John Boste was born in Westmorland around 1544. He studied at Queen's College, Oxford where he became a Fellow. He converted to Catholicism in 1576. He left England and was ordained a priest at Reims in 1581.
He returned as an active missionary priest to Northern England, often being accompanied by John Speed. He was betrayed to the authorities near Durham in 1593. Following his arrest he was taken to the Tower of London for interrogation. Returned to Durham he was condemned by the Assizes and hanged, drawn and quartered at nearby Dryburn on 24 July 1594. Boste denied that he was a traitor saying "My function is to invade souls, not to meddle in temporal invasions".
John Boste was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Their joint feast day is kept on 25 October. His memorial is kept on the day of his execution, 24 July.