Story, John, Bl.

views updated


Lay martyr; b. Salisbury, England, 1504; d. hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn (London), June 1, 1571. Story earned his doctorate in law from Oxford and became known as "the most noted civilian and canonist of his time." The year he married, he also became president of Broadgates Hall (now Pembroke College), Oxford (153739). He practiced as a barrister, then became a member of Parliament (154749) for Hindon, Wiltshire.

On Jan. 24, 1548, he was imprisoned for opposing the Bill of Uniformity. Upon his release (March 2, 1549), he fled England with his family to Louvain. Upon the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary, he returned to England (August 1553), and became chancellor to Bishop Bonner. He again sat in Parliament for Wiltshire (155360) until he was imprisoned at the Fleet (May 20, 1560) for incurring the displeasure of Queen elizabeth i for his outspoken opposition to the Bill of Supremacy. He escaped, but was caught and committed to the Marshalsea (1563).

Once again he escaped and managed to reach Antwerp, where he renounced his English citizenship in favor of Spain and took a customs position in Flanders under the duke of Alva. In August 1570, he was kidnapped at Bergen-op-Zoon, taken to London, and imprisoned in the Tower. There he courageously endured torture. He was indicted at Westminster, May 26, 1571, for conspiring to assassinate the queen and aiding the Northern rebels while at Antwerp. He declared his innocence and that, as a Spanish subject, the court had no jurisdiction over him. Undaunted by that fact, his judges condemned Story on May 27.

He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on Dec. 9, 1886.

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

See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.

Bibliography: b. camm, ed., Lives of the English Martyrs, (New York 1905), II, 14. 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]