Friday, September 8, 2017

Blessed Thomas Palasor and Companions

Blessed Thomas Palasor, OFM is a Durham martyr and Valladolid alumnus, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

English martyr, born at Ellerton-upon-Swale, parish of Catterick, North Riding of Yorkshire; died at Durham 9 August, 1600. He arrived at Reims 24 July, 1592, whence he set out for Valladolid 24 August, 1592. There he was ordained priest in 1596. He was arrested in the house of John Norton, of Ravenswroth, nearly Lamesley, County Durham, who seems to have been the second son of Richard Norton, of Norton Conyers, attainted for his share in the Rebellion in 1569. Norton and his wife (if the above identification be correct, she was his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Christopher Redshaw of Owston) were arrested at the same time, and with them John Talbot, one of the Talbots of Thorton-le-Street, North Ridding of Yorkshire. All four were tried at Durham and condemned to death, Palasor for being a priest, and the others for assisting him. Another gentleman was condemned at the same time but saved his life by conforming, as they might have done. Mrs. Norton, being supposed to be with child, was reprieved. The others suffered together. Bishop Challoner tells how an attempt to poison Palasor and his companions made by the gaoler's wife resulted in the conversion of her maid-servant Mary Day.

Palasor, Norton, and Talbot were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II, on the 22nd of November 1987.

Of Blessed John Norton's father, Richard, the Dictionary of National Biography states:

(1488?–1588), rebel, known in the time of the northern rebellion of 1569 as ‘Old Norton,’ is said to have been born in 1488. He was eldest son of John Norton of Norton Conyers, by his wife Anne, daughter of William or Miles Radclyffe of Rylleston. His grandfather, Sir John Norton of Norton Conyers, was grandson of Sir Richard Norton [q. v.], chief justice of the common pleas. Richard Norton took part in the pilgrimage of grace, but was pardoned (cf. Memorials of the Rebellion, pp. 284–5). In 1545 and in 1556 he was one of the council of the north. In 1555 and 1557 he was governor of Norham Castle, but apparently lost these offices on the accession of Elizabeth. He was, however, sheriff of Yorkshire, 1568–9. On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1569 he joined the insurgents, and is described as ‘an old gentleman with a reverend grey beard.’ His estates were confiscated, and he was attainted. When all was over he fled across the border, and was seen at Cavers by the traitor Constable, but resisted his suggestions of coming to England and asking for mercy. He soon went to Flanders, and, with others of his family, was pensioned by Philip of Spain, his own allowance being eighteen crowns a month. John Story was said to have conversed with him in Flanders in 1571 (‘Life,’ in Harl. Misc. vol. iii.) He afterwards seems to have lived in France, and Edmund Neville [q. v.] was accused of being in his house at Rouen. He died abroad, probably in Flanders, on 9 April 1588. In the ‘Estate of the English Fugitives,’ ‘old Norton’ is mentioned as one of those who are ‘onely for want of things necessarie, and of pure povertie, consumed and dead’ (Sadler State Papers, ii. 242).

So the Norton family resolutely remained Catholic and suffered for it. William Wordsworth wrote about the family's misfortunes in his narrative poem, The White Doe of Rylstone; or, The Fate of the Nortons. The painting above is by John William Inchbold. The doe in Wordsworth's poem visits one of the graves near the ruins of Bolton Abbey and the poem tells why.

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