Fetherston, Richard, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; d. hanged, drawn, and quartered at Smithfield (London), July 30, 1540. Fr. Fetherston, archdeacon of Brecknock, earned his doctorate in theology at Cambridge. He served as chaplain to Queen Catherine of Aragon and as Latin tutor to Princess Mary, who succeeded her brother Edward to the throne. He spoke in favor of the validity of the marriage of Catherine and Henry VIII during the divorce proceedings and again during a Convocation that began in April 1529. Friction with the king began when he was one of the few members of the Convocation who refused to sign the act declaring the marriage illegal from the beginning. In 1534, upon refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for six years (Dec. 13, 1534 to July 30, 1540). He was attainted for high treason and executed, together with BB. Thomas abell and Edward powell, who had also been councillors to Queen Catharine in the divorce proceedings. They were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on Dec. 29, 1886.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England); July 30 (Wales).

See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924; repr. Farnborough 1969). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]