May 30 – Bl. William Filby and companions

May 26, 2022

Wigan, England: Notre Dame Convent: Blessed Laurence Johnson (Richardson) holding a crucifix and gospel book, flanked by [martyrs] Blessed Luke Kirby, Blessed Thomas Cottam and Blessed William Filby, 30 May 1582.
Photo IE TCD MS 11182/1400/47

Born in Oxfordshire between 1557 and 1560; suffered at Tyburn, 30 May, 1582. Educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, he was admitted to the seminary at Reims, 12 October, 1579. He was ordained priest at Reims, 25 March, 1581, and shortly after left for the mission. He was arrested in July, committed to the Tower, removed 14 August to the Marshalsea, and thence back to the Tower again. He was sentenced 17 November, and from that date till he died was loaded with manacles. He was also deprived of his bedding for two months. With him suffered three other Beati, Thomas Cottam, Luke Kirby, and Laurence Richardson (vere Johnson).

Blessed Luke Kirby was born in the north of England about 1549, and is said to have graduated M.A., probably at Cambridge. Having been reconciled at Louvain, he entered Douai College in 1576, and was ordained priest at Cambrai in September, 1577. He left Reims for England, 3 May, 1578, but returned 15 July and proceeded to Rome, where he took the college oath at the English College, 23 April, 1579. In June, 1580, he was arrested on landing at Dover, and committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster. Transferred to the Tower, 4 December, he was subjected to the “Scavenger’s Daughter” for more than an hour, 9 December. He was condemned, 17 November, 1581, and from 2 April till the day of his death was in irons.

Blessed Laurence Richardson, a son of Richard Johnson, of Great Crosby, Lancashire, was a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, in or before 1569, and supplicated B.A. 25, November, 1572. In 1573 he was at Douai, and on 23 March, 1577, was ordained priest at Cateau-Cambresis. He was sent on the mission 27 July following, and laboured in Lancashire. He was arrested in London on his way to France and imprisoned in Newgate, where he remained until the day of his indictment, 16 November, 1581, when he was committed to the Queen’s Bench Prison, and on the day of his condemnation, 17 November, to the Tower, where he had no bedding for two months.


KEOGH AND POLLEN in Lives of the English Martyrs, ed. CAMM, II (London, 1905), 500-35; ALLEN, A Briefe Historie, ed. POLLEN (London, 1908), 67-83; CHALLONER, Missionary Priests, I, nn. 12, 13, 14; GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., s. vv.


John B. Wainewright (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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