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Jones, John St.


Franciscan priest and martyr; alias Buckley; b. Clynog Fawr, Caernarvonshire, June 1559; d. St. Thomas Waterings, Southwark, July 12, 1598. He joined the Franciscans at Pontoise (France) or at Rome, where in 1591 he was certainly a member of the community at the convent of S. Maria in Ara Coeli. In 1592 he left for the English mission and appears to have worked mostly in London, where he became a close friend of Henry gar net, who praised his religious spirit and zeal. Arrested in 1597, he was kept a prisoner for a year, during which time he or John Gerard reconciled John rigby to the Church. He was indicted in February of 1598 along with Robert Barnes, a Wiltshire gentleman, and Jane Wiseman of Braddocks, Essex. Probably for lack of evidence, the trial was postponed until June 30. The charge against Jones was that, as a priest ordained overseas, he had returned to minister in his native country; his two codefendants were charged with sheltering him. Present in court was Richard Topcliffe, the pursuivant, who had assured his agent, Nicholas Jones, that he would give him Barnes's property in return for his assistance in securing the priest's condemnation. The chief witness against the prisoners was Nicholas Jones's wife, Anne Bellamy, the betrayer of Robert Southwell. In spite of a brilliant defense, Barnes was condemned; Jane Wiseman, who refused to plead, was sentenced to peine forte (the death suffered by Margaret clitherow); Jones was found guilty of exercising his priesthood contrary to statute. The place chosen for Jones's execution was St. Thomas Waterings on the Old Kent Road, once the first halting place of pilgrims from London to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket in Canterbury. Because the hangman forgot his rope, the execution was delayed an hour. Jones prayed, and addressing the waiting crowd, he protested that he had never in his life entertained any thought of treason against his queen or country and declared that Topcliffe's cruelty had "been sufficient to make [the Queen] odious to all priests in the kingdom." His head was displayed in Southwark and his members in the Lambeth and Newington roads. He was beatified by Pius XI on Dec. 15, 1929 and canonized on Oct. 25, 1970, as one of the Martyrs of england, scotland, and wales.

Feast: July 12; Oct. 25; May 4.

Bibliography: Publications of the Catholic Record Society 5:14, 362375. j. e. paul, Blessed John Jones (Postulation pamphlet; London 1960). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints (New York 1956) 3:87. j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time (New York 1961) 3:657660. r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924).

[g. fitz herbert]

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