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English Jesuit martyr, b. at Skelton, four miles from York, in 1534; d. at Tyburn, 3 February, 1577-78. He went to Douay in 1573, and two of his four brothers followed his example and became priests. He was ordained priest at Binche, in Hainault, by Mgr Louis de Berlaymont, Archbishop of Cambrai, 11 June, 1576. He was sent on the mission on 7 November following, and appears to have laboured in London. His apprehension took place 1 December, 1577, "late in the evening as he was saying the Nocturne of the Matins for the next day following", and he was committed to Newgate as a suspected Papist. His arrest and its issue had been foretold by a demon he had exorcised a week before. The High Commissioners in a few days by cross-examination induced him to say that the queen was a schismatic. This constituted high treason under the legislation of 1571. He was providentially enabled to say Mass in Newgate, 30 January, 1577-8, and two days later he was brought to the bar and condemned. Thenceforward he was confined "in a most filthy underground dungeon", doubtless the Pit of the Tower, preparing by prayer and fasting for his end. He was cut down alive, and his last words, when the hangman plucked out his heart, are reported to have been: "I forgive the queen and all the authors of my death." The date and place of his admission to the Society of Jesus are unknown.
CAMM, Lives of the English Martyrs, II (London, 1004-5), 223; ALLEN, A Briefe Historie (POLLEN's edition London, 1908) 111; GILLOW, Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics, V (London and New York, 1885-1902), 160.
APA citation. (1910). Blessed John Nelson. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08466d.htm
MLA citation. "Blessed John Nelson." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08466d.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Tom Burgoyne. In memory of Father Baker, founder of Our Lady of Victory Homes.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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