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John Mush

Priest, b. in Yorkshire, 1551 or 1552; d. at Wenge, Co. Bucks, 1612 or 1613

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Mush, (alias Ratcliffe), John, priest, b. in Yorkshire, 1551 or 1552; d. at Wenge, Co. Bucks, 1612 or 1613, not as Bishop Challoner thought, in 1617. Having spent six months in the English College at Douai he went to Rome (1576) where he studied for seven years. Ordained priest, he returned to England (1583) and labored at York, being confessor to Venerable Margaret Clitherow who suffered for harboring him, and Venerable Francis Ingleby. Arrested October 28, 1586, and condemned to die, he escaped with two other priests. For many years he labored in the North becoming a recognized leader among his brother priests. When the dissensions among the imprisoned priests at Wisbech broke out in 1595, he with Dr. Dudley went there to arbitrate. Failing in this, together with John Colleton he set himself to devise some organization of a voluntary character among the clergy which might supply the want of episcopal government much felt after the death of Cardinal Allen in 1594. Opposed by Persons, it was rendered superfluous by the appointment of an archpriest (1599). In the ensuing controversy Mush was one of the appellant clergy who appealed to Rome against the archpriest. In connection with this he wrote “Declaratio Motuum” and in 1602, with Champney Bluet and Cecil, went as a deputation to Rome where for eight months they fought for their petition. Their petition, first for six bishops and then for six archpriests, was refused; but though the archpriest succeeded in maintaining his position, the appellants were acquitted of the charges of rebellion and schism. On his return to England, Mush was one of the thirteen priests who signed the protestation of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth (1603). In his later years he acted as assistant to two successive archpriests, Blackwell and Birkhead, in Yorkshire, but he seems to have been acting as chaplain to Lady Dormer in Buckinghamshire at the time of his death. His works are “The Life and Death of Mistress Margaret Clitherow” (written 1586, first printed 1849); “An account of the sufferings of Catholics in the Northern Parts of England” (probably the same as the MS. account printed by Father Morris, S.J., in “Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers”, series iii); “Declaratio Motuum” (Rouen, 1601). His diary of the deputation to Rome in 1602 is preserved in MS. in the Inner Temple, London. Dodd also says he wrote against the apostate priest Thomas Bell, and Pitts quotes his English translation of “Lectiones Panagorali Turini”, but these latter works are not now known to exist.

EDWIN BURTON


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