Henry Abbot (martyr)

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Blessed Henry Abbot
Born Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died 4 July 1597,York, England
Martyred by Queen Elizabeth I of England
Means of martyrdom Hanging, drawing and quartering
Venerated in Great Britain


by Pope Pius XI
Feast 4 July

The Blessed Henry Abbot was an English layman, himself a convert from the Church of England, who was executed at York on 4 July 1597 for the alleged attempt to convert someone to the Catholic Church, which had been declared an act of treason under the Penal Laws enacted under Queen Elizabeth I.

He was declared a martyr and pronounced Venerable by the Roman Catholic Church in 1886. He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI.[1]

His acts are thus related by Challoner:

A certain Protestant minister, for some misdemeanour put into York Castle, to reinstate himself in the favour of his superiors, insinuated himself into the good opinion of the Catholic prisoners, by pretending a deep sense of repentance, and a great desire of embracing the Catholic truth . . . So they directed him, after he was enlarged, to Mr. Henry Abbot, a zealous convert who lived in Holden in the same country, to procure a priest to reconcile him . . . Mr. Abbot carried him to Carlton to the house of Esquire Stapleton, but did not succeed in finding a priest. Soon after, the traitor having got enough to put them all in danger of the law, accused them to the magistrates . . . They confessed that they had explained to him the Catholic Faith, and upon this they were all found guilty and sentenced to die.[2]

The others, the Blesseds George Errington, William Knight and William Gibson, were executed on 29 November 1596; Henry Abbot was reprieved till the next July.