Augustine Webster

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Augustine Webster
Saint Augustine Webster.jpg
Died 4 May 1535
Canonized 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI

Saint Augustine Webster was an English Catholic martyr. He was the prior of Our Lady of Melwood, a Carthusian house at Epworth, on the Isle of Axholme, in north Lincolnshire, in 1531. His feast day is May 4.

Background[edit]

At the outbreak of the English Reformation, England had ten of these hermitage-monasteries. They were commonly called "Charterhouses," a corruption of the French name "Chartreuse". The hermits were held in the highest esteem. The government was at first anxious to secure the public acquiescence of the monks of the London Charterhouse regarding royal supremacy in ecclesiastical matters, since for the austerity and sincerity of their mode of life they enjoyed great prestige. That is one reason why King Henry VIII set out to win them over or destroy them.

Life[edit]

He was educated at Cambridge University, and became a monk at the Charterhouse of Sheen. In 1531 he became prior of Our Lady of Melwood, a Carthusian house at Epworth, on the Isle of Axholme.[1]

In February 1535 he was on a visit to the London Charterhouse with his fellow prior, Robert Lawrence of Beauvale to consult the prior of London, John Houghton about the approach to be taken by the Carthusians with regard to the religious policies of Henry VIII.[2]

Trial[edit]

Sometime around the middle of April 1535, Webster, and fellow Carthusians, Houghton and Lawrence were imprisoned in the Tower on the orders of Thomas Cromwell for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy. They were soon joined by Bridgettine Richard Reynolds. All four were examined together and charged for their denial of the royal supremacy. The trial took place April 28. They pleaded "not guilty" to the charge of treason and were led back to prison. The jury deliberated all day, and when Cromwell sent to inquire the cause of the delay, it was intimated that they would find the men innocent. Despite threats, the jury refused to return a guilty verdict until Cromwell appeared before them in person.[3]

All four were hanged, beheaded and quartered at Tyburn on 4 May 1535.[4]

Augustine Webster was canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonized by Pope Paul VI.

References[edit]

External links[edit]