerous papists in the North’. A huge manhunt was launched to find them: a secret priest’s hiding hole, built to conceal them and other visiting priests while they were at Ripley, was only discovered by accident in 1964. A set of instructions written out for a spy being sent to the royal court in Scotland listed numerous things that the spy should and should not do: it ended with a very simple warning ‘ beware of David Ingleby’. David died in exile in Belgium: Elizabeth I, taking pity on his by now impoverished widow, awarded her a pension provided she behaved herself. 

I presume that behaving herself meant not hiding priests or corresponding with other recusant families, and keeping quiet about being a Catholic!

Illustration: Ripley Castle from Wikipedia Commons (public domain).


  1. I enjoyed this post and always appreciate hearing of more priests during the reign of Elizabeth I....who kept/fought for the Faith and with Blessed Francis it is pleasing to hear news of other family members doing the same.
    I enjoyed your book Supremacy and Survival...it was a book that kept one turning the pages and even with all the other books on this period of England I thought yours stands tall among them.
    Do write another book as I think you have the ability to draw your readers into the period and to greater appreciate these Catholic priests and Catholic families and all they endured.
    For my self I would request one on the Lords of Ireland as the only one I read was most fascinating and I felt there was so much more that one needs to know about the terrible times these Faithful and their Lords and priests went through.
    Thank you for your historical blog as it is well appreciated.
    With a grateful heart,
    Sylvia Faye

  2. Thank you very much for your comment and kind words!