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Robert Thorpe

Priest and martyr, suffered May 15, 1591

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Thorpe, ROBERT, VENERABLE, priest and martyr, b. in Yorkshire; suffered at York, May 15, 1591. He reached the English College at Reims March 1, 1583-4, was ordained deacon in December following, and priest by Cardinal Guise in April, 1585. He was sent on the mission, May 9, 1585, and labored in Yorkshire. He was arrested in bed very early on Palm Sunday, 1595, at the house of his fellow-martyr, Thomas Watkinson, at Menthorpe in the East Riding of Yorkshire, someone having seen palms being gathered the night before, and having informed John Gates of Howden, the nearest justice of peace. Watkinson, an old Catholic yeoman who lived a solitary life, is described by the treacherous priest John Cecil as a clerk, so it is possible he was in minor orders. Both, though naturally timorous, met their deaths with great fortitude. Thorpe, condemned as a traitor merely for being a priest, was hanged, drawn, and quartered. Watkinson, condemned as a felon merely for harboring priests, was only hanged. He was offered his life if he would go to church.


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