Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The feast of Bl.William Howard, Viscount Stafford

Today in the Birmingham diocese is the feast of Bl.William Howard, Viscount Stafford, who died as a martyr on Tower Hill during the Popish Plot in 1680.

The note about him on the Universalis website gives the following short biography:

Blessed William Howard was born in 1612, the second son of the Earl of Arundel. William went to St John’s College, Cambridge, and married on 12 October 1637 Mary, daughter of Lord Stafford. Through her he obtained his title and his Staffordshire estates. William and Mary were devoted parents, who had nine children. They lived in the Low Countries for much of the troubled period during the Civil War and the Commonwealth because of the difficulties which faced Catholics in England. In 1678 Lord Stafford was accused with four other Catholic peers of being involved in the “Popish Plot”, a fabrication by Titus Oates which triggered a widespread persecution of Catholics. At the age of 65, he was impeached by the House of Commons before the House of Lords on a charge of high treason. Stafford was probably picked on because it was considered that he was the most likely to be cowed into acquiescence. In fact he acquitted himself well, steadfastly denied the existence of a plot and discredited witnesses addressed by the prosecution, so that the outcome was shown up as a miscarriage of justice. When the verdict of guilty was brought, Blessed William said with impressive serenity: “I confess I am surprised at it... but God’s will be done and your Lordships’; I will not murmur at it. God forgive those who have falsely sworn against me”. He was beheaded on Tower Hill on 29 December 1680. Pope Pius XI beatified him as a martyr in 1929.

There is an illustrated post about him from Nobility and Analagous Traditional Elites  which can be seen at  Blessed William Howard which draws out the problems he had with other members of the Howard family.

The excellent blog Supremacy and Survival has a good piece about him from the anniversary of his death in 2011 which can be read at The Second Howard Martyr and a post I wrote, also in 2011, can be seen at Bl. William Howard Viscount Stafford

Bl. William Howard, pray for us 





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