Paul Atkinson (confessor)

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Paul Atkinson (c. 1655 – 15 October 1729), born Matthew Atkinson, was a 17th and 18th century English Roman Catholic priest, regarded as the penal times in the English Church. who is viewed as a martyr due to dying in prison for his Catholic activities.[1]


He was born in Yorkshire. He joined the English Franciscan institution, Douai Abbey in 1673, and then became a Catholic missionary in England for twelve years, after this he was betrayed by a maidservant for a £100 reward.[1]

On 26 September 1700 he was convicted and condemned to perpetual imprisonment due to his status as a Catholic priest.[2] One governor of his prison, Hurst Castle on the Solent, allowed him to walk outside of the prison; but complaint was made of this and the leave was revoked.[1] He died in prison in 1729 after nearly thirty years.[2] He was buried in Winchester's Roman Catholic Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Paul Atkinson of St. Francis" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ a b John Anthony Williams, (1968), Catholic recusancy in Wiltshire, 1660-1791, page 50. Catholic Record Society

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Paul Atkinson of St. Francis". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.