He was the second son of Thomas Lambton of Malton-in-Rydall, Yorkshire, and Katharine, daughter of Robert Birkhead of West Brandon, Durham. He arrived at the English College in Reims, in 1584, and at the English College, Rome, in 1589.
Being allowed to curtail his theological course, he was ordained priest when only twenty-three, and sent on the English mission on 22 April 1592. He was arrested at Newcastle on landing with Edward Waterson, and condemned at the next assizes under 27 Eliz., c. 2. He was cut down alive, and the hangman refused to complete the sentence, which was carried out by a Frenchman practicing as a surgeon at Kenton.
- The day of his death is variously given as 23 June, 23 July, and 27 July, and the year as 1592 and 1593; but from a letter of Lord Huntingdon it is clear he died before 31 July 1592, and Father Holtby's Stonyhurst MS. says he died on a Monday, so that the probable date is 24 July 1592.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ven. Joseph Lambton". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. The entry cites: