Thirkeld, Richard, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; b. Cunsley (Coniscliffe?), Durham, England; d. hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, May 29, 1583. After studying for a time at Queen's College, Oxford (156465), Thirkeld studied at Rheims, where he was ordained priest, April 18, 1579. Almost immediately he left for the English mission, where he labored in Yorkshire (157983). Among his penitents was St. Margaret clitherow. He was arrested Aug. 14, 1583, while visiting a Catholic prisoner in the Ousebridge Kidcote, York. He freely admitted to his captors and the mayor that he was a Catholic priest. The next day he wore his cassock and biretta at his indictment during which he was charged with reconciling to popery the queen's subjects. He was found guilty on May 27, and condemned the following day. He spent his last night on earth teaching and encouraging his fellow inmates. Bede Camm summarized six of Thirkeld's extant letters. 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, 2v. (New York 190405). 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]