Herst, Richard, Bl.

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Lay martyr; name also given as Hurst or Hayhurst;b. Broughton, near Preston, Lancashire, England; d. hanged at Lancaster, Aug. 29, 1628. Richard, a wealthy yeoman who cultivated his own land, was arrested as a recusant Catholic upon the order of the bishop of Chester. In the course of the arrest one of the pursuivant's men, named Dewhurst, broke his leg and later died of the injury. Although Dewhurst himself solemnly swore that the fatal injury was an accident, Herst was indicted for murder. Herst's friends and Queen Henrietta Maria petitioned King Charles I for a reprieve; however the government countered the petition. Although the jury was unwilling to convict Herst of murder, the judge insisted on a verdict of guilt. The following day he was forcibly dragged by the legs to a Protestant church to hear a sermon. Upon the gallows he was offered his life in exchange for swearing allegiance to the king, but he refused because the oath contained attacks upon the Catholic faith. Thereupon he was executed. He was beatified by Pius XI on Dec. 15, 1929.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England).

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), II, 97101. j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]

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Herst, Richard, Bl.

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