Webster, Augustine, St.

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Carthusian martyr; b. unknown; d. Tyburn, London, England, May 4, 1535. He received his B.A. degree from Cambridge in 1510 and his M.A. three years later. Thomas Cranmer, his exact contemporary at Cambridge, described him as a learned man who did not originally believe in the papal primacy. He entered the Charter-house at Sheen and was chosen as prior of Axholme in Lincolnshire not before 1531. In a decree of Feb. 15, 1535, Henry VIII assumed the title of Supreme Head of the English Church. Webster came to London to consult St. John houghton, prior of the London Charterhouse, on this issue. He accompanied Houghton and St. Robert lawrence, prior of Beauvale, in a plea to Thomas Cromwell for a form of the oath suitable to their conscience. They were imprisoned in the Tower together with St. Richard reynolds, a Bridgettine of Syon. They were examined by royal commissioners on April 20 and stood trial in Westminster Hall. They pleaded not guilty since they did not seditiously oppose the king's supremacy. The jury hesitated for two days but through pressure of Cromwell they entered a verdict of guilty. On May 4 together with Bl. John Haile, the aged vicar of Isleworth, these protomartyrs were drawn from the Tower to Tyburn. There they suffered the penalty for treason by being hanged, cut down while still alive, drawn, and quartered. Webster was beatified by Leo XIII, and canonized by Paul VI on Oct. 25, 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Feast: May 4; October 25 (Feast of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales); May 4 (Feast of the English Martyrs in England).

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

Bibliography: A contemporary account in m. chauncy, "De B.B. Martyribus Carthusiensibus in Anglia," ed. f. van ortroy, Analecta Bollandiana 14 (1895) 268283; "Martyrum Monachorum Carthusianorum in Anglia Passio minor," ed. f. van ortroy, ibid. 22 (1903) 5178; Passion and Martyrdom of the Holy English Carthusian Fathers, tr. a. f. radcliffe (New York 1936). l. hendriks, London Charterhouse, Its Monks and Its Martyrs (London 1889). e. m. thompson, The Carthusian Order in England (New York 1930). l. e. whatmore, Blessed Carthusian Martyrs (London 1962).

[l. e. whatmore]

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