Middlemore, Humphrey, Bl.
MIDDLEMORE, HUMPHREY, BL.
Carthusian priest, vicar of London Charterhouse, martyr; b. Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England; d. hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn (London), June 19, 1535. Humphrey, the son of Thomas Middlemore and Ann Lyttleton of Pillaton Hall, was born into one of the oldest families in the county. Although little is known of his life, it is certain that he was a man of piety and learning who was appointed as procurator for the London Charterhouse after his profession.
In 1534 Henry VIII sought the express acknowledgment from the Carthusians and other prominent subjects of the validity of his marriage to Anne Boleyn and the right of their children to succeed to the throne. When John houghton, the prior, and Middlemore refused to sign the Oath of Succession, they were imprisoned in the Tower of London. A month later they were permitted to take the oath conditionally ("so far as the law of God allows"), and released.
The following year Fr. John was executed for refusing to take the new oath of supremacy, leaving Fr. Humphrey as the vicar of the Charterhouse. Henry again attempted to persuade the monks to support him by assigning Thomas Bedyll, one of the royal commissioners, to argue with the monks against papal supremacy. When they remained unmoved, Thomas Cromwell authorized the arrest of Middlemore and his monks BB. Sebastian newdigate and Blessed William exmew. They were cruelly treated in prison: bound to posts with chains round their necks and legs for two weeks without relent. Nevertheless they refused to take the oath when brought before the Privy Council, and went so far as to ably support their position by reference to Scripture and the Fathers. They were accordingly condemned to death.
All three monks were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on Dec. 9, 1886.
Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England); May 11 (with Newdigate in the Archdiocese of Birmingham).
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. morris, ed., The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers Related by Themselves (London 1872), I. j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891). e. m. thompson, The Carthusian Order in England (New York 1930).
[k. i. rabenstein]