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Christopher Bales, Venerable

English priest and martyr (1564-1590)

Bales (or BAYLES, alias EVERS), CHRISTOPHER, VENERABLE, priest and martyr, b. at Coniscliffe near Darlington, County Durham, England, about 1564; executed March 4, 1590. He entered the English College at Rome, October 1, 1583, but owing to ill-health was sent to the College at Reims, where he was ordained March 28, 1587. Sent to England November 2, 1588, he was soon arrested, racked, and tortured by Topcliffe, and hung up by the hands for twenty-four hours at a time; he bore all most patiently. At length he was tried and condemned for high treason, on the charge of having been ordained beyond seas and coming to England to exercise his office. He asked Judge Anderson whether St. Augustine, Apostle of the English, was also a traitor. The judge said no, but that the act had since been made treason by law. He suffered March 4, 1590, “about Easter”, in Fleet Street opposite Fetter Lane. On the gibbet was set a placard: “For treason and favoring foreign invasion”. He spoke to the people from the ladder, showing them that his only “treason” was his priesthood. On the same day Venerable Nicholas Horner suffered in Smithfield for having made Bales a jerkin, and Venerable Alexander Blake in Gray’s Inn Lane for lodging him in his house.

BEDE CAMM


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