Thurston Hunt

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The Blessed Thurston Hunt (executed March 1601 at Lancaster) was an English Roman Catholic priest. He was tried and executed with the Blessed Robert Middleton, also a priest. They were declared to be martyrs by the Catholic Church, and beatified in 1987, by Pope John Paul II.

A contemporary sang of

Hunt's hawtie corage staut,
With godlie zeale soe true,
Myld Middleton, O what tongue
Can halfe thy vertue showe!


Blue plaque for Thurstan Hunt on Carlton Hall

He belonged to a family living at Carlton Hall, near Leeds, and had made his course of studies for the priesthood at Reims (1583-84). Robert Middleton was a nephew of another martyr, Saint Margaret Clitheroe, and had also studied at Reims and at Rome (1594-98). In November 1600, Middleton was arrested by chance near Preston. An attempt to rescue him was then made by four Catholics, of whom Hunt was one, but the attempt failed. After a long tussle, Hunt was himself captured.

The two were heavily shackled night and day. By order of the Privy Council, with their feet tied beneath their horses' bellies, they were carried in public disgrace up to London and back again to Lancaster, where they were condemned and executed for their priesthood. The local population showed their disapproval, and their relics were carried off after their death.