Bl. John Story
Martyr; born 1504; died at Tyburn, 1 June, 1571. He was educated at Oxford, and was president of Broadgates Hall, now Pembroke College, from 1537 to 1539. He entered Parliament as member for Hindon, Wilts, in 1547, and was imprisoned for opposing the Bill of Uniformity, 24 Jan.-2 March, 1548-9. On his release he retired with his family to Louvain, but after the accession of Queen Mary he returned to England (Aug., 1553), and became chancellor to Bishop Bonner.
From 1553 to 1560 he sat for one or other parliamentary division of Wiltshire, and in the latter year he incurred the displeasure of Elizabeth for his outspoken opposition to the Bill of Supremacy. He was committed to the Fleet, 20 May, 1560, but escaped, was re-arrested and imprisoned in the Marshalsea (1563). He once more made good his escape to Antwerp, where he renounced his English allegiance and became a Spanish subject. Under the Duke of Alba he held a position in the customs of Flanders until August, 1570, when he was kidnapped at Bergen-op-Zoon by Cecil’s agents. He was brought to London and imprisoned in the Tower, where he was frequently racked, and on 26 May, 1571, he was indicted in Westminster Hall for having conspired against the queen’s life and for having while at Antwerp assisted the Northern rebels. The saintly martyr bore his tortures with fortitude, asserted over and over his innocence of the charges, but refused to make any further plea, on the ground that he was a Spanish subject, and that consequently his judges had no jurisdiction. The spectacle of this trial moved Edmund Campion, who was present in the Hall, to reconsider his own position and opened his eyes to his duty as a Catholic. Blessed John Story was condemned 27 May, and spent his last night in the Tower, preparing for a death which his persecutors made as barbarously cruel as it was possible.
Camm, Lives of the English Martyrs, II (London, 1904-5), 14; Pollard in Dict. Nat. Biog., s. v.
JOHN B. WAINESWRIGHT (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Nobility.org Editorial Comment: —
Somewhat similar to the emigres who fled France because of the Revolution of 1789, some of whom settled in the U.S., Elizabeth’s religious persecution of Catholics led Bl. John Story to live in self-imposed exile. There he was kidnapped by Cecil’s agents and brought back to England to stand trial and to be executed. As many others, he probably could have saved his life by apostatizing from the Catholic faith, but he remained faithful to the last, giving us one more example, that the Faith, as other things, are values more precious than life itself.