James Thompson (martyr)

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Blessed James Thompson, also known as James Hudson, was a Catholic priest and martyr of York, hanged during the reign of Elizabeth I.


Thompson arrived at the college at Reims 19 September 1580, and in May of the next year, by virtue of a dispensation, was admitted at Soissons, with one Nicholas Fox, to all Sacred orders within twelve days, although at the time he was so ill that he could hardly stand.[1]

He was sent on his mission that August, and was arrested in York a year later, on August 11, 1582. When he was taken before the Council of the North, he openly confessed to his being a priest. This astonished all of his friends, because they knew he had been gone for less than an entire year. He was shackled and imprisoned—first in a private jail, until his money ran out, and then in York Castle.[1]

He was condemned on November 25, 1582, and was hanged at the Knavesmire three days later. He protested the entire time that he had never plotted against the queen, and that he died in and for Catholic faith. While he was hanging, he raised his hands to heaven, then beat his chest with his right hand, before he finally made the sign of cross and died. In spite of his sentence, he was neither disemboweled nor quartered, but was buried under the gallows.[1]