Finch, John, Bl.
FINCH, JOHN, BL.
Yeoman farmer, lay martyr; b. ca. 1548, Eccleston, Lancashire, England; hanged, drawn, and quartered at Lancaster, April 20, 1584. Although he was raised in a well–established Protestant family, Finch converted to Catholicism after seeing the contrast between Catholics and Protestants while spending time with cousins at the Inner Temple in London. Following his marriage his home in Lancaster became a center for Catholic activity. He was himself a catechist and sheltered refugee priests until his arrest on Christmas Day 1581. While he and Fr. George Ostliffe were being held, interrogated, and tortured in the house of the earl of Derby, it was rumored that Finch had betrayed the priest and other Catholics. When neither bribes nor torture compelled Finch to reveal information about the mission, he was taken to Fleet Prison, Manchester, then to the House of Correction. Upon his refusal to attend a Protestant service, he was dragged there across the rough stone pavement by his feet. He endured three months' maltreatment prior to trial at Lancaster, April 18, 1584. The night before his execution, he testified to the faith and converted some condemned felons. His cause was introduced in Rome, Dec. 4, 1886, leading to his beatification by Pius XI on Dec. 15, 1929.
Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England).
See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.
Bibliography: j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).
[k. i. rabenstein]