Henry Abbot (martyr)

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Blessed Henry Abbot
Born Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingdom of England
Died 4 July 1597
York, Kingdom of England
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
(Great Britain)
Beatified 15 December 1929, Vatican City, by Pope Pius XI
Feast 4 July

Henry Abbot (died 4 July 1597) was an English layman, himself a convert from the Church of England, who was executed at York 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 is considered a martyr for the faith by the Catholic Church, which has beatified him.


Abbot was declared a martyr and pronounced Venerable by Pope Leo XIII in 1886. He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI as part of a group of 137 citizens of England and Wales who met that same fate.[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, George Errington, William Knight and William Gibson, the Blesseds were executed on 29 November 1596, while Abbot was reprieved till the next July. The first three were beatified on 22 November 1987 by Pope John Paul II.