William Dean, Venerable
Priest; b. in Yorkshire, England, date uncertain, martyred August 28, 1588
Dean, WILLIAM, VENERABLE, b. in Yorkshire, England, date uncertain, martyred August 28, 1588. He studied at Reims and was ordained priest at Soissons, December 21, 1581, together with the martyrs George Haydock and Robert Nutter. Their ordination coincided with the time that the news of Campion’s martyrdom reached the college. Dean said his first Mass January 9 and left for England January 25, 1581. He is called by Champney “a man distinguished by the soundness of his morals and learning”. He was banished with a number of other priests in 1585, put ashore on the coast of Normandy, and threatened with death if he dared to go back to England. Nevertheless he quickly returned to his labors there and was again arrested, tried, and condemned for his priesthood, August 22, 1588. The failure of the Spanish Armada, in spite of the loyalty manifested by English Catholics at that crisis, brought about a fierce persecution and some twenty-seven martyrs suffered that year. Six new gibbets were erected in London, it is said at Leicester’s instigation, and Dean, who had been condemned with five other priests and four laymen, was the first to suffer on the gallows erected at Mile End. With him suffered a layman, the Venerable Henry Webley, for relieving and assisting him. At the martyrdom Dean tried to speak to the people, “but his mouth was stopped by some that were in the cart, in such a violent manner that they were like to have prevented the hangman of his wages”. Seven martyrs suffered on the same day. Leicester died on September 5, within a week of their execution.