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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Blessed WILLIAM HARTLEY, Priest, 1588



BORN in the Diocese of Lichfield and brought up a Protestant, he became Chaplain and Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, but was removed from that part by Tobie Matthew 

(ironically whose son, also Tobie became a priest), the president, on suspicion of his Catholic tendencies. 

He then went to Rheims, was reconciled, ordained, and returned to the English Mission in 1580.

Within a twelvemonth of his arrival he was arrested, in the house of Lady Stonor, and imprisoned in the Tower. In 1585, after five years' imprisonment, he, with some twenty other priests, was sent into banishment, but his zeal for souls drove him back to England, though he knew death awaited him. He laboured again amidst good report and evil report, the heretics having pretended that he had apostatised, and he converted, amongst others, a Captain Cripps, a well-known personage at that time, who subsequently entered the service of the King of Spain. Father Hartley was carried to execution with John Hewitt, who was hanged at Mile's End Green, with Robert Sutton, who suffered at Clerkenwell, and was himself finally executed at Shoreditch, having refused to ask for the Queen's forgiveness, since his priesthood had been his only offence. His mother was present at his passion, and rejoiced exceedingly that she had brought forth a son to glorify God by such a death.

"There stood by the cross of Jesus His mother."—JOHN xix. 25.

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