|Saint Margaret Clitherow|
|one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales|
York, Yorkshire, England
|Died||25 March 1586
York, Yorkshire, England
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI|
|Canonized||25 October 1970, Rome by Pope Paul VI|
|Major shrine||The Shambles, York, North Yorkshire, England|
|Patronage||businesswomen, converts, martyrs, Catholic Women's League|
She was born as Margaret Middleton, the daughter of a wax-chandler, after Henry VIII of England had split the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. She married John Clitherow, a butcher, in 1571 (at the age of 15) and bore him three children. She converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 18, in 1574. Her husband John was supportive (he having a brother who was Roman Catholic clergy), though he remained Protestant. She then became a friend of the persecuted Roman Catholic population in the north of England. Her son, Henry, went to Reims to train as a Roman Catholic priest. She regularly held Masses in her home in the Shambles in York. There was a hole cut between the attics of her house and the adjoining house, to enable a priest to escape in the event of a raid. A house in the Shambles once thought to have been her home, now called the Shrine of the Saint Margaret Clitherow, is open to the public (it is served by the nearby Church of St Wilfrid's and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough); her actual house (10 and 11, the Shambles) is further down the street.
In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case so as to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and therefore being subjected to torture. As a result she was executed by being crushed to death – the standard punishment for refusal to plead – on Good Friday 1586. The two sergeants who should have killed her hired four desperate beggars to kill her. She was stripped and had a handkerchief tied across her face then laid out upon a sharp rock the size of a man's fist, a door was put on top of her and slowly loaded with an immense weight of rocks and stones (the small sharp rock would break her back when the heavy rocks were laid on top of her). Her death occurred within fifteen minutes; she was left for 6 hours before the weight was removed from her corpse. After her death her hand was removed, and this relic is now housed in the chapel of the Bar Convent, York. After Clitherow's execution, Elizabeth I wrote to the citizens of York to say how horrified she was at the treatment of a fellow woman: due to her sex, Clitherow should not have been executed.
In 2008, a commemorative plaque was installed at the Micklegate end of Ouse Bridge to mark the site of her martyrdom; the Bishop of Middlesbrough unveiled this in a ceremony on Friday 29 August 2008.
She was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI and canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI along with other martyrs from England and Wales. The group of candidates canonised at that time is commonly called "The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales". Her feast day in the current Roman Catholic calendar, together with the other English martyrs, is 4 May. However her feast day in England is 30 August, which she shares with fellow female martyrs St. Anne Line and St. Margaret Ward.
A number of schools in England are named after Margaret Clitherow, including schools at Bracknell, Brixham, Manchester, Nottingham, Thamesmead SE28, Brent, London NW10 and Tonbridge. The Roman Catholic primary school in Nottingham's Bestwood estate is named after Clitherow. In the United States, St Margaret of York Church and School in Loveland, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, is also named after her. Another school named after her is St. Margaret Clitherow RC Primary School, located next to Stevenage Borough Football Club.
She is also the patroness of the Catholic Women's League, an organisation of Catholic women founded in 1906, with small groups (known as branches) and sections (groupings of branches, usually along diocesan lines) across the world. A group of parishes in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, Sacred Heart in Hindsford, St Richard's in Atherton, Holy Family in Boothstown, St Ambrose Barlow in Astley, St Gabriel's, Higher Folds in Leigh are now united as a single community with St Margaret Clitherow as its patron.
Further reading 
- Peter Lake and Michael Questier: The Trials of Margaret Clitherow: Persecution, Martyrdom and the Politics of Sanctity in Elizabethan England: New York/London: Continuum: 2011|: ISBN 1-4411-0436-4
See also 
- Rayne-Davies, John (2002). Margaret Clitherow: Saint of York. Beverley : Highgate of Beverley. ISBN 1-902645-32-4.
- St. Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church - York
- The Little Black Book: Six-minute reflections on the Weekly Gospels of Lent 2009, page about "The Pearl of York", published by the Diocese of Saginaw
- "Bishop Terry to unveil plaque to St Margaret Clitherow". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- The Catholic Church in the Leigh Area, Leigh Pastoral Area, retrieved 28 April 2013
- History, sacredheartrchindsford.co.uk, retrieved 28 April 2013
- "St. Margaret Clitherow" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
- Eternal Word Television Network: ST. MARGARET: MOTHER AND MARTYR
- Star Quest Production Network: Saints.SQPN.com: Saint Margaret Clitherow
- Catholic Exchange: St. Margaret Clitherow
- CatholicPamphlets.Net: SAINT MARGARET CLITHEROW
- Lay Saints: Saint Margaret Clitherow
- St Margaret Clitherow School: St Margaret Clitherow
- Bracknell Catholic Church: St Margaret Clitherow
- A Sinner's Guide to the Saints: St. Margaret Clitherow (1556 to 25 March 1586)
- Women for Faith & Family: VOICES - Vol. XX No. 3, Christmas 2005 - Epiphany 2006: The Women Saints of Britain
- YorkShambles.com (official Shambles website) (search for "St. Margaret Clitherow")
- Proper York: Saint Margaret Clitherow
- Hotels in York Ltd: The history of The Shambles York England - Margaret Clitherow
- blacmap.info: Margaret Clitherow
- BBC: York & North Yorkshire: The Pearl of York
- World News Network: Margaret Clitherow
- HighBeam Research: Encyclopedia.com: Clitherow, Margaret (1556–1586)
- Kate Emerson Historicals: A WHO’S WHO OF TUDOR WOMEN: M (search for "MARGARET MIDDLETON")
- rootsweb: ANCESTRIES of Errol BEVAN and Hollie Atkinson BEVAN - with a MULTITUDE of Cousin Lines!: Margaret MIDDLETON
- David Alton: The Secret Resting Place of Margaret Clitherow
- Let The Welkin Ring: St Margaret Clitherow (blog entry about 2011 pilgrimage to her shrine)
- Works by or about Margaret Clitherow in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Kate Emerson Historicals: A WHO’S WHO OF TUDOR WOMEN: Cl-Cy (search for "ANNE CLITHEROW" — Margaret's daughter)
- Sacred Destinations: Margaret Clitherow Shrine, York
- York Wiki: Margaret Clitherow Shrine
- wikimapia: St. Margaret Clitherow Shrine, York (York)
- Yahoo!: Flickr: Search: "margaret clitherow shrine"
- St. Margaret of York Parish, Loveland, Ohio, United States