Robert Anderton

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Bl. Robert Anderton
Born circa 1560
Died 25 April 1586
Isle of Wight
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Beatified 1929 by Pius XI
Feast 25 April

Robert Anderton (c. 1560 – 25 April 1586) was an English Roman Catholic priest and martyr. He has been declared 'Blessèd' by the Roman Catholic Church. His feast day is 25 April.


Robert Anderton was born in Lancashire about 1560.[1] around 1560. He probably attended Brasenose College and graduated from Oxford University in 1578.[2] While at Reims, Anderton was regarded as an excellent preacher, and a gifted teacher. He was ordained 31 March 1585.

William Marsden[edit]

William Marsden was also born in Lancashire, and probably attended St Mary Hall, Oxford.[2]

Anderton and Marsden were friends from early youth and attended Oxford together, although at different colleges. The two travelled to Douai, where they converted to Roman Catholicism. They entered the English College at Reims in 1580. The two were ordained to the priesthood there,[3] and made prefects over the junior school.

Upon finishing their studies, Anderton and Marsden set out for England on 4 February 1586. They were caught in a storm while crossing the English Channel and prayed to die on land rather than at sea. Their ship being driven ashore by the storm onto the Isle of Wight, they were quickly seized by the local authorities. In court, they pleaded that they had not violated the law by landing in England, as their landing was involuntary, being forced ashore by the storm.[3]

This led to their being summoned to London, where they were given the opportunity to take the Oath of Supremacy, acknowledging Elizabeth as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Although they acknowledged Elizabeth as their lawful queen in all secular affairs, they would not swear the Oath. As failure to take the oath was considered treason under the Second Act of Supremacy, Anderton and Marsden were found guilty of treason. The sentence was then confirmed, and a proclamation was published, explaining their guilt. They were taken back to the Isle of Wight near the spot where they had landed and executed by hanging, drawing, and quartering on 25 April 1586.[3]

He was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.


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