Napper, George, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; b. Holywell Manor, Oxford, England, 1550; d. hanged, drawn, and quartered at Oxford, Nov. 9, 1610. George was the son of Edward Napper (d. 1558) and his second wife, Anne Peto of Chesterton, Warwickshire (the niece of William Cardinal Peto). George endured many things because of his Catholic faith, including expulsion from Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1568). He visited the English College at Rheims (Aug. 24, 1579) for which he was imprisoned the following year at the Wood Street Counter in London (December 1580 until June 1589). Upon acknowledging the royal supremacy, he was released. In 1596, he began seminary studies at Douai. Following his ordination, he set off for the English mission (1603), where he lived with his brother William in the family home. George was found carrying a pyx with two consecrated Hosts and a reliquary when he was arrested at Kirtlington near Wood-stock (July 19, 1610). The next day he was sent to Oxford Castle. Soon thereafter he was indicted under 27 Eliz., c. 2 for being a priest, condemned, but reprieved. In prison he reconciled a condemned felon, which added the crime of persuasion to popery. Even then it was expected that he would be banished rather than executed. His refusal to take the oath of supremacy settled the matter. He was permitted to say Mass prior to his death. Some of Napper's relics were retrieved by the faithful and buried in the former chapel of Sanford manor, which later became a preceptory of Knights Templar. Napper 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). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]