Ward, William, Bl.
WARD, WILLIAM, BL.
Priest, martyr; vere Webster; b. c. 1560, Thornby (Thrimby), Westmorland, England; hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn (London), July 26, 1641. Little is known of the first four decades of his life. He had already reached his 40th birthday before undertaking seminary studies at Douai (1604–08), where he received priestly ordination on June 1, 1608. He labored in the English mission for 33 years—20 of which were spent in prison. He was arrested in Scotland shortly after his arrival from the Continent in October 1608. Three years later he was
released and continued to England. Throughout his ministry he was known for his zeal, devotion to hearing confessions and providing spiritual direction, and his personal austerity. He refused to leave England after the Parliamentary proclamation banishing all priests (April 7, 1641). He was arrested in his nephew's home (July 15), tried at the Old Bailey, and condemned to death (July 23). His portrait hangs at St. Edmund's College, Old Hall. He 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]